Ryo Takanezawa, a puzzle lover who has many other puzzle apps under his belt, is one of those games that Tom Cutrofello calls "topology puzzles", and which I'd like to call "weakly constrained mazes". By that I mean that the goal of the game is to find a way through a maze where your movements are not limited by walls, but by other, less strict, rules.
In Stroke's case, the rules are that your path must go through every cell exactly once, and when you pass on a colored cell, the color must match a predetermined order. This is what it looks like:
I had seen puzzles with similar mechanics, where some cells contain a number and you need to go through the numbers in order. One of them is called Chemin, for example, but there are many others. Stroke, however, is notable because the clues are so vague and ambiguous. I think the greatest difficulty is that you don't know where to start. Luckily, if you get stuck, you can tap the question mark and the game will tell you where to start and end, which makes things a lot more straightforward:
The game contains a good number of puzzles, which are arranged in a "fractal" hierarchy. That is, the first pack has 2x2=4 puzzles of size 2x2, the second has 3x3=9 puzzles of size 3x3, and so on. I got to 5x5, I'm not sure how many more there are.
After you solve enough puzzles, the game rewards you with two more buttons on the title screen, which lead to puzzles with different rules.
It's a tough battle, but this is possibly the most underrated game I've ever reviewed. When I tweeted about it. I was the only player on the Game Center leaderboards. There are still only nine players at the time of writing, so it can't really be called a success. While this surely isn't a masterpiece, I don't think it deserves such harsh results either. The mechanics are unusual enough to keep the puzzles interesting for a while, and they are challenging even at small sizes. Worth a try. Yes, even if it's so expensive. If you do try it, please leave a comment and let me know what you think about it.
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