Never thought I’d be writing about pop art, seeing how the focus of this site is after all… indie games, and not stuff usually found in a museum or gallery. Yet here we are, with a mobile puzzler from the team behind Spur (prototype coverage), about… pop art. Groovy.
The game contains a total of 24 art pieces, each of which is presented on a 4×4 grid, with certain tiles having gone missing. No one knows why, and I’m sure even fewer care to find out. Either way, while that (24 levels) may not sound like a lot, they are all playable in two different modes – let’s call them flow and Sudoku – making for a grand total of 48 brainteasers. Enough to keep you busy for a good bit.
“The interaction within P!I is as snappy and distinctive as the pop art genre itself”, says Karim Sempel, artist.
In flow, selected by holding down on a puzzle and swiping left, you get to ‘match’ colors, drawing a line from one to the other. A simple affair, made slightly trickier by the need to fill every last tile. After accomplishing both objectives, you’re treated to a funky picture of sorts, portraying whatever you just helped ‘uncover’ in a very colorful manner. You’ll see.
Sudoku, on the other hand, is inspired by the ancient number puzzle. Kinda. There are less tiles to work with here (since the 9×9 grid is replaced by a 4×4), and instead of numbers, you’ve got, well, colors. Other than that, the concept is rather similar, in that you’ll be swapping colors until each row – horizontal and vertical – has one of each, and no duplicates.
Now, were I to choose just one of the two, it’d be flow, no competition. Like Sudoku, it’s an easily recognizable classic, only… the puzzle aspect seems more refined somehow. Both are quite enjoyable, if a bit on the easy side, however, and the art piece for beating each puzzle is certainly a neat ‘prize’.
According to its creator, Pop! Ilumbo features a couple of alternative means by which even more content is unlocked, like using NFC and installing the game within 72 days. It seems that these are where the real challenge lies, as while I managed to complete the main 24 (48), this bunch were completely outside my skill range. Oh and the game is also able to “borrow art from other games installed on the device”, adding even more content. All that, in a 100% free Android game.