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polyhedra is a game from , originally released 31st December, 1969

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Polyhedra Hands-On

We at Slide To Play reserve a tiny section of our frigid, blackened hearts for games designed from the ground up for the iPhone/iPod Touch hardware. Polyhedra, a casual game from developer Binary Hammer, is such a game: it could exist on no other system.

A bit of the bubbly?

In the game, you’re asked to pick a shape from a selection of circle, square, octagon, and the like. Then the game begins and you’re greeted with soothing electronica music and a colorful background that oozes and swirls like a lava lamp. You’ll notice that tiny enemy particles are floating around, bouncing off the edges of the screen. The object of the game is simple: using a limited number of shapes, fill up 66% of the screen space with the shape you selected.

You hold your finger down anywhere on the screen to grow a shape. As your shape grows, you can slide it around to avoid the enemy particles. If an enemy particle touches your shape, it bursts like an overinflated balloon.

Once you remove your finger, however, the tables are turned: the shape solidifies and drops to the ground. Enemy particles can’t pass through the solidified shapes, meaning that clever players will use shapes to trap the little buggers. Rotate your iDevice, and the solidified shapes tumble to whatever edge of the screen is closest to the floor.

There are infinite levels for each shape; each level adds one more enemy particle to up the difficulty. You get a game over when you fail to fill up two thirds of the screen with the limited number of shapes available.

High scores are recorded via AGON, an online social platform. Binary Hammer assures us that achievements will be added in an update.

Polyhedra offers a trippy experience that, as you progress, becomes increasingly hectic. We’re told the game has already been submitted to the App Store and will sell for $1.99. Groovy.

More stories on polyhedra

Polyhedra Review

The basic concept of Polyhedra is incredibly simple: Hold a finger to the screen to create a shape. The longer you hold it, the larger the shape will grow. Fill at least 66% of the screen with shapes, and you complete the stage. The wrinkle, and it’s only a slight one, is that your shape can be popped if an enemy encounters it while it grows.

The key here is to watch out for the enemies that bounce around the level as you grow your shape, and to let go when they are about to hit it. If the shape is completed, the enemies will just bounce off them harmlessly like they do the walls. You are only given so many shapes, and if you run out, you lose.

Trap the mini-bubbles before you’re popped.

There are a few different shapes to contend with, from circles and squares to hexagons. Each shape gets its own level, each consisting of limitless stages. Stage one will have one enemy, and stage two will have two and so on. It’s not terribly difficult through the first ten stages, and you only need to get to stage nine to unlock a new shape and level.

When you get into the later stages, increased enemy numbers make things more difficult. There’s one more tool you can use to your advantage however, and that’s gravity. As you tilt the screen, the shapes will fall to the bottom and rearrange themselves. Not only does this allow you to make room to create more shapes, but you can maneuver them to trap the enemies against the wall or between shapes, giving you breathing room to create new ones.

At a certain point, the game will make things more challenging by disabling your ability to tilt the screen, making it much more difficult to trap enemies. This forces you to make smaller and smaller shapes, and fitting them together without wasting too much space between them can be difficult with the more complex ones.

The building blocks of success… are octagons.

Once you complete all the levels, there is a medley level that will force you to use all the shapes at once. There’s really not much to do here once you unlock all the levels, except try to improve your score. Luckily there are online leaderboards, although they’re pretty sparsely populated at the moment.

Although the game concept itself is pretty basic, the presentation here is very slick. The backgrounds all smoothly shift color, from blues and pinks to greens and yellows. The music blends appropriately, but you can also play your own if you’d like or turn it off altogether.

Polyhedra doesn’t do a lot, but it wrings the most out of its basic concept. The serene ambiance and slick tunes contribute to a game that adds up to more than the sum of it’s parts. If you’re looking for a different sort of puzzler, we suggest you give it a try.