Cheaper than a meditation room, more portable than a zen garden, and slightly more entertaining than playing with stress balls, Dumb and Fat’s new game, Perfection, is a sanctuary for those of us in need of a little quiet time. Developed for iOS, Android, PC, Mac, and Linux, this discreet little 2-D puzzler gem is a minimalistic invitation to tranquility as easy as pie – or, more accurately, as easy as cutting a slice of pie.
The goal of the game couldn’t be simpler unless it was Pong: you just crop shapes to fit into their matching outlines. Shapes can be resized or rotated with a click of the mouse, and a click is all it takes to make a cut – or undo one. With no constraints on time, number of attempts, or the amount of cuts you make, the game is as easy or as challenging as you wish it to be – though admittedly there is a certain extra helping of satisfaction to be found when the game deems your solution to be “perfection” (as opposed to a slightly disappointing mere “success”).[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bs_NcyqVDbw&w=420&h=315]
Since the shapes and outlines (not to mention colors) are all randomly generated, there are an infinite number of levels (completionists beware), so there is no pressure to finish the game, just as there are no points or achievements to push the player into trying harder or progressing more quickly. The game never explicitly demands that puzzles be completed a certain way – after a brief tutorial, which involves a demonstration of how to click and drag the cursor in order to cut away bits of the shapes, players are left on their own to decide how they want to experience the game.
It’s not as addictive as some of the more popular minimalist puzzle games like Tetris seem to be, but it can be hard to resist if, say, you challenge yourself to use the least amount of cuts possible to achieve a solution, or if you decide to solve a certain number of levels in a given time frame. Though some, particularly those whose tastes are primarily action-oriented, may get bored quickly, it can be a rewarding experience for someone looking to clear a few cobwebs out of their mental attic – or someone who just wants to kill some time.
The soundtrack provided by Omni-Psyence is as techno-chill as an afternoon at a New Age spa, and perfectly suits the game’s overall no-pressure, no-limits atmosphere. The game itself runs as smoothly as water over polished river rocks. With such simplistic design, there are no frame-rate issues or crash problems, and animations and transitions are perfectly timed and executed to give gameplay a real sense of flow and harmony. Due to the randomized generation of levels, sometimes the color combinations may be off-putting or difficult to look at, but all it takes to fix this is one click of a button – you can switch to a new puzzle at any time.
Perfection is not a terribly exciting game – if it was, that would defeat the purpose – nor is it madly innovative. In fact, it’s rather reminiscent of those little plastic shapes they give kids in elementary school to teach them about geometry. But playing Perfection is like taking a walk in the park at the end of a long, stressful day; you don’t necessarily want it to go on forever, but it’s a nice change of scenery and good for working out a few knots. If you’re in need of a little zen in your life, you should go ahead and check it out on the official site.[review pros="Soothing, relaxing atmosphere and soundtrack, polished look and feel, smooth gameplay with enormous freedom in terms of how to play, infinite randomized level generation" cons="Nice for a while but not addictively engaging, somewhat lacking in innovation and ambition" score=80]