This ALMOST made it to the recommended pile, and I really wanted it to, but unfortunately the scales tipped the other way. PROS
+ Art is beautiful and fun, animations very fluid
+ The goggles are fun to use
+ Many puzzles are quite clever, and pretty satisfying once you figure them out
+ Minimal UI makes the scenes more immersiveCONS
- No ending or closure
- No attempt to tell a real story
- No explanations of ANYTHING
- Animations between clicks are unacceptably slow
- Way too many clicks required to accomplish seemingly simple tasks
- Unclear puzzle goals
- Unintuitive puzzle mechanics (obscure hotspots, backward-thinking)
- Solutions require overly-repetitive actions
- No mid-chapter saving, so crashing means restarting the entire chapter
- Very short (~2 hours + more if you're forced to restart a chapter)
- Certain UI buttons don't do what you think they should
~ Not quite a con, but for such a dialogue-free game, the few spoken words detract from the atmosphere a bitLong version:
Let me start with a warning: Do not go into this expecting an ending, closure, or story resolution to reward your efforts.
No, that's not a spoiler. I wish
I read about the lackluster (understatement) ending in reviews beforehand, because I felt robbed as a player. No closure, no satisfaction. I could maybe forgive that if the last scene made any sense, but it doesn't. And to make it worse, the final "reveal" is only shown for maybe 2 seconds before the credits roll, so you don't even get time to look around for visual hints.STORY
I'm not even sure what the story is, to be honest. Nothing is explained. Other than the overarching "solve puzzles to find and save someone" umbrella plot, you get no hints about who or where these characters are, why the goggles do what they do, why Lilly can breathe underwater, etc etc etc.
But let's assume you don't care if a game has a story/plot.GAMEPLAY
I enjoyed the "swapping worlds" mechanic of the goggles. There are a couple of other games that involve a "magic lens" of some kind, so it's not a groundbreaking idea, but this is the first game I've played that makes it the main prop/power. Using it to progress through each scene and puzzle was a fun experience, and I wish there were more excuses to toggle it.
Moving around...oh dear. The animations are fluid and cute, but the timing is sooooo slow. It's not that big of a problem when the distances are short, but if you need to repeatedly run/swim across the entire screen, the wait time is simply too long. It gets absolutely excruciating in the last pipe scene, with jaw-grinding stop-and-go movement that has you clicking the same thing over and over and over just to achieve a single goal that could have easily been reached with 90% less clicks. (Then for all that work, you get no real ending.)
The puzzles are clever, yet simple enough to figure out with no direction. A bright kid would probably have a blast with them. However in several it's not really clear what the goal is. In more than a few cases I resorted to the help button (something I try to avoid), which highlighted hotspots I never would have guessed without more information. But once you know what you need to do, it's just a matter of completing the steps.
A note for the confusing color puzzles (bells/columns and berries):The idea is to start with a secondary color, then remove the primary color you don't want. The annoying part is that you need to add the color you want to remove. Ex: If it's green and you need yellow, add blue. If you need red, add yellow to orange. And so on.
The logic is there (and consistent across puzzles) - it's just poorly implemented.CONCLUSION
Don't get me wrong - I did enjoy the game, and was very torn about giving it a thumbs down. But the lack of explanation across the board (story, puzzle goals/solutions, ending, everything) is a huge turnoff. The great aesthetics do soften a few of the cons, but don't expect more satisfaction than a handful of "a-ha!" moments during individual puzzles.
If you're a patient, laid back, and/or artsy person, I'd say give it a shot, but wait for a bundle or sale. Otherwise there are much more rewarding P&Cs to be found elsewhere.