When it comes to mobile games, one of my favorite genres are puzzles, especially when physics are involved. These are just a great way to relax after a long day, and it definitely helps me unwind and pass the time in a flash. In the past few years, there have been some amazing nature-themed physics-based puzzle games, so naturally, Baum was something that caught my eye once the news of it hit my inbox. But while it looks stunning, there are still other flaws that are currently tainting the experience.
Visually, Baum is gorgeous. The artwork in the game makes me think of nature paintings, due to the fantastic use of color, brushstrokes, and blurry effects to make it feel like a dreamscape. All of the levels look lush and rich in texture and detail, so it’s clear that the developer didn’t skimp out on any of the graphics. Animations are fairly smooth and fluid, so I didn’t exactly have lag on my iPhone 6s Plus. The ambient and atmospheric soundtrack is tranquil and calming, so it goes along perfectly with the overall theme of the title.
In Baum, players are tasked with bringing water to the Tree of Life so that it can become nourished and flourish once again. This is done by guiding droplets of water through branches with the power of wind, which is easier said than done. The game is split up into different times of the day, with each section having a handful of levels that are represented by the hour. Like many other puzzle games, Baum utilizes a three-medal system, in which players earn different medals for meeting certain level requirements. In order to move on to the next available level, players must clear the previous one with at least one medal (for completion).
The controls in Baum are simple, but not the most responsive or intuitive. Essentially, to move the water droplet with wind, you just use your finger to draw a line from the droplet to where you want it to go to. The droplet can stick to most surfaces and roll along them as well, which is helpful to avoid dangerous hazards like thorns.
However, I found that sometimes the droplet will not move even though I’m drawing a line, and a lot of times my finger just gets in the way, so I can’t see what is on the screen at times, resulting in me moving my finger and then the droplet falling into some thorns. Maybe it is easier with an iPad, but that doesn’t change the fact that the controls are just not optimized well enough in this first iteration. Other iTunes reviews also mention the unresponsiveness issue with the controls, so it isn’t just me. It also made the tutorial a bit of a tedious process, as I couldn’t get the droplet to move several times, or it kept falling because it suddenly didn’t detect my finger, even though it was still on the screen.
I wanted to like Baum, honestly, as I’m usually just a sucker for such beautiful nature-themed puzzle games. However, while Baum looks and sounds great, the controls are a big problem for me right now, and I can’t fully recommend the game until it is better optimized in an update. Due to the current unresponsiveness, as well as your finger probably blocking the screen most of the time, playing the game becomes a hassle since you’re probably going to accidentally die a lot.
If you still want to check out Baum for yourself, you can find it on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for $1.99. There are no in-app purchases.