Impressions: The Plateau

It’s always a tough decision to make when you’ve just purchased an iTunes card or come across a few extra virtual dollars to spend. Which app to get and why? What are you going to enjoy above the other thousands of apps online? Luckily you can make these decisions and branch out to discover new things without cutting too much into your budget. At just 99 cents, Spoonjuice’s innovative puzzler The Plateau is a game that you won’t have to feel guilty about buying. It packs high production values, responsive controls, and an interesting premise into one small package. Talk about value.

The Plateau may have a confounding title, as there’s clearly no zeniths involved within the game. At its core it is a sort of weaving experience, filled with colorful strands you must untangle. Each strand is connected to a circular piece that you are allowed to touch and thus drag anywhere on the screen. Eventually you must make it so that no strand is touching another or crossing another’s path. This may sound simple, but sit down and try to work out each puzzle as fast as you can without failing.  It certainly is no walk in the park.

The game aids you in finding the correct solution for each puzzle. Once you’ve gotten a thread in the clear, the circular hub attached to it will turn green, indicating that you’re on the right track. However, just like sliding puzzles, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re done with that thread. You’ll need to continue making adjustments and compromises until you can successfully separate each and every strand. Sure, completing the first few puzzles might become simpler and simpler as you begin to really “understand” what’s going on, but try to solve some of the later levels within the 50 that are presented and tell me it wasn’t the least bit difficult.

The beauty of The Plateau is that you can complete the game several times over and never really see all it has to offer. While there are 100 different challenge and arcade puzzles to solve, none are ever the same due to the special manner in which the puzzles are crafted, and even if they were the same, would you really remember how to solve them again, piece by piece?

If this cosmic puzzle-solving isn’t enough for you, The Plateau presents each challenge with powerful synth-tunes as well as beautiful landscapes behind each set of threads – luscious spacescapes that you’ll delight in viewing as they pass. Each of these elements align perfectly like the stars above to present a decidedly ethereal puzzler experience that should be shared by many.  The developer has even released a Facebook version to get you hooked, and at 99 cents, how can you possibly say no? It’s much cheaper (and a lot more fun) than knotting your own threads. Go ahead and take a chance on one of the iPhone/iPod Touch’s most sumptuous bargains; I guarantee you won’t be able to put it down once it’s got you hooked.

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