Binaries is a puzzle game with what at first glance appears to be a unique twist, unless you have played Twins on a Windows Phone. The idea itself is what Binaries lends from, and not how you view the game I might add. But this isn’t always a bad thing, not every game can be unique, and taking mechanics from other games, and developing them to fit your project, can work wonders. Sometimes it wont work, and sometimes it will. With Binaries however, it is the latter. You get the reference to Portal, with the colour scheme from the portals, orange and blue used for the colour scheme here. Whether or not this was intended, any fan of Portal will see it as clear as day. Not a bad thing to have either.
What you have with Binaries, is quite possibly one of the most enjoyable and frustrating puzzle games now available for the Xbox One. You not only have an orange ball, but a blue one that you control at the same time. This is sometimes an easy run through a level, and others will see you preparing to throw your controller out the window. Early levels will be easy-going, and offer little in the way of a challenge, gently ushering you through the game, lulling you into a false sense of security before presenting you with some fiendishly evil levels you have to complete, filled with a staple of puzzle games, spikes. How you will curse as you meet yet another death because of spikes. But that is not all. Gun turrets will shot consistently to also thwart your progress and more. As if these spikes weren’t enough.
Completing levels isn’t as simple as you would think, as you need to get both orbs to the end, in separate end zones, and within the time limit. Some will be lenient with their times, and some will seem impossible at first. Thankfully, there are time bonuses that will offer you a 5 second freebie, and they are also colour coded, meaning orange time pick ups can only be collected with the range orb. You really need to figure out if they are worth the time spent collecting them, as on occasion they will be out-of-the-way.
You will not find an easy ride here, but the backgrounds of levels will have messages pop up from the developers, and more often than not, they will lighten the mood with the humour. Such as one of the devs being fired for a certain level. After playing it, I was thinking maybe they should have. It was an ordeal. I kid, honest. The development team have created a frustrating game, that somehow keeps you coming back for more. If you are a glutton for punishment that is. Isn’t gluttony a sin? Well I’m a sinner, and there is no doubt about that.
Binaries will be a challenge for the casual gamer among you, but don’t let that put you off. The first 25-30 levels will be relatively easy, before the difficulty curve starts to resemble a cliff face. Not impossible mind you, but prepare yourself for restarting a level many times over. Load times do not exist when restarting a level, which helps ease the controller throwing thoughts that will fill your mind. As yet, I have not done this myself, but I have certainly felt like it. Especially when you are convinced that you will nail the level this time. And the next, then the next, and so on and so forth.
Those who like to perform a speed run through games will almost certainly be in their element here, and given the obstacles in your path before you reach the exit will put you to the test. Personally, I love games like this even though I am about average at the genre. I have been plugging away and if a level is too hard, then you can select another and come back later. The path is not a linear one in Binaries. The world map is a series of circles representing each level, and upon completing a level you can open the path to several more. Meaning a chance to continue through the game without being held up. This is a fantastic idea from the developer, allowing you to carry on playing the game should you be unable to conquer a specific level.
Those of you who manage to endure the puzzles ahead, and complete each and every level within the game, I tip my hats to you. I may get there one day, albeit in a fragile state of mind. But what good is a puzzle game without a challenge? This is a genre for the toughest of gamers, and one that those who demand a challenge will relish each and every game that comes their way. Binaries is not to be taken lightly, but at the same time, you should experience it for yourself. Do yourself a favour and accept the vicious road ahead. It wont be easy, and it wont be a pretty one. But each and every level you complete, will spur you on to better your game, and charge forward undeterred, as you seek that elusive S rank each level has to offer. Some of these times are generous, and others will seem light years away.
Graphically, it’s a simple looking game in just 2 colours. Smooth looking and just what you need, as anything to intricate would just become a distraction for you. Sounds are ambient, and generate a relaxed feeling as best as the game possibly can given the heightened stress you will face. When talking about longevity, this is all relative to how skilled you are. It could take a few days, weeks or even months to complete. Maybe you will never set a time on any of then levels. But don’t let this put you off. Binaries is an exceptional puzzle game, and one I have thoroughly enjoyed since I loaded it up for the first time.
To conclude the review, I would highly recommend Binaries. Not one, but 2 orbs to guide to the end of each level. As if it just wasn’t tough enough already. Fiendish puzzles, and amusing messages from the team behind it, along with plenty to do within the game. Just don’t go breaking any controllers, as they are quite expensive. Unlike the game. The price point is worth it, and you will enjoy it if the puzzle genre doesn’t already have a game that satisfies your hunger. Binaries is a great game, albeit a very difficult one. The learning curve is steep, so come prepared.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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