A fractal is ‘a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole.’  Says Wiki – I can’t explain anything even remotely maths related with out going into total brain meltdown. But that sounds pretty simple, right?! Well it’s not, it’s loads more complicated than that. The game, Fractal, requires you to  push pieces in straight lines across a grid into a specific shape in order to clear them from the board to score points. That sounds simple too. And it is… sort of.

The early campaign levels start you off gently. You’re given a set number of pushes. You use the right mouse button to push the hexagon shaped fractals until seven pieces, or more,  fit together to make a ‘Bloom’. The bloom then flashes, bursts outwards and and the pieces sweep across the board into your score bar. All the surrounding pieces get pushed along their straight lines, if they connect with other fractals and form more blooms your score will of course be higher and the bar will fill up more quickly. Once it’s full, you’re on to the next level.

At first, at least in campaign mode there’s very little thinking involved. There’s not all that much to understand. I’m pressing a button, the fractals are moving and I’m making blooms. The trancey music and audio responses to my actions are soothing, the grid is dotted with pleasantly coloured hexagons and the game is telling me I’m awesome and impressive. I’m not 100 percent sure what’s going on or how I’m making a 3-Bloom Cluster + 2x Single AfterBloom + Chain reaction + 2 Bloom AfterCluster, all I know is that playing Fractal is making me happy.

Even the addition of 2 colour mode isn’t enough to deter me from lazily tapping those lines into place, barely worrying about how many pushes I have left as along with the extra colours come power-ups such as ‘Explode’ or ‘Electrify’. Get one of these special pieces into a bloom and you’re gonna clear a huge chunk of the board, possibly the whole thing. It doesn’t stay clear, though, new pieces appear randomly and any that get shoved off the edge of the grid dissolve into nothingness. Beyond the edge of the grid the background is a charming, uncluttered green board, each level displaying different scribblings, doodles and the occasional gameplay tip.

It’s Puzzle or Arcade mode where the real challenge lies. The puzzles get pretty mind-bending quite early on and arcade mode requires speed and efficiency to progress or even make it past the first level. You simply cannot get away with wasting your pushes in these modes, every move and every second counts. It can get pretty intense and frustrating which is so different to the more sedate Campaign mode. Once past the earlier levels of campaign, when things get tricker and you find yourself nearing your last few pushes more and more often, the music slows down and the picture dims. A nice touch that makes a refreshing change from the last few moments of mad panic that many other games cause you to feel when on your last legs.







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