Slide Colors by TayKrOn is a new puzzle game reminiscent of a 2D Rubik’s Cube, made up of sliding colored tiles into a goal location. Each row or column, which wraps around the back of the gameboard grid, can be rotated to slide game tiles into groups of other tiles or placed in its assigned goal. The challenge comes, just like the Rubik’s Cube challenge, from the interactions between the tile you’re bringing home, and any other tiles on the now-moving row. It’s the type of puzzle that would lend itself well to a break-time distraction or to a MegaTouch console in my local bar.
I should admit that I had some technical issues with the game. I couldn’t get the game window to maximize, and the game froze on me more than once. I tried installing it on a second computer, in case it was just Vista misbehaving, but that didn’t fix all the problems. Also, there was a moment’s delay before the game responded to my clicks, just long enough to be frustrating.
The first few levels of the puzzle mode in Slide Colors are dully simple, leaving you plenty of time to look at the screen and spot room for improvement. All the text is awkwardly translated, with common ESL mistakes. Slide Colors could use some editing, but if you understand all your base are belong to us, it’s not too hard to understand what the game presents to you.
Stick it out for a few underwhelming levels — and only writing this article kept me playing — and the challenges are no longer lining up a couple tiles on slideable rows with a couple goal squares. With more boxes and targets, the placement of each box interacts with with others becomes a challenge. After several dull levels, Slide Colors reaches the brain-tickling mix of excitement and frustration that marks a good puzzle challenge.
In addition to puzzle mode, you can play a match-3 version. Sliding a row of tiles, instead of swapping adjacent tiles, adds a nice twist to the popular cubicle slacking game, Bejeweled. In match-3, a sliding move is only valid if the new location creates a set of three, while in puzzle mode, all moves are valid. Oddly, this game doesn’t seem to register combos… if you match and eliminate three tiles, and the refill tiles form their own group of three, nothing happens.
The different play modes keep players engaged by using essentially the same rules and interface for a different challenge.
TayKrOn took a simple, clear grid and added bright candy colors. Besides bold color choices, each colored tile also had a shaped icon, so it was extra easy to tell the different types of tile apart. You’ll still need to differentiate between the colors to find the right box in the puzzle mode, but the match-3 mode can be played using colors or icons to make groups. I’m not colorblind, but I do spend a lot of time squinting at MMO icons, so I really appreciate the extra accessibility for any visually impaired players.
The background music became annoying after just a few levels. Still, the game doesn’t rely on sound, so you can mute it and continue to solve puzzles without any disadvantage.
This is a solid breaktime puzzle game, and the different puzzle styles help hold players’ interest. But any new puzzle game needs to distinguish itself in a very crowded genre, and unfortunately what made this game stand out from other puzzle games was mostly the English usage mistakes and the technical frustrations.