Find The Line Preview
Amongst all of the louder, brasher, bigger-budget games of this year's Gamescom - and its dominant focus on the looming next-generation of consoles - there were quieter games stealing gazes here and there. Find The Line, an effortlessly simply but fascinating game, was one such title that we found ourselves absorbed in.
It's a game that's best compared to titles like Blueprint 3D, where you slowly twist and turn a seemingly random collection of dots within a 3D space, until slowly a coherent image gracefully shimmers into view. Find The Line does things slightly differently though, and as such represents a true evolution for this zen niche of gaming.
For a start, each challenge is broken down into constituent scribbles which provide clues. First, you tap on one of the handful of lines you wish to "evolve", and then you swipe your finger left or right along the bottom of the screen. As you do so, the scribbled clue turns into an animated drawing that plays out in front of you. Keep swiping forward and the animation continues, swipe back and it goes into reverse. The trick is to roll this primitive footage around until the lines form a clue perfectly, and then move onto the next one.
Once you've successfully solved these little clues, you can get to work on the main image that's hinted at by the earlier drawings. As any player of Blueprint will tell you, it may not sound like the most exciting gameplay in the world, but it's endlessly satisfying and soothing, and offers the perfect illusion of personal creativity.
There's as much care and attention lavished on the user interface of the game as there is in the puzzle design, and touches of elegance can be found everywhere. At the end of a level solution, the image might be rendered in 3D or morphed into a related image, for example, adding a further layer of surprise and intrigue. The entire package is clearly a labor of love on the part of the developers at Stigol.
As well as the hundred or so puzzle images the team plan to release with the game, Stigol's also giving up a modified version of its editing tools, so that players can create their own images and share them online. Given the complexity of this editing suite, it won't arrive until after the game's launch towards the end of this year, but it should ensure the game has a shelf life that's just as long as the community wants it to be.
We've been impressed with a lot of mobile gaming's offerings at this year's Gamescom, from the frantic strategy of Blizzard's Hearthstone to the potential afforded by new platforms like Google Glass, but it's the quiet pleasures of Find The Line that have stayed with us long after we came home and returned to quieter normality.