358730_largerPerfection [$0.99] is a game about cutting shapes so they fit into polygon containers. Perfection is a game about cutting out everything that’s not necessary. Perfection is a game about cutting. Perfection is a game.

Do you remember playing with tangrams in school? You would get a set of geometric pieces and you had to arrange them in such a way as to craft a larger silhouette that could only be made in a fixed number of arrangements. You had to see the pieces and the final shape and your brain had to make the connection between the two so you could solve the puzzle.

Perfection is kind of like that in reverse. You’re given a shape and an outline and you have to make the shape you’re given fit into the outline. You do this by making linear cuts, slicing the shape into two pieces and getting rid of the smaller one. You can make as many cuts as you’d like to reach the goal, but there is a subtle cue on the top of the screen suggesting how many it should take.

That’s the game. Shape, cut, fit into the outline, next level.

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If it sounds simple, that’s because it is simple. Perfection has no bells and whistles on it. There are no advertisements. There’s no leaderboard. There are no in-app purchases. There’s only one song, or what feels like only one song, that’s lengthy enough where you’re not quite sure if it’s looped or not. There’s no timer and there are no achievements that I know of.  There isn’t much of a menu. Aside from the splash screen and the words “Success!” and “Perfection!” there aren’t even any words.

With that, Perfection’s greatest strength, its simplicity, is also its greatest weakness. It's a wonderful remedy for anyone who’s sick of social media sharing, in-app purchases, advertisements, leaderboards, and the like, but some gamers may want those things. After all, what’s the point in solving a puzzle if you can’t brag to your friends about how quickly you solved it, then challenge them to solve the same puzzle faster? The game becomes less about social competition, which has become the norm, and more about the isolated, exercise-like experience.

That’s just it, though. Perfection is about letting go of all of that extra stuff with which games have become cluttered. You can’t even replay the same level twice; since Perfection’s levels are procedurally generated, once a level is complete it is gone forever. I personally found this to be a welcome change, ironically forcing me to let go of my perfectionist impulse to go back and get “three stars” or “100% complete” in a game’s levels. By simply not allowing me to do that, Perfection released me from what can be an enormous psychological burden depending on just how much there is to do in a game.

Before you think, “It’s just a game about cutting shapes, so doesn’t that get old?” I should mention that there are actually two variant modes of play, each adding a simple but challenging mechanic. You start out just cutting fixed, stationary polygons. Once you’ve done that and succeeded enough at it, the game nudges you to try the next mode of play, which lets you rotate your shapes. Again, this sounds simple but it actually removes an enormous crutch by not making the game line things up for you from the get-go. The third and final level of geometric complexity is when you can both rotate your shapes and resize them. When you think you’ve mastered cutting shapes, that third mode might just show you that you are not so smart, as it can be quite the challenge.

Still, even on the game’s most difficult setting you have the choice to tap the “new level” button and be rid of a vexing puzzle forever, never having to think about it again. You never lose anything for skipping a level and the game puts no expectations on you to finish 100% of the levels given to you, so the only pressure to force a difficult puzzle on yourself comes from within. I found it to be a highly reflective and contemplative experience, showing me exactly what kind of gamer I am and what my tendencies are without ever having to spell that out for me.

Perfection isn’t for everyone. Some will be captivated by its minimalism and others will be bored by it. It has minor mechanical flaws, such as not always calculating success accurately and handling a bit more smoothly on the iPad compared with the iPhone, but overall I found Perfection to be a refreshing, worthwhile experience. If the idea of playing with shapes and massaging your brain is at all interesting to you or if you just want a game that gives you a break from the accumulating minutiae commonly found in mobile games now, I recommend giving it a try.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • AngryBaby

    Hello! First time poster, long time creeper. Love the site and what it represents for the mobile gaming industry. It's my go to resource for all things iOS gaming!

    BUT, I came here to gripe, and that's what I'll do now. I really feel that the TA review system is flawed. I've heard it said on these forums before and I usually don't pay mind to complainers, but I think that reevaluating the method you use to score games could be a huge boost to supporting some of the lesser known games you feature.

    The way I understand the 5-star review system is as follows:

    3 stars = not good
    3.5 = needs work
    4 = okay
    4.5 = pretty good
    5 = really good

    (I usually see nothing rated below 3 stars and I assume this is out of respect to the publishers)

    My advice is to expand your rating system, so that gamers have the opportunity to really focus on games that get high ratings. I might be completely alone in this, but I find it hard to discover potentially great iOS games, when almost everything gets 4-5 stars.

    I apologize that this post has nothing to do with the game's review under which I'm posting. I completely understand if you want to remove this post, but I felt like putting in my two cents. Again, I love the site! Just think the scoring system needs work. I'd probably give it a 3.5 :)

    Ok thanks for listening!

    • one.sixty.four

      I agree that the scoring system needs work, and I like your idea! Welcome to the forums, BTW. :)

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      I think the way you read the ratings is a little skewed. 3 stars definitely doesn't mean it's not good, and 4.5 is way above just pretty good. I know there are proportionally less 2.5 and below ratings but that has nothing to do with publishers or anything like that, rather just not wanting to waste time on games that aren't good. There are far too many games on the App Store and many many good ones. The point of TouchArcade is to be a place you know you can visit whenever and find cool games, not see crappy ones you shouldn't download.

      Thank you for the feedback though, I do appreciate hearing it and having this discussion.

    • loophole

      I agree about the scoring system but don't let that ruin the rest of it because these guys write incredible reviews: super detailed, useful and informative. Love ya touch arcade! Been following for a long time :)

      • Jef Crisis

        i find reading the review to be more of an indicator than the rating. a rating is just numbers. quantitive rather than qualitative statement. from reading the review you get a good idea if the game is up your street. a whatever star rating doesn't.

    • wigzisonfire

      Lol the past 5 reviewed games scores are as follows. 4.5, 2.5, 4, 3, 4.5, Seems pretty varied to me.

      Although I do agree with your point, there do seen to be a lot of high scoring reviews, a lot of which are too high IMO.

      A main question I have for the TA CREW Jared is, how do you pick which games you review?! As it seems you rarely review the latest most exciting games or the games that are trending on the forums. Every week when you post the upcoming new releases I desperately hope that some reviews will soon follow so I don't waste my money buying crap new releases that week but the new reviews rarely come so I end up buying lame games!

    • Jake7905

      When it comes to reviews, the game in review is always

    • Jake7905

      When it comes to any game review the rating given is always subjective, since there are no objective criteria to base a review of "not good" or "good".

      So in the in end the rating is based on reviewer.

      • Jake7905

        Sorry for the screwy posts, it's past my bedtime.

  • mrTofu

    I played this during E3 at indie showcase. It was good!

  • http://www.yepi2.info/ Yepi 2

    oh year! very good

  • HelperMonkey

    Nice review.

    • witedahlia

      Yes. It was a really good review. Makes me want to try the game. Too bad the thread was a little off topic at first

Perfection. Reviewed by Jake Vander Ende on . Rating: 4.5