imprint-X ($2.99) by Morgondag is a relaxing puzzle game that takes place in a dystopian future where a robotic virus is enslaving the human race through virtual reality. If you liked games such as Deus Ex GO, then you will enjoy what imprint-X brings to the table.
A lot of my time has been spent revisiting Diablo 3 on my PlayStation 4 with my boyfriend in recent days, but I still make an attempt to stay up-to-date with my mobile gaming fix. If you’ve been following my work for some time, then you will know that puzzle games are one of my favorite genres, so naturally I have to check out whatever new offering there is. One reason puzzles are my favorite is because they’re not only a great way to help me relax (or at least try to these days), but they still help me keep my mind stimulated and fresh, because I hate not keeping my brain sharp. When I saw imprint-X on the App Store, I was intrigued by the game’s futuristic, yet dystopian, theme and the game mechanics themselves — a game about pushing buttons? As saturated as the puzzle genre is on the App Store, you don’t see too many of these around. Needless to say, imprint-X is both entertaining and challenging, especially if you’re a puzzle game fan yourself.
Visually speaking, imprint-X is beautiful due to the game’s retro, pixelated art style. While everything is rendered in 2-D and is pixelated, I still found the game to be incredibly detailed with textures, lighting, and other fine details. On top of that, the rendering of the main character sprite, a hacker clone, is cute and empowering, and I personally found her to appear rather relatable (a cute chick with glasses and VR headset, what’s not to like?) so the developers won me over with that. The game’s colors range from a pitch black background littered with bright shining stars to represent cyberspace, to rich earthy tones for the button machines, to vibrant and bright hues for the lights and other doodads. The animations in imprint-X are buttery smooth and fluid with no lag on my iPhone 7, and the game has a soothing and captivating soundtrack that fits the overall dystopian theme of the game. To top it all off, the quirky sound effects are weird yet charming, and it gives you nice audible feedback on whether your input sequence was correct or not, which is nice. In the end, I think Morgondag did an excellent job with imprint-X in terms of visuals and audio, because I fell in love with it the moment I launched the game.
Like all other puzzle games, imprint-X is level-based. At the moment, the game features about 100 stages for players to go through, and since the game is about pushing buttons, there are 700 buttons in total to push. So if you love to push buttons, then imprint-X is the perfect little game for you. The objective of the game is to figure out the correct button sequences for each puzzle, and up to four medals or stars can be earned on each stage, depending on how well you do — the less mistakes, the better. The gameplay is a mix of timing, memory (flashing lights tell you the order like Simon Says), and pattern recognition, so this is definitely a game that makes you stay on your toes and makes you think at the same time. When you clear a stage, it will give you access to the next stage, and sometimes this means a set of several new puzzles is available for you to solve. You can also go back to a stage and replay it for a better score if needed. As you complete puzzles, you will also earn what looks like experience points for each medal earned, and a full gauge of this earns you one life. If you make too many mistakes, you lose a life, so watch out!
The controls in imprint-X are as simple as they come. To push a button, all you have to do is tap on the screen. For those puzzles that involve timing and rhythm, you just have to tap on the right spot at the correct spot, and sometimes this will require two fingers to do successfully. While the controls are easy enough to understand, it does take practice to master because of the timing and memorization involved with figuring out the correct button sequences. And since some will require the use of multiple fingers at once, it can be tricky. The only problem with this is the fact that your fingers may be blocking your screen, especially with a smaller device, so I recommend playing imprint-X on a larger screen device if you have one available.
I’ve only just started playing imprint-X since this morning, but it’s definitely a unique puzzle game that I think is engaging, interesting, and most importantly, challenging, despite the “relaxing” description on the App Store. Plus, the pixel art style graphics are exquisite, the music is immersive, and the controls are simple enough for anyone to understand, but still takes time to master. The only issue with the game is the fact that nothing is explained to you in terms of how the game works, so you just have to start tinkering around in the first few levels before the puzzles begin to come together. A quick tutorial would have been nice for the newbies like myself, so maybe the developer can consider that for the future.
I recommend giving imprint-X a try if you are looking for a challenging puzzle game that takes place in a dystopian future where robotic viruses are a serious threat to mankind. You can find imprint-X on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for just $2.99. There are no in-app purchases.