By: beyondthosehills / Andreas Diktyopolous
reky is a stylish new puzzle game from beyondthosehills, the makers of The Minims. Each level has you bouncing a little black dot around and sliding colored boxes into place to create paths. It relies heavily on experimentation, which is why I lost interest quickly when it lacked an undo button. I shared my thoughts here on why it needed one, and the developers responded to my feedback by adding one. I’ve now been enjoying the game so much that I felt the need to give it a proper review. So continue reading to see why I think reky is worth both your time and money.
The first thing you’ll notice about reky is its striking art style of mostly white architecture on a colored background. There are snake-like structures that kind of resemble PVC pipes, and segmented walls linked by black wires. Most of what you’ll see is decorative eye candy, since the puzzles themselves consist entirely of cubes and straight lines. I appreciate how much effort went into making the game look great instead of restricting each level to only its working parts. It makes for a much more visually appealing game, and one that I looked forward to playing not just for its puzzles, but for its architecture, as well. And while it might mean you you need to take a moment to suss out the board, I never found the environments too distracting. I wouldn’t mind the exit being highlighted a bit more, especially on levels with other portals, but that’s almost nitpicking. Visually, the game is clean and, with the addition of the undo button, there’s little room for confusion.
But this is a game, so you’re not just here for the visuals. Thankfully, reky also offers some clever mechanics that make for deviously tricky puzzles. In each level, there’s a portal you need to get to. You simply tap on a spot and your little dot will bounce over to it. The catch is that the path is scattered. Some of it is solid and set in place, but part of it is made up of cubes that are out of place, creating gaps. When a cube is white, it can’t be moved. But paint it a color, and it can then be swiped in a direction specific to that color. Simply land on a colored cube and tap it to suck up the color, then move to another cube and tap to paint it that same color. The idea is to use the colors available on each level to move the cubes in a way that will allow you safe passage to the exit.
I don’t believe I’ve ever seen mechanics like these before. Instead of sliding blocks in a direction of your choosing, each color has a specific behavior. For instance, yellow slides northwest, while green slides southeast. Some puzzles even have you climbing a wall by using blue squares that slide upwards. You can also slide them back to their original positions as long as nothing’s blocking them. Each coat of paint also has a specific number of moves coded to it. So one purple square might move two spaces over, while another moves four spaces in the same direction. It’s a little confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it, you start to work out a plan in your head and it’s so satisfying when it pans out.
And while I found the walls of portals maddening without an undo button, the addition of one makes those puzzles rather enjoyable to solve. Instead of having to restart if you jump through an unmarked portal and land on a spot you can’t move from, you simply undo your mistake. The update even went as far as to eliminate death, as falling to your doom will automatically undo your last move. I can’t stress how much of a difference these small changes have made. It’s now a pleasure to work out these puzzles and experiment with the mechanics. I do wish the undo button could be held down for faster rewinding, but the developers already said they’re considering it.
The other major addition in the update was the move counter. The game always counted your moves and scored you at the end based on how many jumps you took to get to the exit. There’s a three-star system based on the minimum moves the developers found, as well as an actual score that gets added to your total for the GameCenter leaderboards. If you solve a level in under par, you’ll earn some extra points towards your total. The problem was that pre-update, there was no way to tell what the minimum number of moves was until you completed it, and it wouldn’t keep any record of it so you could aim for it next time. There was also no way to keep track of your moves while playing unless you counted them yourself. But now there’s a little counter in the upper right corner that tells you how many moves you used out of the number needed to get three stars. It’s small and unobtrusive, but can also be hidden if you prefer not to worry about the moves at all. I actually enjoy trying to find the optimal solution now that the game gave me the tools to do so. In fact, I’m at the top of the leaderboards and still have some levels I need to perfect.
With those two small changes, reky is easy to recommend to any puzzle fans. It’s a game that encourages exploration and experimentation, and now you can do so without fear of messing up. It’s also pretty generous with level unlocks, as the next area opens before you finish the previous one. You can also skip up to five levels at a time, so you’ll never be stuck staring at one level that’s breaking your brain. The only real feature I think is missing at this point is iCloud sync. If you like puzzle games, I see no good reason to skip this one. It’s difficult enough to give even the most seasoned players a challenge without sacrificing quality of life features that make it accessible to everyone. So there’s no excuse — grab the game now and let it reky your brain.
And if you get stuck, I started a walkthrough guide here.