Format: PC

Released: May 2018

Creating lines from falling blocks is one challenge we’ve all grown accustomed to, but creating lines from blocks in a square grid with the middle cut out is what Inline brings to the table. It’s such a simple change to the formula but it really does make you think differently about how you puzzle!

Inline game screenshot
Placing blocks where you can whilst planning your next move is your mission

Blocks appear in the centre of the grid, which has been cut out and you lay them out like jigsaw puzzles to then clear complete horizontal or vertical lines of blocks. As you chain moves together without skipping blocks

or finding blocks you can’t place, you’ll level up via your points. This brings bigger points but more complex block arrangements and sizes. What starts out quite a relaxed experience soon becomes a strategic brain melt because at some point it will be game over, but if you could just clear X, Y and Z – you’ll be able to keep going a little longer. In terms of gameplay, it reminded me more of the Chime and Chime Sharp games than any other puzzle game with blocks as it’s more like a jigsaw puzzle than a block one.

Inline game screenshot
As blocks get bigger and more awkward, you’ll see the red square of NO! a lot

Inline definitely has the one more go factor. It’s a single player experience (although I could see multiplayer being fun in a Columns/Tetris fashion) but you don’t have to race the clock. This means you can be very deliberate with your moves if you want to. It’s a high score challenge game which is both good and bad. If that drives you on, you’ll enjoy it, but if not your runtime with the game may be quite short. Scoring is about clearing multiple lines at once where possible, and not skipping blocks. If you do, you lose your combo. Do it again before you’ve built it up and your life takes a hit. Several of those will make it game over. To supplement that the game really only has one mode, Inline has a lot of customisation features. You can play it with the central square filled in, which to me slightly defeats the games initial challenge and charm, and you can choose what level to start at or if you want a clock to affect your scoring. Graphically things run smoothly and fine, although it’s only ever grey, green and orange blocks and the soundtrack is ambient without a melody to get stuck in your mind.

 

Positives

  • Just one more go… or ten…
  • Great twist on a simple puzzle mechanic
  • Intuitive colour design and clean graphics help speed the game along
  • Does exactly what it says on the tin

Negatives

  • Single player only
  • No online or offline leaderboards – only your hi-score stays
  • You’ll see all the game has to offer immediately so if you don’t like it, sorry about that!

Conclusion

It’s simple to understand but hard to master, Inline is a great puzzle game with a great twist on its gameplay to keep puzzlers coming back time and again. It’s a little bare bones, but that doesn’t matter when the game itself is solid.

If you like what I do, and would like to help me make better and more content then please consider supporting me via Patreon. Thank you.

A copy of the game was provided by the developer for review.

 

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