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Lucid brings a new twist to block puzzles

7:00 PM on 01.02.2010 // Matthew Razak

In the world of puzzle games involving blocks there isn't much that hasn't been done. Blocks have fallen, been paired, been shot, been organized and they've been grouped. In short, it's a bit difficult to do something new in the block puzzle game genre. That's probably why it took indie game developer Mikko Miettinen over two years to put together his upcoming PC puzzle game Lucid, which appears to deliver yet another new twist to the age old practice of organizing colored blocks.

I got my hands on three levels from the game and have played through them multiple times. Much like most games in the genre, while it may look like something you've seen before it is Lucid's mechanics that set it apart. Miettinen appears to be doing some interesting things in his game, and if the first three levels are any indication they could pay off.

Yes, Lucid is about grouping blocks of the same color together, and, yes, you've done that a million times, but it does have a twist. In Lucid you have to group blocks together with an unbroken line. This means that you must be able to create a group of blocks of the same color that can have a line drawn from one to the other without that line crossing itself or stopping. Once you connect the blocks in such a way they disappear from the playing field and you get points, which, as all good gamers know, are good.

However, unlike most other games of this ilk points are not how you clear a level. Levels are cleared by filling the Earth Dome. I'm a little unclear on the story for the game, but certain colors of blocks are requested by someone and the color requested is shown on the screen with the next color in line shown below it. When one connects a grouping of blocks in the requested color it fills the Earth Dome a certain amount depending on the number of blocks connected. Once the Earth Dome is filled the player moves on to the next level. In the levels I played it was pretty easy to fill the Earth Dome, but Miettinen says it will become more and more challenging throughout the 77 levels in the game.

When you send blocks to the Earth Dome you receive a point multiplier, which goes up with every consecutive shipment of blocks to it. Needless to say planning ahead is a major part of each level since chaining together shipments of task blocks can net you quite an uptick in the point category. However, it appears that it will also be strategic to eliminate other colors that are not the requested one as you can often score big points with them as well and organize the board better to chain together task block shipments. This seems to create an interesting strategy where the player must weigh getting the multiplier versus eliminating a color of brick that is not being requested. When I was playing I know I would attempt to clear as many bricks as possible right before filling up the Earth Dome so as to get my score as high as possible in the level.

Of course sometimes you get yourself stuck or just want to get a rearrangement of blocks. This is where Lucid blocks come into play. Every time a player completes a designated amount of task colors in a row they are rewarded with a Lucid block that resets the entire board with new colors once the block is cleared. This can be a great way to get your score higher before the level ends or try for an even higher chain. Even in the very early easy levels I played saving them for later use was a strategy in itself. As the game progresses Lucid blocks will become more and more difficult to obtain, meaning organization becomes more and more important for clearing a level.

Sadly, the preview I played was only three levels long and pretty easy to get through leaving me with only a bit of challenge in beating the levels and the only goal really being trying to get the highest score possible. However, it's easy to see how Lucid could become an immensely challenging and addicting game with ramped up difficulty and more creative hurdles that Miettinen says the rest of the game will provide.

If you want to check out a demo of the game for yourself you can head here to download it.

Matthew Razak, Contributor
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