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Tricone Lab Indie Game Preview

We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Partickhill Games Limited for the review copy of Tricone Lab used for this preview. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to preview, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this preview. Since the game is in Early Access and is a couple months away from completion no review score will be provided at this time since it is unfair to give a rating to a game that is not yet completed.

Concept

Tricone Lab is a puzzle game where the objective is to form tri-colored substances called Tricone. This substance is made inside strange micro organisms. In each level the objective is to create the designated number of Tricone. The challenge is that the materials used to make the Tricone are separated from the catalyst that makes the Tricone. In each puzzle you need to find a way to get the materials together in order to make the Tricone. This isn’t so easy though since there are walls, catalysts that take your materials, and other things that get in your way preventing you from completing your task.

In order to help you make the Tricone you have access to materials that help shape the micro organism that you are working inside. Some materials tear down walls while other materials build walls. In order to solve each puzzle you need to figure out the correct process of using these materials that will allow you to create the necessary number of Tricone.

Review

Being a big fan of puzzle games, I am always excited to see a new puzzle game released on Steam. Today we are looking at the new Early Access puzzle game Tricone Lab made by Partickhill Games Limited that was released today. Tricone Lab is an interesting little puzzle game since I can’t think of another puzzle game that I have played that I could compare it to. While the game is not going to be for everyone, Tricone Lab is an interesting little puzzle game that becomes more engaging the more you play it.

If I had to describe Tricone Lab I would probably say that it is a no frills puzzle game that has some interesting mechanics. At first I found the game to be kind of dull but as I continued playing the game it kept getting better. With each new mechanic that is added to the game, the puzzles become more challenging and entertaining. The game is not your typical puzzle game though so I don’t think it will appeal to everyone. While I didn’t do a great job explaining how the game is played, if you watch a gameplay video and it doesn’t look interesting to you it probably won’t change your mind.

The puzzle design is probably Tricone Lab’s greatest strength. The puzzles are well designed and force you to really think about what you are doing in order to finish the puzzles. This is not the type of game that you can just guess your way to the correct answer. The game has a lot of trial and error but you need to really think through your moves since each puzzle has one to maybe a handful of correct solutions. While some of the puzzles might frustrate you as you try to find the solution, when you finally find the solution you will be proud of yourself for finding it.

I have played quite a few puzzle/puzzle platformers recently and one of the complaints I have had with a lot of them is that they haven’t been particularly challenging and most have been downright easy. That is not the case for Tricone Lab. If you are looking for an easy to moderately difficult puzzle game, Tricone Lab is not it. At this stage I would say that Tricone Lab is a moderately difficult puzzle game. Some of the puzzles are really challenging while others are much more manageable. The difficulty mostly comes from the fact that you really have to think outside the box in order to solve some of the puzzles. In the really challenging puzzles you will try everything and then the solution will end up using one of the items in a way that you would never had thought of. At this stage the difficulty seems to be one of the areas where the game might change the most during the Early Access process since figuring out the right difficulty is one of the main reasons that the game is in Early Access. While the game is not so difficult that you will just quit, you might spend quite a bit of time on some of the puzzles since you can’t quite figure out what you are supposed to do.

While on the topic of difficulty I have to give the game credit for the tutorial missions. They do a good job explaining the different mechanics in the game at a pace in which you can adjust to a new mechanic before you get another mechanic that you have to use. While the game takes a while to adjust to, the process would have been a lot worse if the tutorial didn’t do a good job.

When you play an Early Access game you have to always worry about what kind of state that the game is currently in. Outside of the presentation, which I will get to next, the game seems to be in great shape for a game in Early Access. All of the mechanics seem to be in the game and I haven’t had any issues with any of them yet. Early Access games are also known to regularly have bugs and yet after a couple hours playing the game I have yet to encounter a bug. If you are looking for a polished launch of an Early Access game, Tricone Lab is it.

Due to being in Early Access it is not that surprising that the game somewhat suffers when it comes to the presentation though. While the presentation doesn’t really matter when it comes to a puzzle game, it would be nice if it was improved a little. While I don’t know if the designer plans on addressing them through the Early Access process, at this point the graphics are probably the game’s weak point. If you are looking for a “pretty” game, Tricone Lab is not going to be it. The graphics for the most part are really simple. The menus are also kind of bland. The user interface in general could use a little polish. You really aren’t looking for a gorgeous experience in puzzle games though so it is not that big of deal and won’t ruin the game if nothing is done with them.

To end things I have to give a lot of credit to Josh Singer who single handedly created Tricone Lab. While it is not the most complicated game in the world, it is still pretty impressive that the whole game was created by one person.

Bang For Your Buck

I currently have played the game for around three hours and I think you could get quite a bit of time out of the game. The game currently has 100 levels which is pretty high for a game that just launched on Early Access. In three hours I would guess that I completed 20-30 of them. Unless you are great at the game these 100 levels should take quite a while to complete since quite a few of the levels take a decent amount of time to complete. You will likely have to reset most of the puzzles multiple times before finding the correct answer.

While I don’t see Tricone Lab as the type of game where I would replay levels, the game does include a level editor so people are able to create their own levels. At this stage it is hard to tell if the community is going to build a lot of good levels but one of the game’s biggest goals in Early Access is to build a community to add a bunch of community levels to the game. If successful the game could have a lot of good levels that should keep you busy for quite some time.

Currently the price of Tricone Lab is $11.99 which might seem a little high but you could get quite a bit of time out of the game. Once the game leaves Early Access I am not sure whether the price will rise or by how much. If you are interested in building levels and/or you think the game will develop a strong community with interesting levels I think you should get your money’s worth out of the game.

Should You Purchase Tricone Lab?

Overall I had fun with Tricone Lab but it is not going to be for everyone. The game is kind of an acquired taste that took me a while to fully appreciate. Obviously if you don’t like puzzle games you aren’t going to like Tricone Lab. At this stage the game has some interesting mechanics and the puzzles are pretty well designed. The game kind of lacks presentational polish though which doesn’t ruin the game but could be improved. The game can also be hard at times so if you are looking for an easy to moderately difficult puzzle game, Tricone Lab is not going to be it. If you are looking for an interesting puzzle game though that focuses more on the actual puzzles than anything else, you should look into Tricone Lab.

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