minimize ($2.99) by BorderLeap, LLC is a relaxing puzzle game about matching tiles. If you’re looking for a simple puzzle game that will help you take some stress off from the pre-holidays, then Minimize has you covered. It is from the same guys who brought you the Harmony series, Drop Flip, and Alpha Omega, all of which were fine games themselves.
Even though the holidays are coming up in a little over a week, I’ve been feeling the stress this week with finals and last minute holiday shopping. When I am feeling the pressure, I like to just hide from reality for a bit and bury myself deep into video games, whether it’s my 3DS, PS4, or just my iPhone. But since my job is to cover iOS games, I spend a lot of time with them and one of my favorite genres are puzzles that keep my mind stimulated with a challenge while also being relaxing at the same time. Since Borderleap came out with the aforementioned games a while back, I’ve been fans of what they churn out onto the App Store. Naturally, when the news of Minimize hit my inbox a few weeks ago, I was eager to give the game a try. Now that it’s here for everyone, it surely doesn’t disappoint.
Visually, Minimize features a super minimal aesthetic that is sure to appeal to fans of simple design. The game consists of a 3-D isometric appearance that is made up of a flat game board with various colored tiles scattered on top of it. As you progress in the game, the board will build upon itself and expand on the previous level, and the colors will gradually change, while the game throws in more hues into the mix to make things a bit more complex. On top of the clean interface, Borderleap went with some nice soft colors that still provide good contrast with the pastel backgrounds and white game board, so it’s an overall pleasing look and feel. Animations are smooth and fluid with no lag on my iPhone 7, and the ambient soundtrack is soothing. I definitely recommend using a good pair of headphones while you play the game for a truly immersive relaxing session. Like their previous games, Borderleap has done an excellent job with Minimize in terms of visual and audio design.
Like many other puzzle games, Minimize is level-based and you’ll have to solve the puzzles in chronological order. At the moment, there are 100 levels to go through. However, since the game’s stages build on top of one another, this makes perfect sense here, and it’s fun to watch the game board grow to become more intricate and complex as you advance. There is also no level select screen, but you can navigate back to previous stages from the game menu when you’re on a puzzle. The goal in Minimize is pretty straightforward: match the colored tiles on the board in groups of at least two or more to clear them out until no tile remains. While this sounds easy, it gets trickier the further you get. Fortunately, the game does not have timers or move restrictions, so you can play at your own pace, which I love. There are also no hints of any kind, because when it comes down to it, every puzzle can be solved through simple trial-and-error.
Controls in Minimize are as simple as they come. To move all of the tiles at once, just swipe your finger on the screen in the direction you want them to go. It’s either all-or-nothing when it comes to tile movement here. The tiles will stop moving once they hit a dead end or the edge of the board. Since all of the tiles move together, you’ll have to plan your swipes strategically so that you can match all of the like-colored tiles together in groups of two or more. If a single tile gets left behind, then you’ll have to restart the level. Seeing as the game does not penalize you in any way, failure is completely acceptable and you can always just jump right back into it later if you’re feeling a bit flustered at a stage.
Even though there are no penalties for failure in this game, Borderleap has included some achievements and leaderboards. There is also full game save sync through iCloud so that you can pick up where you left off on any iPhone, iPad, or even Apple TV.
I’ve been playing Minimize whenever I have some spare downtime lately, and I’m in love with it so far. I’m a sucker for puzzle games and Minimize delivers flawlessly. The game is gorgeous to look at, the music is captivating, and the controls are intuitive and responsive. The game mechanic is not exactly new, but it’s still fun to play when you want to just unwind for a bit, and being able to play at your own pace and not be under pressure for anything is nice. It’s also fun to watch the levels grow from their predecessor, as it adds another layer of depth to the game.
I highly recommend checking out Minimize if you’re a fan of relaxing puzzlers. You can get Minimize on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV for just $2.99. There are no in-app purchases.