Slider puzzles are extremely marmite and in general, I am not a fan. That is why I was surprised when I enjoyed Active Neurons when I played it about 18 months ago. I’ve recently completed Active Neurons 2, the sequel and it improves on the original in nearly every single way. It is still a slider game though so marmite comes with the territory.
You play as a white block in an abstract world of connecting brain thoughts together. When you move in a direction you’ll slide that way until you hit something. The idea is to get to the exit and not get stuck in a loop where the exit cannot be reached, or touch bad blocks. Red blocks kill you outright, you have breakable blocks that often mean you get stuck and later on the red blocks move. This means Active Neurons 2 expects you to time your movements, not just solve the puzzle.
Puzzles no longer fit on one screen either this time around. You’ll have keys on other screens to collect or you’ll push blocks to slide between screens. Switches change routes too and the game requires a lot more planning this time around. This raises the difficulty significantly in the final third of the game and made my brain melt. That is a good thing. The bad offset is that there is no undo button for when you make a wrong move. This means a level restart which gets frustrating towards the end of the game when levels are longer.
Aside from the new gameplay mechanics, largely based on the timing of moving around moving enemies, the game has a new chillout soundtrack and a graphical improvement. The soundtrack works nicely as a backdrop to the halcyon glows of the colours. It won’t blow you away but it is a step up. If you get stuck, you can actually watch the solution too. Sometimes this gives an a-ha moment but you can obviously spam this to complete the game. It depends on just how restrained you want to be.
Another solid slider puzzle then into the Active Neurons series. Since a third has not long been released too (which I’ll pick up no doubt), this is turning into a fun distraction. I’m still not a huge fan of slider puzzles in general but these do the job nicely.
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