This minimalist puzzler’s name is styled as LYNE, but we’re having none of it. Uppercase suggests someone’s getting all shouty, but Lyne (as we’re calling the game) is as reserved as they come. Lyne’s all about forming pathways between like-colored shapes positioned on a grid — you’re essentially joining the dots, but are restricted to 90- and 45-degree angles. As you work on each puzzle, abstract noises pleasingly chirp away in the background, confirming every connection like a panpipe-playing robot.
It all feels very pleasant, and at first it’s disarmingly simple. Soon, though, the game bares its teeth. Shapes are positioned in a manner that makes successful pathways between them all far from immediately obvious, especially once you realize paths cannot cross. Junction boxes add to the task, demanding you enter them a specific number of times to illuminate all their lights. Failure merely results in a sadly pulsating red outline and the realization you must rethink, experiment, and iterate.
At this point, Lyne could have become a frustrating mess, but smart design scuppers any notion of such a problem. Paths between shapes can be partially created and temporarily abandoned while you fashion the route for another. There’s no limit on time or attempts, and levels are unlocked in sizable sets, meaning you can always try an alternative if you find yourself stuck. Conversely, if you become a Lyne guru in short order, there are procedurally generated daily levels available once you’ve worked your way through the first two sets of 25 apiece.
If there’s anything negative to say about Lyne, it’s that the concept is not terribly inventive, and the game’s hardly a thrill-fest. But as a noodly puzzler to pass a large number of hours in a stress-free manner, Lyne totally fits the bill. And after all, it’s probably not healthy to spend your entire gaming life angrily blowing up aliens, speeding round circuits, or daringly leaping across chasms with a grizzled expression on your maw.
The bottom line. It might be lacking in originality, but Lyne more than makes up for it with lashings of polish, charm, and smart design. On the larger screen of the iPad, especially, Lyne truly shines.
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