Causality is cranium-crushing fun for fans of the puzzle genre
The wonderful Causality (by Loju) can be described in two words: relaxing and frustrating. It’s frustrating when the puzzles almost seem impossible to complete, but relaxing when taken as a whole; the art and sound elements mold together to create a very pleasant piece. The puzzle genre is all about mental stimulation, and let me tell you, my mind was thoroughly stimulated.
For Causality, the name says it all: cause and effect. You are the time manipulator in an alien world who must bring your astronauts to safety. The more you save them, the more challenging it becomes, with more alien tentacles rising up from the floor to drag down ever more astronauts. With all of this in mind, however, you have an ability which allows you to rewind back to the beginning, so you don’t fall to a catastrophic death, or fast-forward back to a point where everything made sense.
Causality has a very modern, simplistic twist to it – but with addicting levels, paradoxes, and new paths waiting to be forged, it is anything but simple. The entire game has thirteen achievements and up to sixty levels of unique puzzles. There are times I felt a repetitive vibe, but many may feel this way with the puzzle genre in general. Causality does spice it up, though, throwing out time portals, switches, and clones; Loju’s attention to the small details make this a great play.
Paradoxes, paradoxes, paradoxes.
The theme of paradoxes is incorporated into every level. But with paradoxes, though, comes the power to alter time to create the best possible outcome. You are given color-coded astronauts that will need to reach the destinations of their particular colors. In order to get them there, you must move the arrowed tiles to the direction in which the astronauts should go. If you mess up, you can simply rewind and recreate the path again, it’s that ‘easy’ – though this puzzler is far from easy...
This strategic, mind-vexing puzzler may look simple, but it becomes more difficult the further you play. Although there is no time limit for each level, the astronauts can only walk so far, which makes getting to the final destination a bit trickier than just moving arrows. There are also clones of the astronauts, and what appears to be astronaut ‘shadows’ towards the harder levels. This isn’t a bad thing, but it left me completely brain fried, to say the least. The last levels are always the hardest, of course, and these levels are where you must focus and really think to figure out the perfect outcome. There were times when I wanted to give up, but there were also times when a Hallelujah! chorus rang in my head after my astronaut reached her safe haven. Causality makes you think, and think some more, which is pretty ideal for those seeking such a mental challenge. Just don’t expect a backstory, such as why the astronauts got stranded to begin with, although some might be very interested to know.
Design-wise, this indie piece is very well put together and elicits a “feng shui” feel to it all. The backgrounds move to the motion of the game, unraveling into beautiful, plant-like pieces, with colors that are vibrant but not crazy-bright. The colorblind option is also readily available for those with color vision deficiency. All in all, the modern look is a great way to keep the focus on the puzzles, and not overcomplicate the experience.
The sounds of Causality also meld with the art, and the player can enjoy the simple noises that accompany astronaut movement. The soundtrack is extremely well suited for a puzzler, and I love how relaxing the music was. Although there wasn’t much audio variety throughout the game, that’s definitely not something that is necessary for this genre. Like the visuals, there wasn’t any extremely noisy nonsense, but instead a meditation-type vibe to counterbalance the intensity of the levels. No one really wants to hear hardcore rock while solving puzzles – unless you’re into that, then go right on ahead!
This title is not for the casual gamer looking for an easy-to-finish puzzle. Causality is for the players that love a stimulating, keyboard-slamming head-jerker, with the reward of an occasional grin. If you’re brave and looking for a challenge, or if you’re bored and looking to space out, Causality will be there for you.