The Mesh ($1.99) by Creatiu Lab is an innovative new zen-like math puzzle game. Even if you aren’t the biggest math fan out there, this game will change the way you see numbers. It’s similar to other titles like Noda, with a dash of Shadowmatic-like tranquility.
Clearly, with my line of work, I cannot say that I’m a big fan of math, even though I did fairly well with the subject in school. Still, I’m a huge fan of puzzles and games that just make you think, so for that, I’m willing to put up with some digits. When I found The Mesh on the App Store, I was intrigued by what I saw — this was not like the other mathematical games I’ve tried before, and it looks stunning. Now that I’ve had some time with it, I’m not disappointed, though it’s not perfect either.
The visuals in The Mesh are gorgeous. The game makes use of soft and rich background colors and textures, and the 3-D model renders of the 12 zodiac creatures look beautiful with the golden hue and shading. The animations are smooth and fluid, especially when things come together. The Mesh also has a calming and peaceful soundtrack with five core songs that represent the elements of the zodiac: water, wood, earth, metal, and fire. It’s a joy to listen to during the game, and highly recommended to use a good pair of headphones for this immersive experience.
There is only one game mode in The Mesh, and that is an endless run in an attempt to get the highest score possible, which is 200 points. You get points for meeting the target number, as indicated by the white tile. The goal is increased after each success, and different tile types are introduced as you progress through the levels, which are represented by the 12 creatures of the zodiac and change after meeting a point threshold. There will also be some different modes that pop up every now and then to keep things interesting, such as Dark Mode and Bomb Mode, where your visibility is reduced and you must clear out bomb tiles before time runs out, respectively. If you don’t meet the target, you lose an amount of tiles equal to the number you end up with. When you’re out of cells on The Mesh, the game ends.
The controls in The Mesh are simple: swipe around on the number tiles to move them, and double-tap them to change the color. If they are like-colored, they’ll be combined. If they’re opposite, you end up with the difference. There are multiplication tiles that you can use to your advantage, or double-tap on them to change them to division instead. If a tile has a symbol on it, that means that you can get bonuses from it, such as reclaiming some lost tiles, having a Risk Spin mini-game at the end, and more.
The game may sound a bit confusing at first, but after a few tries, things start clicking. What I love about this game is the fact that it really makes you think, and you have to plan out your moves on each level. Otherwise you’ll screw yourself over. My best advice is to never rush — take a good look at the board and just think carefully before moving.
I do wish that the game had an undo button of some kind, as it is easy to make a mistake, such as forgetting to change the color of a tile or moving it to the wrong cell. Hopefully the developers can consider adding a way to undo your last move in the future, as it would improve the overall experience.
Despite that flaw, The Mesh is incredibly fun and challenging. There is a lot of replay value with this game, especially since they have implemented Game Center for leaderboards. This way, you can compete with your friends to see who is the best with numbers. I would like to see some achievements added, though.
I’ve been playing The Mesh for a while now, and I must say that it’s one of the more interesting games I’ve come across over the past few days. I am in love with the breathtaking graphics, the music, and the unique gameplay concept. While there is a growing number of numerical puzzles out there, I believe that The Mesh made something that won’t be easy to replicate, and it’s a nice breath of fresh air for the genre. I just want to see an Undo button and possibly achievements added in an update. Other than that, The Mesh is a solid and polished game that is just delightful.
I advise checking out The Mesh if you are a fan of stimulating number puzzles. You can get The Mesh on the App Store as a universal download for $1.99.