Basic mathematic, when being dealt with care, could produce a really high quality of brain teasing puzzle. At least that's what I thought when playing the latest game from Creatiulab, an indie game studio from Barcelona, called The Mesh.
Brain Teasers with Numbers
The Mesh comes with generous and original 200 rounds in total, all numbers-related. In each round, you will be facing one hexagonal tile that is the target number. To reach this target number, there are other numbers that need to be combined, in a way to match this particular target number.
To create this combination, there are some (really) basic mathematic operations that consist of, addition, substraction, multiplication and division by 2. The Mesh comes with 13 hexagonal tiles. The target hexagonal tile is colored with white color whereas other tiles will be colored accordingly to the theme of that round.
Sliding Number Puzzle Rules
Out of the 13 hexagonal tiles, 12 tiles will act as your life. Everytime you miss out matching the target number, the tiles will be cut out according to your last tile number. Then, you will continue the game with that many tiles you have left.
Like I've just said, The Mesh is all about creating combination with simple mathematic operations. So the other tiles that you have, you will combine it with each other. You can only combining two tiles at a time. Once you do a combination, two tiles that you've combined will create a new single tile. Check out this trailer to see what I meant.
Once you've matched the number, the round ends, and you will be matching a larger number in the next round. If you can somehow create more than one matching number, you will be able to skip some round. The matching number will be reset into one again once you've reached certain round, unlocking creature from the ancient zodiac.
The final goal in this game is to finish in total 200 rounds and unlock 12 creatures of the ancient zodiac. I myself only able to unlock 10 creatures until now, but puzzle can only be interesting if the goal is almost impossible to reach anyway.
Control and Movement
The control in The Mesh is using tap and drag movement. To combine tiles, you can drag the tile into other tile you want to combine, and it is as simple as that. However, this simplicity has proven to be my and could be yours pitfall.
You need to be really careful and thoughtful before combining anything. There is no undo button and once you've taken the wrong steps, well, there's unlikely any move you can do to survive the round.
Some pro tips, although it seems like there seems to be impossible you can survive the round, you can always try to minimize the damage by substracting the tiles left as minimum as possible (even 0 if it's possible).
If for some reason you're still surviving the game, even with less tiles, you can always get your tiles back. There are some bonus tiles that will be triggered when you combine this bonus tile and the result is direct match number. If the combine result isn't the match number, the bonus tile won't be triggered. So it has to be the target number and you will get the bonus tile.
There are some bonus tiles that's available to reward your effort. I left that to you to discover these bonus tiles. However, I should tip you for these bonus tile. There is one bonus tile that I'd like to call it as risk bonus tile. I call it the risk because there's a huge risk occured when you decide to spin this tile. If you're lucky, you can get bonus points, even you can recover some lost tiles. However, if you don't, you might get your point reduce, even you can lost some tiles. If you don't think you're lucky, I'd suggest you to leave this one out.
There are also two special rounds that will enrich your experience in playing The Mesh. Both of the rounds have two similarities, both of them use timer and both of them come out whenever they want. If you run out of time, your tiles will be deducted with whatever left.
The first special round is called with The Dark Mode. In this dark mode, you won't be seeing anything. To see the tile, you need to hold the button to more like 'peek' the tiles. When you 'peek' the tile, the timer starts. So make sure you have enough time left before you decide how you want to combine the tiles.
The second special round is called The Bomb Mode. Once you've started the bomb mode, the timer will be started and won't be put off until you've finished matching the number. If you run out of time, you will lose your game at that round. Usually, in this mode, rather than try to think about matching the target number, I'd go with substract all the numbers into zero. In this way, the round will be reset and I won't have to go through this mode again.
The background musics in The Mesh were divided into five elements that represent the elements of the zodiac, water, wood, earth, metal, and fire. Since every certain rounds there are some zodiac creatures to unlock, the BGM will also likely to change when creatures from different elements coming out.
The BGM itself was selected to give a soothing and calming experience, just like what any puzzle game should have. It's impossible to get the best solution if the BGM is playing a hard rock music. So in this way, I'd totally support the choices.
Graphics and Originality Need to be Applaud
I definitely love the graphics quality. The interface is using a simple and minimalist design with just a few colors to use. There also flat design in the tiles that give a focus feeling.
I also love the design of the zodiac creatures that seems like a porcelaint to me. This porcelaint design gives a strong feeling that I'm collecting something precious, as well as bringing out a Chinese culture, something that zodiac originally come from.
The idea of The Mesh itself needs to be appreciated at their originality level. I mean, I haven't seen this kind of game before and I honestly don't think that this kind of game have ever been created. So I'd like to applaud The Mesh and Creatiulab for their innovative work and originality, despite the bad habit from many developers that use ideas from other games and put it into theirs.
The Mesh is definitely a really good and original product with many attention to details. I can't reconsider myself to promote this great product to you all, especially to those who love math or to those who are puzzle addicts. Either way around, The Mesh is a satisfying brain teasers with numbers puzzle that will make you change the way you make decisions.
Creatiulab is a new independent two-man digital studio located in the sunny Barcelona. The studio was founded in 2012 by two creative minds, Lukas Bahrle & Andreu Taberner. Despite only have two people, Creatiulab has a really great target, that is having high standard production values like any big digital companies out there.
And last but not least, I'd like to thank Creatiulab for sharing this app with me to provide my most honest review of brain teasers with numbers, The Mesh.