Euclidean Lands, which launches today on iOS, looks like what would happen if you crossed the beautiful, impossible architecture of Monument Valley with the turn-based action of Hitman Go… and then you set the game on a Rubik’s Cube. It’s a seemingly strange combination, but it works, offering an experience that’s somehow relaxing and challenging at the same time.
Euclidean Lands stars a tiny, spear-wielding warrior who’s plopped down in a colorful world made up of floating 3D levels that you can manipulate with your fingertips. Like in Hitman Go, the warrior can move one space at a time, but what makes the game unique is how you control the world itself. Just like a Rubik’s Cube, you can twist and turn rows of blocks. In each level your goal is to get to a specific exit point. It starts out simply, but then slowly ramps up with increasingly complex levels and the introduction of enemies. Eventually you’ll even have to face off against powerful bosses.
Though its influences are clear, playing Euclidean Lands feels very unique, mostly because it forces you to think in different ways. Just figuring out how to get to the exit point can be a challenge enough, but when you also have to avoid enemy attacks and figure out how to get rid of the bad guys, the game proves to be surprisingly difficult. It also does a great job of easing you into the process, steadily introducing new ideas so that you don’t get overwhelmed.
What makes the game work is its turn-based structure. Levels are often large and complex, and require careful observation to solve. Only being able to move one space at a time encourages this kind of contemplation. This is especially true when you get to the boss levels, where enemies can rotate the world as well. It took me many tries before I was able to stop and slow down, in order to follow pattens and movements and solve the first boss puzzle.
It’s also a game that feels perfectly at home on a smartphone. Manipulating levels is a pleasingly tactile experience, one that encourages a playful experimentation as you try out new ideas. The game is full of abstract concepts, but its roots in board games and physical puzzles makes much of it easy to understand. And for all of its challenging puzzles, Euclidean Lands is also a very serene experience, with subtle soundscapes setting the tone for a bright, yet subdued art style.
There’s a good amount to dig into, too. Euclidean Lands spans 40 levels spread across five chapters, and it’ll take you several hours to see it all. You can check it out now in iOS.