The Line isn’t a Johnny Cash biopic like Walk The Line, or a harrowing World War 2 drama like The Thin Red Line. Those films may have been more thematically complex, but The Line from Ant Hive Games is both a mental and physical challenge.
The Line is a tricky puzzler that sometimes veers over the border between challenge and frustration. You control a blob-like entity named Eddy who rises out of the inky line that spans each level.
Using a pencil and an eraser, you have to create and destroy lines that will let him collect enough gems to exit the level. Eddy must also avoid obstacles like jagged red lines, floating mines, and the occasional land shark.
Mine, all mine.
The Line is a puzzle game in constant motion. Eddy moves at an inconsistent pace, pulling himself along like a fast-moving slug. You can freeze him for a few seconds, or give him a brief boost with a blast of fire, but the controls won’t let you freeze Eddy long enough to puzzle over some of the trickier pathways you’ll have to create. We would have greatly preferred a more traditional pause and fast-forward button instead of the temporary ice and fire spells.
In addition, Eddy’s off-kilter movement means it can be tricky to precisely pin down a pathway. The camera moves when he moves, and if you’re not fast enough, you won’t be able to connect paths or avoid obstacles. This can lead to a lot of frustrating deaths, which are alleviated somewhat by regular mid-level checkpoints. An ideal solution would be to give us control of the camera, so we can scope out what’s ahead and not have to worry about Eddy’s uneven pace.
What the heck’s a jigawatt?
Despite these flaws, The Line can be a lot of fun. We enjoyed the combination of frantic action and difficult puzzles, and the visual and level design are extremely creative. With 55 puzzles, each of which is extremely tough to complete perfectly, The Line will also keep you busy for hours.
As of launch, The Line is a quality puzzle game that will really test your reflexes. But with a few minor changes to the camera and movement controls, it could be even better.