Delete is a minesweeper-inspired puzzle game released in 2018 on Steam (Windows, mac). It is available for €1.99, and is sometimes put on sale at €1.39 (-30%) according to SteamDB.
It took me off guard by its original ideas and its clever execution: the game teaches you everything you need to know as you progress into the levels. And for the average two and a half hours this game lasts (according to HowLongToBeat; I completed it in about 2h15), I was hooked.
The music provides a particularly chill vibe, but I turned it off only to keep the sound effects, which I found especially satisfying.
Although the game is not natively available for Linux, I played it using Proton 8.0-2 and encountered absolutely no issues (see my ProtonDB report). The game ran smoothly and did not crash.
Twists and turns
Delete has a lot of inventive ideas and makes good use of them, yet I felt some of them could’ve been used in a few additional levels.
But I haven’t even told you what these “twists” were yet!
Picture yourself a minesweeper game. Now make it 3D! That’s the main twist of the game.
Now that we’ve got some 3D, what could come with it? You guessed it (or maybe not!): translations and rotations!
The last levels make a particularly good use of the moving parts of the “game board”. You need to be astute as to how and when you uncover cases or flag them for hiding a bomb underneath!
I won’t go into more details here, as I think it would ruin some of the fun of discovering the game.
If you like puzzle games, if you love(d) playing Minesweeper on Windows, then definitely go check it out. It’s a breath of fresh air, it’s fun, and it’s great on a budget, even if it’s a tad short!
Lines Infinite, released in 2017 on Steam (Linux, Windows and mac), is a puzzle game available at a ridiculously low price (€0.99, and often discounted at €0.29 according to steamdb).
It comes with a hundred numberlink puzzles, which are logic puzzles involving connecting numbers on a grid (see Wikipedia), and a quickly-annoying music and sound effects, which I ended up muting after 20 minutes of play time.
The UI is good, because there’s no useless stuff: you boot the game, and you can immediately start playing it - there’s no main menu, no “save” to load. You pick the level you want to play, and there you go. But that’s about it, as you’ll quickly be frustrated by the inability to “redraw” or “continue” a line without having to erase it.
Moreover, this game is plagued by its (non-existent) difficulty curve: early-game levels felt somehow harder than mid-game ones, whereas you sometimes encounter extremely easy levels seemingly out of nowhere. Balancing the difficulty in puzzle games is known to be a tricky matter, but said absence of a difficulty curve annihilates all sense of progress you might get, aside from the Steam achievements.
Finally, a tutorial could help onboard players that do not know how numberlink puzzles work. I don’t say it’s necessary, but it might have helped improve my opinion about this game.
To put things in a nutshell: Lines Infinite remains a decent puzzle game, thanks to its price and the average 3 hours of playtime you can expect from it (according to HowLongToBeat).
Never before did I crave to read every bit of text a mobile game had to offer. And I had a good reason to do so: once I’d have left, all I couldn’t explore was lost forever.
Beyond the Chiron Gate is the newest (released in 2022) entry in interactive fiction games by John Ayliff, a solo indie game developer whose other works might already be familiar to you if you read previous reviews on this very website (see Eloquence’s review of Seedship). And this game is the first one of Ayliff’s to be charged, at a (hefty) $10 price tag.
Overall, the feeling of wonder that gets you through text and the beautiful soundtrack is the main fuel of this game. It’s what kept me going until I reached the ending (which there seems to be many of!). Let me explain the setting: a probe discovered a weird thing at asteroid 2060 Chiron. Turns out, it’s a Gate to unknown reaches of space. And you get to manage a spaceship, a crew, and discover new technologies in your quest to uncover the secrets of this awesome - yet dangerous - mean of transportation, and, if you are good enough at this role, to harness it for the betterment of mankind!
Unless you’re playing like a douchebag and don’t mind getting your crew members dying over and over again, the average play time is about 2 hours. It’s a tad long to achieve in a single sitting, but this is what I recommend you do, as you will be fully “immersed” in the setting.
The game has you managing a few resources, none of them being particularly difficult to get or keep, yet you will sometimes feel like you’ll never have enough. And trust me, you won’t. The same applies for your crew members : they can get injured, or even die, and in the former case they’ll need some time to recover before being “recruitable” again for your crew. And you’ll regret not having a xenobiologist available when you are desperately craving those forsaken xeno research points!
To put things in a nutshell: Beyond the Chiron Gate is fun, especially when you want to relax in the couch or the bed with your phone. And it’s definitely a huge step up from Ayliff’s previous catalog. However, given its $10 price tag, it suffers from the repetitiveness of some of the events that occur, sometimes making the game feel “shallow” while it often demonstrates otherwise.
Yet Ayliff’s been making these Sci-Fi interactive fiction games for quite a while now, and all of them were available for free. Thus, I actually don’t mind paying $10 for Beyond the Chiron Gate. I had a great time playing it, and will certainly come back to it if the urge to explore the unexplored hits me again.
Stay safe, commander. No one knows what lies behind the Gate.