Induction;

  1. the production of an electric or magnetic state by the proximity (without contact) of an electrified or magnetised body.
  2. a competent and challenging puzzle game brought to us by Bryan Gale and Tim Shiel.

Induction is a simple puzzle game based on the concepts of time travel and paradoxes.  It focuses on making every level simply complex.  Each level’s solution is simple, but it always takes you some time to discover them.  Induction introduces the way these concepts work early on through very quick and simple tutorial levels.  Each gameplay mechanic – whether it be as simple as the ending point of a level or as complex as taking over a past version of yourself – is introduced in a way that is easy for the player to understand and perform.  After each core mechanic for a section of the game has been introduced, they then start to combine.  This makes more complex and mind-bending puzzles not only a possibility but a fact.

Induction will make your head hurt.

induction puzzle Visuals

Induction takes on a very minimalist style with its visuals.  Every level fits on the screen without flowing over the edge (which would bring a need for a moving camera perspective).  Along with the graphical style being nice, clean and simple… the colour palette follows suit.  Each level will alternate colours as you perform different tricks with time… and every time you beat a level, you will be greeted with a new coat of paint to celebrate.

Despite the fact that both the graphical and colour choices take on very simple looks, each object is easily distinguishable from the others around it.  The player’s ‘character’, cube, is always a colour that stands out from the rest of the level.  Different objects within the level also take on different shades of the theme colour currently in use.

Altogether the visuals combine very nicely.  Things that you need to see at a glance are able to be seen…  and everything looks surprisingly good for such a simple art style.  Even the menus (which follow the same aesthetic) are actually nice to look at.  This is a great change from many modern games.

Audio

Of course, the visuals wouldn’t stand as strong as they do without some solid sound and music design to back it up.

Induction’s music is provided by Tim Shiel (who just so happens to live in our very own Melbourne).  Tim masterfully scores the game with light electronic beats.  The music feels nice and minimalistic, to suit the visual and gameplay styles.  Surprisingly, it doesn’t get old in any sane amount of time either – we could listen to it in the background for hours at a time.  You could even go as far as saying that the gameplay would get boring before the supporting music did.

It’s also worth mentioning the sound effects that, unsurprisingly, also follow the minimalist style.  They perfectly compliment the gameplay, and we hardly noticed them at all (which is a good thing to be clear).

Gameplay

induction puzzleAfter being taught the very basics of how level structuring in Induction works, it then moves on to demonstrate some of the more advanced mechanics (such as sending a duplicate of yourself back in time).  As these mechanics are gradually introduced, the levels also follow a slow climb in complexity.  Each separate mechanic is thrown into the mix with others, and it causes for quite a high, yet gradual learning curve.

The controls are very simple, with only the arrow keys and five other buttons being used.  This helps to keep your mind focused on the puzzle, rather than having to try and remember what to press like many other puzzle games force you to do.  (On a side note; the extra buttons include menu navigation).

After some time playing, (about halfway through the game’s fifty or so levels), things start to get very challenging… and past that; extremely challenging.  Induction’s learning curve is gradual, but it will hit you hard once all the advanced game mechanics are combining together in their best efforts to stop you.  You will be stopped in your tracks over and over again, being forced to sit and think about how to approach the level.  However, this never feels like a negative.  Induction seems to perfectly balance the challenge of each level, so they feel impossible at first… but the solution becomes apparent after thorough thought and testing.

The game seems to do this a lot – morphing negatives into positives.  Another great example is its instant start.  When you first launch the game, you completely bypass any menus and are thrown straight into the game.  Generally, this would make us feel rushed and forced to play.  Here, however, because of it’s slow paced nature, this actually put us in exactly the right mindset to get the most out of Induction.

Related: Outfolded Review: Every Side of the Story

Verdict

Induction is charming and memorable in a way that hasn’t been seen much before.  It uses its simple, minimalistic style to draw you in… but in the end, this style actually ends up suiting the gameplay perfectly.  There is a pinpoint balance between a ‘chilled out’ game, and a game you simply get frustrated with.  It’s very hard to get annoyed with Induction.  Instead of frustration and annoyance, the audio-visual style encourages the player to sit back and take in their surroundings.  This helps you stay calm and focused and more able to solve the current puzzle you are challenged with.

With this mastery of concept combined with its low price tag of AU$13 on Steam, Induction is an extremely appealing game to any lovers of the puzzle genre.  It may even serve as the perfect entry to the genre for those who haven’t played much of it in the past.

All in all, Induction is a great little package of challenging, thought-provoking puzzles… all delivered at a great price. It perfectly blends its visual and audio styles together to create a feeling that hasn’t been replicated in many other games before it.  Combined with its excellent core gameplay mechanics, it all comes together as a top-notch puzzler that will keep you entertained… or rather; thinking for hours on end.

Sector 7 Gaming was provided with a copy of Induction for review purposes.  All images courtesy of Bryan Gale.

Induction: Review
8.3 Reviewer
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Pros
Great soundtrack
Simple, yet beautiful visuals
Challenging in a way that feels fair
Good price point
Cons
Could possibly have more levels
A few controls take a little while to work out
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