There’s something incredibly satisfying that comes with balancing something on something else and watching as it doesn’t topple to the ground – it’s why we balance pencils standing up when we’re bored, why we play Jenga on those forced family game nights and why Art of Balance is such a fun and addictive game. You’ll work your way through multiple worlds and levels, balancing block shapes on top of each other, making sure that none of them fall.
This game was fantastic. Shin’en Multimedia have developed a charming puzzle game that anyone can enjoy – perfect if you want to sit back and relax and work your way through something fun but simple. After I played this game, my dad (who never plays video games) spent the rest of the evening working his way through the worlds, so when I say it’s perfect for anyone, I genuinely believe it is.
This game was released on Wii U and the 3DS back in October of 2014, and was a hit among fans of the puzzle game genre, so to see it finally released on PS4 for us non-nintendo gamers out there is great to see.
The fundamental parts of the game are taken through all 200 levels – some sort of platform to balance your various blocks on, but the difficulty of the levels increases as you go through with a few special levels situated through the worlds (eg. Timed levels that will REALLY test your speed, or levels where you have to balance the blocks up to a specific height). Play alone in Arcade mode, local or online multiplayer or in infinity mode.
The graphics of this game are great. The range of backgrounds for the levels and small additions like the reflections and ripples in water make the game so aesthetically pleasing, it’s nice to sit back and just watch someone play, let alone play the game. The colours are exactly what you would want them to be – nothing too bright and no clashes, just subtle colourings and lighting that makes the game easy on the eye so you can sit for hours on end balancing blocks upon blocks upon blocks.
The sounds and the soundtrack are one of my favourite things about Art of Balance. Some jazzy continuous backing music makes you want to dance in your seat while you play, and the sound of wooden blocks plonking together and the splash of blocks in water when they fall is pleasant and amusing to listen to.
However, like every game, it’s not perfect. While I didn’t find many things to be an issue while playing Art of Balance, there were little things that made the experience less than what it could have been. In the game, there are glass blocks that break if you put three or more other blocks on top of them – simple enough rule, but it’s a bit of an issue when you’re not in the best level environment, or the lighting is off, and you can’t see the block very well on the screen. Thankfully, there’s a light that changed colour depending on how close it is to breaking, so that helped, but not being able to properly see what I was balancing was disorientating while playing.
I also had a few troubles when my stacking abilities were just too good and my blocks were too high, or if I dragged a piece to the top of the screen, often the camera would cut it off and not zoom out. Whether this was just a problem I encountered or something that happens to everyone, I don’t know, but it was a little frustrating. The camera would always sort itself out though, so I only had minor issues with the gameplay as a whole.
If you’re interested in puzzle games and want something that’s fun, engaging and addictive then Art of Balance is a game that you should definitely pick up when you get a chance. Going for £7.39/$8.99 on the PlayStation store, you’d be a fool not to get your hands on this charming puzzle.
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