Perfect Paths is a logic/puzzle game that will hone your brain, not your reflexes or hand/eye coordination. It's devious and difficult, but every level solved is a true cause for celebration.
Perfect Paths is the spiritual successor to Hyperbolic Magnetism's previous game, Trappped. While gameplay is nearly identical, Perfect Paths offers a larger play board (8x8 vs. 7x7) and iPhone support. Of course, all of the puzzles are new as well, so it's not just a re-skinning of a previous title. While there are a lot of puzzle games on the App Store, there are only a few that rise to a whole new category that I call logic/puzzle. Games in this imaginary category have no timer, require no precision, reflexes, or hand-eye coordination; and can only be solved by applying significant amounts of brain power to a long process of trial-and-error. If you've ever played the iOS masterpieces Trainyard or SpaceChem, then you know exactly what I'm talking about.
Perfect Paths is not a confusing or complicated game, however. The goal is simply to move the colored blocks to their corresponding colored dot by laying out a series of overlapping paths. When you think you're ready, hit the action button and watch the blocks respond to your programming. Of course, it's not as simple as this. The trick here is that every block will follow any instructions they come across, not just the ones you intended; AND the blocks will interact with each other. This can lead to some very convoluted solutions as you program, run, fail, rinse, repeat, etc. When you finally solve a level, however, the feeling of accomplishment makes it all worth it because you will be absolutely certain that luck played no role in your success. As you progress through the increasingly difficult levels of Perfect Paths, your skill will grow as well, leading to an inescapable and rare feeling that the more you play this particular video game, the smarter you get. Perfect Paths also features full Game Center integration so you can compare your score (simpler, more elegant solutions will score higher) with the leaderboards, and even challenge friends. Lastly, the replayability is surprisingly good for a game like this because new components that are introduced throughout the game can be used on earlier levels to increase your score on them.
The graphics of Perfect Paths are simple, but not simplistic or crude. There are no wasted lines, nor are there any unnecessary embellishments. The visuals are clean, even austere, but they are easy on the eyes, and make for an uncluttered and zen-like interface.
The sound effects are extremely subdued, and there is no in-game music so don't go reaching for your headphones. Sadly, the game will even silence your own music if its playing when you launch the App. This last little bit is probably an oversight, and one that I hope will be changed in a future patch as this type of game would really benefit from the ability to play your own audio as you build brain cells.
In-App Purchases (IAPs)
Perfect Paths contains no IAPs of any kind, and additional levels have been arriving almost weekly since its launch at no additional cost.
Perfect Paths is an extremely difficult game, and one that does not go out of its way to tickle you visually or aurally. If you enjoy a good challenge, however, and are up to honing your logic skills, I heartily recommend both Perfect Paths, and its successor Trappped.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 4 - Simple but not crude, and everything is neat and tidy. Sound: - 2 - No music and not much in the way of sound effects. Does not support personal music libraries while the app is running. Controls: - 5 - You will know exactly what to do from the first moment, thanks to an uncluttered and well-designed interface. Gameplay: - 5 - Extremely challenging logic puzzles that will melt your brain. The easily distracted need not apply.
Playing Hints and Tips:
There is no timer, nor is there a penalty for trial and error so feel free to experiment at leisure. Don't worry about your score the first time through as new components will be introduced later in the game that will lower the score of almost every level you've previously played.