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Perfect Angle in Review – Not Quite, But Almost

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Ever have one of those experiences where you know a game is great, but you wish that either the developers had done one or two things slightly differently or that you simply could play the game under better circumstances?  Perfect Angle is just such a game for me.  When a game’s opening screen is itself a puzzle (albeit in this case a very simple one that they give you ample leeway to solve), you’re in for something special.  Unfortunately for me new technology far outpaces my budget right now, and my ailing iPad 2 does not handle the processing requirements of the graphics very well.  Combine that with the limited number of helps you get before having to shell out some cash to buy more and this becomes a journey that I sadly probably won’t see through to the end.  However, if you have a newer device and are reasonably astute at solving optical puzzles, you’d be remiss in not giving this game a try.

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Perfect Angle is a game about taking a bunch of seemingly unrelated objects and spinning them around until they line up in such a way that they form a single object that you do recognize.  If you were to load up certain levels you could likely stare at them for days without being able to tell what sort of object they will ultimately produce, which presents an interesting lead-in to a study on how the eyes can trick the brain into making something out of nothing.  Being the un-scientific type myself, I just think it’s really cool that something that looks like an exhibit for a modernist art show can transform into a common, everyday object simply because you rotate it to a certain angle.

Of course the situation can be deceiving, because you will almost never use all of the parts to make up the solution.  The game also throws other tricks in there like levels where you have to concentrate on the shadow and not the objects themselves, or you have to introduce just enough water to get some of the objects to float to a position where you can use them.  These are just the nuances I’ve run into in the few levels I’ve beaten so far, but the game contains more than 100 puzzles to solve.

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I like the fact that instead of just being a sequence of puzzles that you need to solve to get to the end of the game, Perfect Angle is actually a story being told by a man whose memory is slowly coming back as you recreate each object.  You provide the spark, and the narrator in turn slowly unfolds his tale using the items you have discovered.  The story doesn’t affect the game play at all, but it certainly gives you some motivation to keep solving the puzzles.  I for one am personally intrigued to find out what this guy has done, because while the images that go along with the story look neat, they don’t necessarily portray a completely happy picture of the storyteller’s past.  There are 36 achievements in the game, and I believe each one corresponds to a plot point in the story, which means there’s a lot to unfold over the course of the 100 or so levels.

So with all of this going for Perfect Angle, it’s frustrating that it runs so poorly on my iPad 2.  When I can play the game it is rather sluggish, and it often crashes after playing one or two levels.  I certainly don’t fault the developers for this – I just need to get a new device.  What they do have control over that bothers me, at least a little bit, is the limited amount of helps you get.  Basically, if you use a help the game will reveal to you the target object.  Since you must complete a level to move on to the next, you may find yourself forced to use hints more often than you like.  If you use up the five hints you are provided, you can buy 10 more for 99 cents.  For a free game this might be reasonable, but since you’re already paying to play the game I don’t think hints are a fair way to make extra money.

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There is an alternative, however.  I don’t normally mention free(mium) versions in a review like this, but the developers do offer Perfect Angle: Zen edition.  The full name mentions Google Cardboard, but let me assure you that it plays just fine without 3D equipment.  In fact, it actually runs much better on my device than the premium Perfect Angle.  Plus, you get unlimited hints in case you get stuck a lot.  The down sides are that you lose the story mode and there aren’t as many puzzles to solve.  You do get to play through 12 levels for free, though, so you can decide if you think the premium version is worth your money.  And, if you have an older device that the Zen version runs well on, you can pay a couple of bucks to unlock 50+ additional levels.

We now return to the regularly scheduled review.  Even with settings cranked down to a minimal level so as not to cause my ancient device to completely choke, Prefect Angle still looks really good.  I particularly like the effect of water rolling down the screen when you surface after submerging yourself in water.  That also happens to be the coolest sound effect in the game.  I will give them props for finding a good narrator, because in addition to telling a story that draws you in he has a voice that you just want to listen to.  The music is extremely well written and evokes a sort of sorrow or melancholy, which is just another reason to get to the climax of the story and find out what’s going on in the narrator’s head.

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Perfect Angle is a pretty incredible game.  It doesn’t entice you by encouraging you to race to the head of a leaderboard or coax you into playing each level umpteen times to acquire certain achievements.  It simply connects the dots of an intriguing narrative using a series of often challenging puzzles, much like what I would assume many would describe the venerable game Myst.  Thankfully unlike Myst, I find Perfect Angle quite enjoyable.  I just wish I had a more powerful device so I could truly appreciate the fully story driven version, but I’m glad I at least have the Zen variant to fall back on in the mean time.

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App Summary
Title: Perfect Angle: The best puzzle game based on optical illusions.Developer: Ivanovich Games
Reviewed Ver:1.1Min OS Req: iOS 7.0
Price:$1.99App Size:257.33MB
  • Gripping story
  • Challenging, thoughtful puzzles
  • Excellent visuals, even on low settings
  • Compelling soundtrack
  • Limited hints
  • Doesn’t run well on my iPad 2

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