Puzzle games can usually go one of two extremes. Either really good, or really bad. Today it’s the turn of Samsara, where you take control of a young girl by the name of Zee. Well, not direct control anyway. Instead you create a path for her to take to the portal out of the level. It’s a simple concept, but undeniably genius as to how the level designs will always leave you thinking you’ve cracked the puzzle, only for you to see yourself fail and go back to the drawing board.
With over 70 levels on offer, along with the option to inverse every level, Samsara offers up quite a bit of content across the games visually distinct chapters. Starting off with a simple tutorial, whereby you’re shown the basics, you are then quickly thrown into the first chapter. It’s nothing too difficult and you’re likely breeze through this and most of chapter 2.
The game offers up 2 differing dimensions with blocks that are made up of different properties which you will use to help Zee escape this unusual world she’s trapped in. As you progress, a silhouette of Zee appears in the “strange world”, where gravity works differently, forcing to to test via trial and error, as you aim to help them reach the portal exit. Sounds easy enough? Well, at first that’s a yes. But the further you delve into this physics based puzzler, you’ll quickly realise that this isn’t the case. I’ll be completely honest and say that the last couple of chapters gave me a headache as I attempted to solve the puzzles in front of me. Of course, by this point I had access to all types of blocks and the vines that react upon touch, which can move blocks for one half of the level should they be balanced on them in the strange world.
I fell in love with the artwork from the word go, what with the lush colours and environmental aspects which are quickly noticed from the moment you play. Each chapter having its own unique look, which prevents the game from becoming stale. The soundtrack is also able to stand out, but sadly this doesn’t play during the levels.
Another mind bending addition that will force you to really use that grey matter, is teleports within levels. I ended up having to visualise my path trough a level when placing blocks, hoping I’d figured out the route correctly. Sometimes it worked, while others I was “almost” there. One level in particular frustrated me in chapter 8, and took a couple of days attempting to solve the puzzle. Once I had the answer, I realised that several of my previous attempts where so close, and I nearly kicked myself for not seeing the true solution.
Upon completion, the option to play through the levels via the inverse option should seriously be considered, not only for the value for money aspect, but also for the challenge it brings. I’d like to see more levels added in future, in the form of DLC, but this is all down to the developer’s time available and the obvious costs implications.
Overall, Samsara is a wonderful little puzzler, with some beautiful artwork to gaze upon. It is quite easy for the bulk of content on offer, and I only had problems with a few levels in the final couple of chapters. I’m not that great at puzzle games, so anyone who is adept at them may breeze through with ease. If you like to grab achievements, then there’s a good chance you will like Samsara, as most of them are story progression with a few miscellaneous thrown in for good measure.
Overall Score 8/10
Release Date: 7th February 2018
File Size: 288MB
Xbox One copy provided for review purpose
Available on Xbox One & Steam. It’s also a Play Anywhere title.
Come soon to Android and iOS