SiNKR is a minimalist puzzle game where the objective is to move the discs into their corresponding holes on the screen. When you begin the game you are given circular shaped discs and a hook like contraption. You need to use the hooks to drag the circular discs to the corresponding holes to clear the level. That might sound simple but the hooks only move in one direction so once you have moved them they can’t be moved back. As you progress through the game new mechanics are introduced which change up the gameplay. Additional mechanics include two different shaped discs, changing the orientation of the hook, spaces that move the discs in the direction of the arrow, portals that teleport the discs, and the ability to duplicate discs.
SiNKR describes itself as a minimalist puzzle game and that description is perfect for what it is like playing SiNKR. Instead of having fancy graphics or complex mechanics, the game focuses on using its’ simple mechanics in order to create compelling puzzles. For the most part SiNKR succeeds in creating a simple compelling puzzle game.
The first reason why SiNKR succeeds is that the game is so simple to pick up and play. There really is no need for a tutorial as the goal for every level is so straightforward. The game is so simple that you could easily play the game with just a couple buttons or a mouse/touchscreen. The gameplay involves selecting the objects and then using them for their ability. The gameplay works with both a mouse and controller but I would probably recommend the mouse so you don’t have to waste time going though all the objects to select the one you want. It is much easier to just click on the objects that you want to use.
For such a simple puzzle game I was actually surprised by the number of mechanics included in the game. While none of the mechanics are highly original, the game does a good job utilizing them to make compelling puzzles. To begin the game you basically have just the one mechanic of using the hooks to pull the discs around the screen. As the game progresses though, additional mechanics are added to the game. This might be SiNKR’s greatest strength as the game does such a great job introducing each new mechanic. When a new mechanic is added, the game uses a level to introduce the mechanic in such a way that you can immediately figure out how it is supposed to be used. The game then uses the next couple levels showing how the new mechanic can be used with the other mechanics that have already been introduced. This does a great job showing the player how all of the mechanics intertwine.
I think the reason why SiNKR works so well is the fact that while each individual mechanic might be quite simple, when combined together the mechanics can be used to create some really compelling puzzles. The game does a really good job finding unique ways to combine the different mechanics in interesting new ways. The true judge of how good a puzzle game is its’ puzzles and for the most part the puzzles are really good in SiNKR. The puzzles are clever and satisfying to solve.
Being a fan of the puzzle game genre I have played quite a few puzzle games in the past. On the difficulty spectrum I would probably say that SiNKR probably falls on the easy to moderately difficult side of the spectrum. A lot of the puzzles seem to be pretty straightforward where I was able to figure them out right away or within a couple attempts. While you might find some of the levels to be too easy, the game avoids being frustratingly difficult. It might not give puzzle fans a huge challenge but it also is not so easy that you will be bored by the game.
While a lot of the puzzles in SiNKR are pretty easy, I will say that there are some puzzles that do take a decent amount of thought to solve. Some of the more challenging puzzles come before a new mechanic is introduced but the most challenging puzzles are the last couple levels in the game. Most of the challenge from these puzzles come from the fact that you have to think several moves in advance. With these puzzles you need to be careful when you make a move because if you make a mistake you have to reset the entire level. You need to figure out how one move will impact other parts of the puzzle as one mistake will mess up the rest of the puzzle. This can lead to some trial and error in a couple puzzles. While these puzzles are moderately challenging they never become frustrating and are the best puzzles in the game.
For the most part I would say SiNKR is the type of game that relies almost entirely on logic. SiNKR is never going to confused for an action packed game. SiNKR is the type of game that you can sit back and relax while playing since there are no timers so you can take as much time as you want on any puzzle. While I really appreciated the laid back feeling to the game, I was a little surprised that a couple of the levels do require some timing in order to solve them. For a couple puzzles you have to make a couple quick moves to be able to complete a part of the puzzle. The time window is never really short but there was one puzzle that I failed a couple times because I couldn’t get the timing down quite right.
As far as length I will admit that SiNKR is not a long game. The game has a total of 60 levels. The levels are quite short though. I would estimate that you can figure out the majority of the levels within just a couple minutes. A couple of the more difficult levels might take around 10 minutes. In total I would estimate that the game will take most people between two to three hours to complete. I was able to complete all of the levels in around two and a half hours. Like a lot of pure puzzle games I don’t know how much replay value the game has as while I liked the puzzles I don’t see playing them again. The length itself is not too big of an issue but I was disappointed that the best levels were the last levels in the game. When I finished the game I was left wishing there were more levels in the game.
Usually I would consider a game that is only two to three hours to be too short but it is pretty hard to complain about length when the game is only $1. For only $1 you can get a lot out of SiNKR. Most games that retail for $1 are sloppily put together in order to make a quick buck. You can tell a lot of effort went into SiNKR though which puts it far ahead of a lot of the budget games you find on Steam. If you like puzzle games SiNKR is a steal at only $1.
Basically I think most people will have a pretty good idea on whether they will like SiNKR with a quick glance. If you don’t really care for laid back puzzle games, it is not going to be the game for you. If you like puzzle games and the premise sound interesting to you, I see no reason why you won’t enjoy SiNKR. At only $1 the game is a steal for people that enjoy these type of puzzle games.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Wahler Digital for the review copy of SiNKR 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.