Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: COM2US/Arc System Works
Release Date: 01/14/2016
The simple framework of running a stylus over a touchscreen is one that can produce a surprisingly complex game. Slice It!, for example, it a puzzle game that revolves around cutting paper into various shapes. By changing the parameters to make the player use a certain number of cuts to get the paper into a certain number of relatively same sized shapes, it can become quite devious again. All in all, this appears to be a fine edition for any puzzle aficionado’s collection.
There’s no story here; instead, there are two different modes. There’s the basic campaign, which is split into three episodes, each of which are split into groups of twenty different puzzles you can solve, which must all be solved before the next group of twenty is unlocked. Likewise, you must complete an entire episode before the next is unlocked. There’s also a time attack mode that lets you see how many puzzles you can solve as fast as possible. Usually, you can finish each of them in once good slice. The goal here isn’t just to max out your high score, though; for every twenty you complete, you’ll earn a hint that can be used in the campaign. It’s a simple framework without a whole lot to offer, but it adds up to over two-hundred puzzles, which should take anyone a while to solve.
The presentation, as you might have guessed, is pretty simple. The graphics are literally just penciled in lines on a piece of paper. Everything is clean and looks solid enough, but it’s hardly going to blow your mind in either a technical or artistic sense. Likewise, the music is pretty much a nice piano tune that plays during the puzzles. It won’t stick with you at all, but it’s hardly offensive. Sound effects include the basic chimes and buzzing sounds for good or bad moves respectively. There’s a nifty thing where the sound effect gets more cheery the better your cut, and there’s a helpful lady who congratulates you on doing well. You don’t need to play with the sound one to enjoy the game, but it’s not something where you’ll turn it off out of disgust.
Mechanically, the game is incredibly simple. Each puzzle gives you a shape. You then have to make cuts into that shape in order to satisfy the puzzle condition. For example, you might be given a square. You might then be tasked to cut that square into four similarly sized shapes with two cuts. The key to note is that you must use the exact number of cuts the game asks for. It does not reward you for hitting the target number of shapes in fewer slices. It starts out simple, but adds complexity later on.
It controls with the stylus, and you hold the 3DS sideways. When making a cut, you can use the analogue stick to adjust your slice to make it more accurate. This is helpful, as you’ll likely make a number of mistakes that accidentally chop up a little piece where you didn’t mean to. There’s also an undo button that will remove your slices one at a time. This works even after you’ve been given the fail screen, so you can take back just your last move and try again.
Besides basic gameplay, there are some hiccups that appear later on. First, parts of the screen will be crossed out with red. You can’t cut through these sections, even though they will cross over the shapes you need to cut. This certainly makes you think harder about how the shape will turn out. The other type are special sections where the cut will bounce off at an angle. Using this, you might be able to bounce your slice off several of these and clear a lot of real estate. The ability to undo your move gives you plenty of leeway to try these out.
There are over two-hundred puzzles in the game, but it’s damn near impossible to estimate how long it will take you to burn through them all. Many of them can be completed in mere seconds, but others will have you stumped. You can end up experimenting for over ten minutes before you figure it out. Thankfully, there are hints you can use that will show you one of the cuts you need to make. They run out quick, and must be earned by playing the time attack mode. But it can be done.
Short Attention Span Summary
Slice It! is a solid puzzle game with enough content to keep you going and a pretty great difficulty. It’s simple, but has enough depth to keep things interesting. It’s also a perfect fit for the system, being both easy to pick up an play in short bursts and making use of the 3DS’ functions. Puzzle aficionados should certainly consider picking this up.
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