Show me a collection of squares arranged on a grid and filled with colour, and I'll show you a game I've played before. That's what I was thinking as I downloaded Blip Blup, a game that would shortly be proving me wrong. Created by ustwo Studio, the developer behind the popular Whale Trail, Blip Blup is a silly name for a seriously thoughtful puzzle game.
The goal is to fill each board with colour. Each fingertip tap sends colour radiating out from the square the player touches, interrupted only by blank spaces. Fill the board in under the tap limit, and player earns three stars. Exceed the limit, and the player gets nothing.
It's simple fare, at least until the special tiles begin cropping up. Tiles that swap between being and nothingness; tiles that change the flow of color; tiles that represent instant death -- new hazards are introduced throughout the course of the players' 120+ level quest, evolving the simple concept into a cognitive chore of the most magnificent order.
Blip Blup is evil in an endearing sort of way, lulling the player in with stark, stylised graphics of the sort that makes a skinny tablet look like it's from the future, and then trapping them in its orbit. It's one of those compelling experiences that make it easy to imagine an artificial intelligence has trapped you in a simulation and the only way to survive is to reach the final level.
It's a game that feels familiar, though I'm certain I've never played anything like it.
Genre: puzzle Developer: ustwo Platform: Android, iOS Price: free or $1.99 for ad-free version