The best puzzle games are those that are simple to pick up, and impossible to master. Pivvot is one of those. With clean, vector-graphic art, the objective is to navigate a dot through a field of obstacles.
The dot is tethered to a path, and you swivel the dot from one side of the path to the other in an attempt – sometimes in vain – to avoid the shapes that will destroy the dot. Some of the obstacles that surround the path are static and some move around. Others pulse, and when you come across one obstacle on one side of the path and another on the other side, you have to swing your dot around quickly.
When the path starts to arc and loop the challenge can become quite tricky. As you progress to higher levels, the colours shift, which adds to the difficulty. And just as you get the hang of one obstacle, a different one is introduced.
In “Voyage” mode, getting past a series of obstacles triggers an autosave, so you don’t have to start from the beginning when you die. Completing that section unlocks “Expert Voyage” which introduces even more difficult obstacles and paths that twist even more.
In “Endless” the objective is to stay alive for as long as possible, with the trajectory of your dot on the path getting faster all the time. Stay alive for 100 seconds and you unlock “Expert Endless.” Good luck taking on that challenge.
Even if you complete a mode, you’ll always be able to test your reflexes again because Pivvot is created dynamically, so there’s no memorizing the pattern of obstacles. Each time you play they will come in a different order, from a different angle, and along a different path.
Developer: Fixpoint Productions
Billed as a romance game, Everlove: Rose is a clever and curious blend of choose your own adventure, interactive novel and video game. It’s designed to appeal to players who may be unfamiliar, uncomfortable, or even put off by the familiar elements of typical video games.
You are Rose, who is undergoing past-life regression therapy to help her understand her dreams. She travels back in time and lives the experiences of an ancestor, a healer in some medieval era.
The story itself is very linear and is presented as a map. You choose dialogue responses, which affect five aspects of Rose’s character: kindness, responsibility, romance, will and wisdom. You can rewind the scene at any time to change dialogue choices, which gives you complete control over who Rose will romance.
There are a number of men in Rose’s past life. When she’s engaged in conversation with a potential romance, selecting the appropriate response will earn you a heart. In some conversations, earning a heart from one character comes at the expense of another.
(I’ll risk a slight spoiler to suggest the developers at Vancouver’s Silicon Sisters are inclusive, so players should not assume that the males are the only objects of romance in Everlove.)
At times you need to complete a hidden object tasks, like trying to find the necessary herbs in a forest garden, in order to progress the story. You’ll also have to assemble puzzles from pieces of torn paper, which are clues to the mystery of Rose’s dreams.
Even the presentation of Everlove is carefully considered. The sound design is simple an unobtrusive, and while the game is not animated – it’s mostly static images cut together in a sequence – occasionally a character’s head will turn or an expression will change. It’s animation-lite, created to attract the type of gamer that doesn’t even realize that’s what they are.
Developer: Silicon Sisters
Platform: Android, iOS