Induction Review (Switch) – Time Bending, Brain Breaking
A minimalistic puzzle game about creating paradoxes, Induction is as good today as it was in 2017. The Finger Guns Review.
I first got my hands on Induction in 2015 at EGX Rezzed. Of all the games that I played during that weekend, it was one of my favourites. The minimalistic art style and thought provoking puzzles really struck a chord with me. It also helped that the version I played was on the PSVita which, at the time, was looking for its next indie hit. I was convinced that Induction would do immensely well on a portable games console. Of course, plans changed and the PSVita version of this game never made it to release. Instead, Induction launched on PC via Steam in 2017. I reviewed the game on a now-long-dead website and gave it an 8/10 while lamenting the fact that it had not launched on consoles.
3 years later and Induction is back for another bite of the cherry on the Nintendo Switch. It’s as inventive as it was 4 years ago, despite the fact that others have aped the concept, and feels right at home on the Nintendo handheld.
The aim of Induction is to move a block from its starting position to a target location. The block will flip over in whatever direction the player instructs it too and can roll up ledges that are the same size as it. In each of the game’s 50+ levels, there are missing bridges, switches, fragile bridges that will fall away once touched by the block, pushable blocks and more to overcome.
The twist with Induction is that all of the levels in the game are impossible to do with just one cube. Whether it’s pushing a block over a bridge which falls away, preventing a return trip, or switches which remove a path forward once they’re activated, opening up a different avenue, the whole game is created with a dependency for more than 1 cube. This is where the paradoxical aspect of Induction comes in. From the very second a level begins, the cube’s movements are being recorded. Every roll, every switch press and every second of inactivity is noted. When you press the A button, this recording of your previous self, navigating the previously untouched version of the level, is played out from its start until the moment you press the button.
Using the previous versions of yourself, you’ll have to overcome the obstacles standing between you and the end point. This starts off easy enough; you’ll be using the previous version of yourself to stand on switches to create bridges so that the present version of the block can cross a gap. Later, you’ll be using a previous version of yourself to ensure blocks don’t get stuck flush against ledges. There’s some masterful game design implemented here, pushing the player to really think about what they’re doing and how they’re building on the present’s dependence on the past and, eventually, the past’s dependence on the future. While you’re doing so, you’ve got to ensure you don’t end up upsetting the previous cubes route. Do so and you’ll have to restart the puzzle and figure out where you’ve gone wrong.
There is an element of trial and error to Induction. It’s unlikely you’ll ever solve a puzzle at the first chance of asking. Royally mess up and with a tap of Y, you can restart the whole puzzle again instantly. You can also rewind and fast forward through the game with the shoulder buttons. There’s so many little moments in this game when a single square of movement in the wrong direction can mean that any meticulously planned path up to that point is ruined. You’re free to rewind those mistakes as many times as you want. There’s no penalty for rewinding.
The difficulty curve of this game is well structured. There’s a main line path through the levels with the occasional optional diversion should you want an additional challenge. Induction doesn’t dwell or overuse puzzle solutions but those that it does recycle are first introduced in a relatively simple level before being included in something more challenging. There is the occasional difficulty spike but they’re not insurmountable. Saying that, I do think most of Induction can be called “challenging”. It’s deeply satisfying once you crack them and this game is packed with gratifying “eureka” moments.
The most frustrating aspect of Induction is that if you do get stuck – and if you’re coming to this game for the first time, you likely will get stuck at least once – that you’ll be stuck on that puzzle until you clear it. There’s only ever one puzzle in the main path of puzzles to solve and if you get hung up on it, you’ll likely pull a little hair out (if you don’t consult a guide) before finally finding the solution.
The ambience of Induction is very chilled. The art style, using bold colours and plane symmetrical objects, is really pleasing on the eye and makes the game very easy to read. I liked the look of this game on a PC monitor but it really pops on the Nintendo Switch screen. The soundtrack aids in building up a relaxed feeling to play; long synth notes as background music are joined by dainty blips as the block moves. This aesthetic won’t be to everyone’s tastes but if you like clean visuals, Induction will be like ASMR for your eyes.
A challenging yet deeply satisfying puzzle game that’s about creating time bending paradoxes, Induction has finally made its way to consoles. If you’re up for a challenge, this title will test your grey matter more than anything else on the Nintendo Switch.
Induction is available now on Nintendo Switch (review version) and PC.
Developer: Bryan Gale
Publisher: Bryan Gale
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.
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