Lay a path to help Zee escape!
Puzzle games are weird. Because of their very nature, it’s hard to create one that offers replay value. Usually once you finish all the puzzles, there’s little reason to play them again. Moreover, puzzle game developers have to think creatively. Some, like Portal, are loved because the challenges are amazingly outside the box. But typically, games like Samsara use interesting mechanics that aren’t completely original. You can’t expect every game to reinvent the genre, after all.
In Samsara, you have to use various kinds of blocks to lay a path for Zee to reach the exit. But you don’t just have to lead Zee to the end of the stage, because she has a reflection who also needs to be saved. There are three types of blocks that you’ll have to place: Brown wooden blocks, grey stone blocks, and golden blocks. All three types behave in different ways.
The idea isn’t completely novel, but it’s an interesting concept which creates a lot of interesting level designs throughout the game’s 72 stages.
Samsara is a world that has a light half on the top of the screen, and a dark half on the bottom of the screen. The environments reflect places in the real world, including a cave, the suburbs, a theme park, and a beach. They’re beautiful and the soundtrack is moody, though not a distraction from solving the puzzles.
Samsara has a fair amount of challenging puzzles, but overall, the difficulty curve is a little too relaxed. Of course, it’s understandable that the early stages should be easier than the later levels, but around world 4 (out of the 9 worlds), I hoped it would become difficult more quickly. Fortunately, the second half of the game has enough challenging puzzles to keep you occupied. The final world, world 9, is the most difficult. In this world, you can expect one challenging level after another.
Samsara has interesting puzzles, which is what a good puzzle game is supposed to have, isn’t it? The main disappointment is how short the game is. I finished all of the 72 levels in around five hours, and there’s no level editor or bonus content. I wish there was a world at the end of the game that included some fiendishly difficult levels.
Samsara isn’t amazingly original or mind-bending like Portal, but not every game can be. At least its mechanics are fun and interesting, and it incorporates cute visuals and music. If you’re interested in a fun, short puzzle game, you should give Samsara a try. But if you’re looking for something to sink your teeth into for more than five hours, you might be disappointed.