The original Energy Cycle was released back in January of 2016. While I never played Energy Cycle, it is one of those simple puzzles games that I generally enjoy playing. I have always been a fan of puzzle games with a simple concept that are deceptively deep. Basically the goal of the game is to turn all of the orbs/circles to the same color. Even though I never played the original Energy Cycle, I was interested in checking out Energy Cycle Edge which comes out tomorrow (December 5th) for Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, PS Vita, and Xbox One. Energy Cycle Edge may not be for everyone but it is an interesting and surprisingly difficult puzzle game.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Sometimes You for the review copy of Energy Cycle Edge used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.
Energy Cycle Edge is one of the most straightforward video games that I have played in quite some time. It is an indie puzzle where the goal is to turn all of the circles/orbs to the same color. You change each orb’s color just by pressing it. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Well there is a catch. The catch is that whenever you press on an orb, it not only changes the color of the orb you press but every other orb connected to it vertically or horizontally. In order to solve the puzzle you need to figure out how changing one orb’s color will impact the other orbs. Successfully figure out how to change multiple orb’s colors at the same time and you will solve the puzzle.
While I think Energy Cycle Edge is an interesting and fun puzzle game, it is quite obvious that it is not going to be the game for everyone. Did the gameplay described in the previous paragraph sound interesting to you? If not, Energy Cycle Edge is not going to be for you as the last paragraph does a pretty good job describing what you will be doing throughout the entire game.
If the game’s description sounded interesting to you though, I think you could get quite a bit of enjoyment out of Energy Cycle Edge. Being a big fan of indie puzzle games, I had fun with Energy Cycle Edge. It is not the best puzzle game that I have played recently, but I had fun with it and plan on eventually completing all of the puzzles. Energy Cycle Edge is one of those games that is better in shorter doses where you play it for 30 minutes or so and then come back to it another day. Puzzle game fans that want a relaxing laid back experience should enjoy their time with the game.
If the screenshot at the top of this review didn’t already make it obvious, Energy Cycle Edge doesn’t have a lot to offer from the visuals department. For pretty much the entire game, you will only be looking at a bunch of orbs/circles. The orbs change colors when you click on them, but there is not much else going on visually. The game’s music is pretty good and does a good job supporting the game’s relaxing atmosphere. While there isn’t a lot to look at, Energy Cycle Edge isn’t the type of game were you really care about the visuals. Instead of wasting time on visuals, these type of puzzle games succeed or fail based on their puzzle design.
This is where Energy Cycle Edge is the strongest. Before playing the game I was a little skeptical about how much you could do with the mechanic of clicking on orbs to change them all to the same color. I have to say that I was impressed with how much the game does with such a simple mechanic. The game only has the one mechanic but it comes up with some interesting ways of using it. While playing the game you start to develop different methods to turn all of the orbs in a certain alignment to the same color. You then need to use those different methods in order to complete the puzzle. The ultimate goal is to get all of the orbs that are a different color into an arrangement that can all be changed by pressing just one orb. While you will occasionally just randomly reach the solution to a puzzle, you generally feel a sense of accomplish when you are finally able to solve one of the puzzles.
I liked the puzzle design for the most part but at times it can be too challenging. I think this comes down to a couple things. First the game offers no tutorial whatsoever. When you start the game you are given the first puzzle with no explanation of what you are supposed to do. In some ways I understand this decision as the gameplay is pretty self explanatory. The issue I have with no tutorial is that the game tends to treat you like you are already an expert at the game. The game has a really steep learning curve as there are no easy levels that teach you some of the basic methods of changing groups of orbs to the same color. I think the game would have really benefited from having at least a couple easier levels which forced you to use different methods to solve them. This would be especially beneficial to people who didn’t play the original game. Instead the game forces you to learn while playing. This leads to some of the earlier levels being kind of frustrating if you never played the original game.
I think part of this has to do with the game being a sequel. I have never played the original game so I went into Energy Cycle Edge completely blind to the series. The developers treat the players like they just completed the original game. Thus Energy Cycle Edge feels like it picks up where the previous game left off. This is an issue for newcomers to the series. While I don’t have the original game to test out this theory, it seems like the original game looks quite a bit easier than the sequel. People who have played the original game will appreciate not having to waste time with easy levels, but it can be daunting for people that didn’t play the original game. For this reason I would probably recommend playing the original game before Energy Cycle Edge if possible.
While on the topic of difficulty, I want to say that Energy Cycle Edge is one of those games that are not going to be for everyone. It is the type of puzzle game that some people are going to grasp immediately while others might really struggle with it. People that are good with abstract puzzles and can see how one move will impact the rest of the board are going to be quite good at the game. People that aren’t that good at these type of puzzles are going to struggle in the game. I could see the game being quite frustrating for these type of players. I personally was somewhere in the middle. Some puzzles I could solve quite quickly while others took me quite a while to finish.
How much time you get out of Energy Cycle Edge is mostly going to depend on how good you are at solving the puzzles. The game has a total of 44 different levels. If you are good at these type of puzzles, I can see you finishing them pretty quickly. If you struggle though, you could easily spend a lot of time solving just one puzzle. The game also has a mode that randomly assigns colors to the orbs at the beginning of the level. This should add a little replay value to the game as you could replay each level several times and you will have to solve them in different ways each time. Even if you don’t get a lot of time out of the game, it is quite affordable as the starting price is $4.99. If you like the game’s concept I can’t imagine you not getting your money’s worth.
Energy Cycle Edge is a game that some people will love and other people will hate. In the game you are basically trying to get all of the orbs to be the same color. You do this by activating an orb which changes its color. The catch is that it changes the color of every orb that is horizontally and vertically connected to the orb you activated. This makes the game considerably more challenging than it first appears. If the premise doesn’t really appeal to you, Energy Cycle Edge is not going to be for you. If the concept sounds interesting though, you should have fun with the game. The puzzle design is good but can be a little too challenging at times. If you excel at these type of games you should solve them pretty easily but other people might struggle with them.
If the premise doesn’t really interest you I would not recommend picking up Energy Cycle Edge. If you enjoyed the previous Energy Cycle or think the premise sounds interesting, you should probably pick up Energy Cycle Edge as you should enjoy it quite a bit.