Circles is a very special game for me. Its idea came from nowhere two weeks ago and in one week the game was ready and submitted to the App Store. But don’t think that it is lame because it was developed so quickly. I consider Circles to be my best application so far. It combines a challenging puzzle with the beauty of simplicity.
First, it is a puzzle. The player sees three concentric rings divided to several sectors. Each cell is painted with a particular color and the goal is to combine colors in the way that every sector has only one color by rotating rings and sliding sectors. It seems very easy and intuitive. There must be a solution because the puzzle is generated by random shuffling of the goal layout using the same rules. All you need to do is to repeat the moves that computer has done. But the first time I tried to solve the first level (with just three sectors) myself, I spent about 20 minutes on pointless rotating and sliding without any success.
Then I managed to solve it but without understanding how I can repeat the solutions. It looked like a pure chance and magic. If I spent 20 min on the first level, I could just wonder how long it would take for me to solve the levels with 4, 5, and eventually with 11 sectors. I started the second level and then I started thinking and analyzing. And I quickly found a simple strategy that would allow me to solve any level easily.
Now the puzzle went to the next level itself. I can solve every level, but what’s the strategy to solve every level quickly? In this way, the game reminded me the classical “Minesweeper” puzzle and the countless hours I spent trying to beat the best time, to bring it to less than 100 seconds first and then to less than 80 seconds. Fortunately, Circles supports Game Center and we’ll see what the world records in each level will be.
Second, the design of the app is very simple. The main menu doesn’t have a word: it’s just a circle where you choose the level and a Settings button with an icon. The Settings themselves and the level are laconic as well. I like the result and I’m going to design my future apps in this style.
Acknowledgements: icons for all buttons were created with Font Awesome.
The first movement of the Beethoven’s Sonata No. 14 (Moonlight, 1801) – the mp3 file was downloaded from Classical Piano Midi Page (© Bernd Krueger).