Gamescom is becoming more and more of a showcase for indie developers, as publishers and associations gives them a platform to shine on. During this year’s Gamescom, we paid a visit to the Holland Pavilion where we met with Illusive Games’ Jeroen Wimmers, who is currently developing Circles.
What we know
Circles is easier to experience than it is to describe. It’s a puzzle game of sorts, with a big dose of experimentation thrown in. This experimentation focuses exclusively on your controller, which in this case is your mouse. Without explaining what to do, the game reacts to every movement you make – and it quickly becomes apparent that the goal of each level is to get your mouse pointer to an exit.
That sounds easy enough, and in the first levels it is, but the game is quick to introduce obstacles. Still fairly straightforward, but subsequent levels see these obstacles react to your movements. Move towards an opening between two spheres, and the spheres might grow, blocking your path. Touching them restarts the level, so you need to get creative here, and every level acts differently.
What we saw
We played a hands-on demo of the game without getting any kind of explanation, and the experience was intuitive right away. Playing through a number of (quick) levels, it felt like a rapid succession of movement-based riddles. The gameplay video on its steam page does a pretty decent job of showing what to expect: http://store.steampowered.com/app/460250
What we thought
Circles is an incredibly creative indie title, and it’s fun to play. Experimenting plays a big part in how to figure out each puzzle, and because solutions (and controls) are constantly different there are a ton of “ah ha!”-moments to discover here. From what we were able to see, it’s not a hardcore puzzler – so it’s not likely to frustrate you but it might also not give you the sense of achievement that games like Portal or Braid do. How long the Circles experience stays fresh is really up to its developer and how many creative puzzles he can throw our way, but we’re definitely interested in finding out!