A sequel to Sometimes You’s Energy Cycle, Energy Cycle Edge is a colourful puzzle game that takes the match three formulae a step further by making the player match all… then jumps that idea forward by adding in 3D elements to get to grips with. On the surface it seems like it’s got more in common with Star Trek’s tridimensional chess than it does with getting on screen blobs to all be the same colour, but there’s a bit of Rubik’s Cube and sliding picture puzzle logic thrown in the mix too. With so many comparisons there’s only one thing that can really be said – it’s hard. Very hard.
The premise of Energy Cycle Edge is so simple that it doesn’t even bother explaining how to play the game, nor does it lock levels off behind progress barriers. Everything is available from the start to be tackled in whatever order seems the best, though it’s sensible to realise that the puzzles that ease the player into the game are earlier on. There’s a cursor on screen and a number of coloured nodes in a pattern, with the aim being to make the entire pattern a single colour. Whether it’s blue, red or green is entirely up to the player, getting them all to match is the only thing needed to pass the level. Clicking on a node cycles the colour of it and the ones aligned to it – so anything that’s in a straight line with that one will change. If it’s a corner element then both lines spreading out from the corner will change. This is where it’s a bit like a sliding block puzzle as you try to arrange all the nodes and invariably get left with one that refuses to cooperate, so have to move it around the grid until it’s in the right location to make the moves and get it switching to the correct colour.
Get to grips with the 2D puzzles and Energy Cycle Edge starts to layer up the the difficulty by enabling rotation and forcing you to match colours in an additional grid at 90 degrees to the original, that will also share nodes with the first part. Master this style and more sections are added at 45 degrees to add to the complexity, and then it finally moves to full cubes with each face connecting in some way with each other. This is the where the Rubik’s influence comes in, and if that’s something that has always left you baffled then I’m afraid it’s not going to be any easier here.
The two dimensional puzzles are tricky to start with and it takes a bit of time to get into the rhythm of the colour cycling and how the nodes interact. When that clicks it doesn’t make the game more straightforward, but does open up a tool set of moves that you know will work to shuffle the wrong coloured elements around the grid to a position where they can be sorted. Switching up into three dimensions starts basic enough by solving each face individually and making sure the one connected node is the right colour, yet start adding more in and there’s an awful lot of shuffling between faces before committing to anything. There’s an underlying logic to follow that gets cleverly masked by the setup of the grids and the way the colours change the way everything looks – you kind of have to look past all of that otherwise it just descends into random switching and hoping for the best.
Energy Cycle Edge takes influences from a number of areas, and updates them to offer up something unique yet very, very challenging. This is a game for the hardcore puzzlers out there who methodically want to work through a scenario and execute it perfectly. There are a few options to make things slightly trickier like randomly selecting the colouring when the level loads, but it’s not really needed to make it more difficult; and there’s not much at all on show apart from the puzzles. Persevere with the game and you’ll feel elation at finally solving the current stage, but that will shift to utter despair on the next one when the screen flashes through red, green and blue without getting any closer to a solution.
A PS4 review copy of Energy Cycle Edge was provided by Sometimes You’s PR team, and the game is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PS Vita and Switch in the region of £5.