Ohm, ohm, ohm – sanctity, tranquillity, inner peace – ohm, ohm, ohm – harmony, balance… LIE STILL YOU BASTARD!
Perfect Balance is a balance game where you stack various geometric objects. There are a bunch of games based around this formula on the iPhone most notably ngmoco´s Topple and Topple 2. What sets Perfect Balance apart from the other stacking games is that it is essentially a puzzler, whereas the others are arcade action games. According to the iTunes page it is a well-known flash game but I haven’t tried it earlier.
The game plays as follows, you get a bunch of objects that you have to stack on top of each other and then they got to be still or in harmony for a second to complete the level. I started playing the game like an action game just stacking stuff and that failed utterly. I read the description on Itunes and when I understood that the game should be played as a physics puzzle it made much more sense. This I could of course have found in the game as there is a very simple instruction page but I usually skip all instructions and dive head first.
The objects you can interact with are found at the top and you can select them and move them by touching them. A second tap while holding the object rotates it and you can rotate and move it freely. When you release the object it is out of your control and if placed incorrectly it will slide off or mess up the balance of the stack. When all objects have been placed the game assesses if there is enough balance or if it is deemed unstable. If a object fall of you have to retry the level and this happens a lot, thankfully the retry button is found at the bottom of the screen and the game resets the level instantaneously. The excitement of the game is found during the time from placing the last object until you get either the perfect balance or unstable rating.
This game is suitable for anyone looking for a calm relaxing puzzler that lets you plan and readjust your plans. You can play this in both short and longer sessions depending on your level of success. I tend to quit when I fail a level a lot just to come back a while later and complete the level on my first try.
Presentation & Graphics
The weak point of the game, dark and lifeless backgrounds that are used repeatedly and it could use some movement or at least brighter backgrounds. Graphically the objects you manipulate are really simple and uninspired with symbols and patterns on them that I can’t connect to any theme of the game. I like the fact that there are sparkling effects showing where the objects are unbalanced which gives you hints about what you are doing wrong.
Ambient and dreamy suitable to this type of game but I find a bit boring. You can have your own Ipod music and get the sparse sound effects in the background so now you can listen to your favourite IPGN podcast in the background.
The game plays very well and it is very seldom that I can fault the controls for me messing up a level. Strategy and ability to follow a plan are just as important as patience in trying the level again just tweaking by a hair. At times I really want the ability to tilt or in any other way readjust and control the swaying of the stacked objects. The gameplay can feel a bit limited in that way and it is tedious to have to restart the level when I make an early mistake.
80 levels of increasing difficulty and no way to skip a level you get stuck on gives you many hours of balancing fun/calm. There are no scores or fastest time meaning that you might not replay this once you finish it.
I really enjoy playing Perfect Balance and it feels rewarding to complete a level that I have struggled for an hour with. Recommended to people who enjoy puzzle and chill out games in the vein of Zen Bound. At 99 cents you can find a whole load of gems and Perfect Balance is one of those worthy of your time and money. Don’t know what it will cost at full price as $0.99 is the launch price and I would say that at any price higher than $4 I would be hesitant to recommend it.