When it comes to small platform titles like iO, it becomes increasingly difficult to review these games especially if they don’t have much of a narrative attached to them. The game, which is developed by Gamious, the studio behind charming titles like turn-based Templars and Lines, released their latest creation on Xbox One. However, unlike many games in the currently oversaturated indie platformer market, iO offers something different.
Review platform: iO was reviewed on Xbox One with a code provided by the developer
Release date: Feb 14, 2017
The last time I played a game like iO, it was way back on my HTC HD2, when HTC released a physics-based maze game which expected you to drop the metal ball into the designated holes by navigating an intricate maze. iO follows this same design but mixes it up by taking inspiration from a Tron-like art direction.
The game offers quite a number of levels with increasing difficulty. Every level you progress towards introduces new gameplay mechanisms that keep the game fresh as you go along. With the physics-based engine, you will be required to use the world around you to advance, sometimes giving you real brainteasers.
Objectives mainly revolve around you manipulating the "puck" by increasing or decreasing its size, and this, in turn, changes the speed at which it moves around the level, giving you the opportunity to squeeze through small passages or break some platforms. Momentum is at the core of the experience.
The game, however, does not overcomplicate itself with elaborate levels for the sake of being difficult. Each level offers some challenge, and this increases with time. The game also does a good job of rewarding you for playing it, giving you ample achievements for completing certain challenges, which in itself is a great time killer if you’re looking for a bigger challenge.
Art direction in this game is quite standard like I stated before. The minimalist level design adds to the enjoyment and doesn’t get in the way of gameplay. Sound design is top notch, adding to the ambiance of the levels as you play.
With so many mediocre platforming games flooding stores these days, it’s refreshing to see something unique. Although at face value iO seems quite bare, the challenging level design and interesting mechanics make it worth a look at if you like puzzles.
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