Thursday, June 13, 2013

Quick Look: Gua-Le-Ni for iPhone and iPad

Gua-Le-Ni by the Italian developer Double Jungle is not the kind of puzzle game that I usually review (or play!) because it's more a game of speed and memory than of logic. However it is so bizarre and artistic that I thought it deserved a mention.
Originally released in 2011 for iPad only, it has recently been updated to support iPhone as well.
If you are wondering what Gua-Le-Ni actually means, it's just the name of the game's designer, Stefano Gualeni.

Essentially, the game consists of looking at monstrous creatures, composed of parts of various animals, and reconstruct their names by rotating and reordering the dice at the bottom of the screen.
For example, this creature has the head of a Rabbit and the body of a Condor, hence it is called a Rab-Dor.
Creatures can be up to 4 parts long. Here's a 3 parts one, a Lob-Rus-Hog.

There are three game modes: in the two main ones, you need to compose the name of the creatures while they walk across the screen; if they walk out before you've finished, it's game over. There are also complications like feeding the creatures with their preferred food in order to slow them down.

The third game mode is totally different. It is called "Poetry", and it is accompanied by verses and illustrations of an odd poem. This mode requires memory rather than speed. Some creatures walk across the screen, and after the last one has left you have to compose the names of all of them. When you have to remember 3 creatures, each one 3 parts long, this starts getting difficult. Definitely a good training for memory.

Where the game really shines is presentation. Most of the user interface revolves around a book with realistically flipping pages and gorgeous hand drawn graphics. Sound is equally good, and the humorous voice acting fits the mood.

A selling point of the game is that biometrics were used to finely balance the difficulty curve, optimising its effect on the players. There's an article by Stefano Gualeni on Gamastura talking about this, and other articles can be found on his personal site.

If you are looking for a diversion from logic puzzles, this is surely a worthy one to look at.

©2013 Nicola Salmoria. Unauthorized use and/or duplication without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicola Salmoria and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.