The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best" thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
Linelight ($1.99) is a brand new puzzle game created by developer My Dog Zorro that was built for the ground up for touchscreen devices and released exclusively for mobile this week. At least, I would have totally believed that if it were true. The fact is that Linelight is a multiplatform game that launched on console and PC earlier this year, and I don’t know if it’s that the style of the game lends itself incredibly well to touch or if the developers did a masterful job of creating a mobile version of the game, or a combination of both, but Linelight is one of the standout releases of 2017 on the mobile platform.
The tricky part is trying to describe Linelight. You’d do well to just watch the trailer as it will instantly make sense, but I’ll take a crack at it anyway. Each level in the game is a section of lines that looks just like an electrical circuit diagram. You control a little blip of light who can follow along the lines by touching anywhere and dragging in any direction. Your job is to make your way through the increasingly complex sets of lines to the end of the level. Along the way you’ll be flipping switches, moving platforms, and contending with enemies that will kill you in an instant, among many other things. Often the solution to progressing in Linelight is figuring out which path to take and what order to complete events in.
What has stuck out to me most about Linelight so far is just how intuitively it teaches you the ins and outs of the game. The beginning levels slowly introduce you to new concepts, and then test your ability with them in clever ways. It never feels like you’re playing a tutorial though, and it’s the type of game that will throw a situation at you that you’re POSITIVE has no solution, like someone screwed up in the beta test and totally let this impossible puzzle through. Then, given the knowledge you have about your capabilities and how the functions work in the game, you eventually suss it out and feel like a complete genius. Some of the challenges in Linelight are absolutely brilliant, and oftentimes, surprising.
This is all wrapped up in a minimalist visual style and a killer zen-meets-electronica soundtrack. It’s really impressive just how much personality the developers can squeeze out of a bunch of stark lines, dark colors, and a little blip of light. During the course of your normal travels you’ll collect these yellow orbs which act as end points for each level, but there are other colors of orbs spread around on hidden passageways that are there for you to go back and discover and collect, giving the game a nice dose of replay value. Also, without spoiling too much, there are some serious surprises in store. I didn’t peg Linelight as a game that would have my heart pumping but towards the end of world one I had some of the most tense and exciting moments I’ve ever had gaming. So if you enjoy puzzlers or just games that feel “right" on the touchscreen, I highly recommend you check out Linelight and there’s a whole forum thread full of players who are singing its praises as well.