Percepto, an interesting spatial puzzler from Daniel Hooper that utilizes both 2D and 3D mechanics to create a head-spinner of a game, is now available from the app store. We’ve seen clever puzzle games before, but we’ve never seen anything like this.
- Unique puzzling concept
- Simple controls
- Lot of levels that gradually get more difficult
- 3-Star reward system
- Par times to earn 3rd star can be unforgiving
- No social gaming network integration
- No in-game soundtrack other than on menus
- Not much replay value in current state
Percepto contains 55 rooms where the goal is to get your character, Bruce or Amy, to the door. Each level starts out with a 2D perspective and ends the same way, but you’ll need to go 3D and change the room’s orientation in order to facilitate your escape. In some of the early levels, you may only do this once and escape in only 3-4 moves. Before long, you’ll be dealing with fairly complex layouts that require a series of precise moves to wend your way through and find your goal. There are certain blocks that our character can pass in front of in 2D mode, while others will impede progress. In order to pass the latter, you’ll need to double-tap the screen to make everything 3D. Spinning the room will often cause some blocks to obscure your view of others. If you can block your view of an impassable block with a passable one, returning to 2D will allow you to pass in front of the section that previously wouldn’t allow it.
The difficult ramps up slowly, as you are introduced to levels, staircases, looking glass that allows you to pass from one side to the other when moving from 3D to 2D mode, and much more. The level design is quite impressive, and the ability to envision the impact of each move in both dimensions at the same time is crucial to managing the puzzles. You are graded on each level with a 3-star system. You earn 1 star simply for reaching the door, in whatever manner possible. You earn another if you can meet the target number of moves in doing so. This often requires a replay or two to eliminate those unnecessary movements made in the exploratory phase. The 3rd star is the hardest to obtain, as it requires you to complete the level in less time than indicated. Unfortunately, the indicated time is usually ridiculously difficult to best and almost always requires multiple replays. You’ll need to memorize your steps carefully and pull them off in rapid succession to achieve these stars. Stars earned in the puzzles are used to unlock latter stages.
The graphics are clean and it’s clear what each item represents or allows. They don’t have the most polished or appealing look, but they certainly get the job done. There is a little piano ditty playing over the menu screen, but no background music during the game. In-game audio is limited to a few sound effects, chiefly used in switching between 2D and 3D. The controls utilize swipes to move the character in 2D and spin the room in 3D. Tapping anywhere on-screen switches between the modes. It is an effective control method that might take a bit of getting used to, but it works well and responds quickly.
Replay value comes from having to replay levels to earn missing stars. Otherwise, there really is no incentive once you’ve completed the game. There are no leaderboards or achievements to earn. It’s kind of a one-trick pony that’s enjoyable as you play through, but forgettable once it’s over. For $0.99, it’s worth the price of admission to experience a fairly innovative little gem with the hope that more levels and some type of social gaming network integration could make it into an update. Percepto is a very solid 3.5-Dimple challenge.