Puzzles games are a broad church, including everything from the Times cryptic crossword to Candy Crush. On mobile, they tend towards the shallow end of the cleverness spectrum, so it’s nice to see a game like Squirgle that wears its brainiac badge with pride.
This unashamedly smart puzzle game from Planar Gazer is all about mashing shapes together. Except it’s easier not to think of them as shapes, but as numbers instead.
Let me explain. Each shapes represents a certain number of vertices. A square has four, a triangle has three, a line has two, and a dot has one. You can probably work out the rest from there.
Will make you Squirgle
In every game mode the aim is the same. You have to take two shapes and make another. If the target is a pentagon, you might use a line and a triangle. If you need to make a nonagon, a pentagon and a square will get you there.
The difficulty is determined by how many bases you’re working with. In a base-5 stage you only have to add shapes up to a pentagon, whereas in a base-9 stage (the highest) you’re handling everything up to and including a nonagon.
So, shapes = numbers. That’s pretty easy, right?
Squirgle’s various modes just take the shape-arithmetic as a starting point before adding different layers of complexity.
In the main Squirgle mode, you have to produce shapes against the clock. Not only that, but there’s a colour-matching mechanic going on too. The background steadily cycles through an array of colours, and whenever you make a shape it takes on the background hue.
The trick here is that you’re actually matching pairs of shapes, and if both shapes in a pair have the same colour you’re prompted to make a Squirgle. Then once you make one the clock resets to zero, giving you more time to rack up a high score.
In Battle mode, you’re playing against an opponent of either the AI or flesh and blood variety. Time Attack sees you racing against the clock, but without the additional complicating factor of background colours.
Time Battle is what it sounds like: a combination of Time Attack and Battle, where the goal is to race an opponent to the highest score possible.
And then there’s Trance. This is more of an experience than a gameplay mode, letting you enjoy an unlimited version of the trippy, 2001-esque sequence at the end of each round in which you fall through a succession of shapes while listening to the game’s atmospheric original score.