We take on the challenge of Tobi Apps' brain-melting puzzle game.
"The goal of this game is to get into the elevator and advance to the next floor...."
Read that a second time and it still doesn't exactly sound intimidating or interesting does it? Mind you, neither did that trailer for The Shining for the first minute or so, and we all know how that ended. Fortunately, in 100 Floors it's an endless torrent of intriguing, playful, Warioware puzzles that pour from the elevator doors.
The premise is extremely simple in each of the game's 90 levels (more on the way), and that first line in this review sums it up perfectly. Solve the puzzle presented at each stage and you can hit the up button and proceed to the next. So what is it that makes the game so wonderful?
Well each puzzle has a wonderful air of mystery to it and, for the most part, just enough metaphorical information to allow you to make progress, as long as the limitations of your own brain don't get in the way of course. I don't want to go into too much detail about the individual puzzles, because you should really discover them for yourself, and I would be stealing that experience from you by doing so. That would make me feel bad.
But to give you just a little flavor of the puzzling, one floor displays a mountain picture on the wall that's surrounded by dolphins, planes, apples and dogs: pressing each item in the correct order from lowest to highest position in the world opens up the elevator door. Success.
In other puzzles, I had to use my iPad's gyroscopic controls to steer little balls along a hidden tunnel to open up the doors. Knocking rapidly on a door opened up another. Do you know your Fahrenheit from your Celsius? Well, let's just say you should brush up on that before you reach Floor 35.
Then I got stuck on a puzzle involving the periodic table and I confess I had to resort to the internet to find the way forward. And while I'm quite sure this puzzle had a perfectly sensible solution for anyone who'd actually paid attention during chemistry lessons, when I next had to beseech the wisdom of the smartest person on the planet (the internet), I couldn't help feeling something was amiss.
A handful of the puzzles are so esoteric, and so indecipherable, that even when presented with the solution I couldn't work out where on Earth the solution had been hidden within the puzzle. A four digit code for example (with no apparent hint available) had to be entered into a panel at one point.
Because I'm a nice person with very little ego, I'm going to choose to believe that I missed the solution because I'm a bit stupid, rather than be cynical and wonder if this wasn't an impenetrable puzzle that's impossible to solve in this free game, because the developer has published a paid-for guide. I don't want to believe that's the case with a game that's this good.
100 Floors is everything that's great about the App Store and gaming period: playfulness, inventiveness and a deep sense of satisfaction whenever your triumphs unfold before you. And even though there's a puzzle based on the periodic table within the game, you really shouldn't let that put you off downloading it immediately.
What's Hot: Incredibly satisfying and challenging, which a huge variety of fantastically inventive puzzles.
What's Not: You're going to feel stupid at some point! Some of the puzzle design is mind-blowingly difficult.