We analyze Active Neurons 3, a fairly ingenious puzzle game created by Nikolai Usachev and distributed by the publisher USANIK STD
Sometimes between such a long and frenetic game, you need a middle ground to distract yourself and clear your mind. While the game we came to analyze today isn’t exactly about leaving the mind blank, it does a good function as a neural exercise. Active neurons 3 is the third installment of this saga of puzzle games created by the independent developer Nikolai Usachev. A title with a minimalist design and some quite ingenious puzzles with which to spend a few hours to “give the coconut”.
Let’s move these neurons a little
The premise of Active neurons 3 It reminds me a bit of those sliding square puzzles that became popular in the 90s. We’ll have to move a square piece around the stage until we place it at the assigned point as our goal. The part that we will need to move will do so in a constant horizontal or vertical direction until it meets an obstacle. In this way, we will have to calculate the necessary movements according to the design of each scenario to be able to overcome their levels.
As we progress through the game and overcome its phases, new playable mechanics will be introduced that will add more difficulty levels to the challenge.. We will find pieces against which if we collide we will have to restart the game, portals that will lead us to another point on the map, buttons that will move certain pieces of the scene or even a piece that moves symmetrically with us with which we won’t be able to collide if we don’t want to restart the level. These are just a few of the many ideas that will be incorporated phase by phase. In this regard, the game is not very repetitive and each level tends to give a different twist to the difficulty.
The only part that squeaked at me, mechanically speaking, was the possibility to show the solution of each puzzle. An option which in my opinion shows little confidence in the design of the phases which I also did not find extremely difficult. It’s a resource that appears at the start of each of the puzzles and can be used as many times as we want. Something I have seen reflected in the high percentage of getting their accomplishments.
Brain, cerebellum and hypothalamus
The structure of the puzzles Active neurons 3 I also found this remarkable. Every ten phases completed, we will reveal one of the wonders of the world. Something unrelated to the level design or its artistic conception. The title is divided into two main blocks: The 7 Wonders of the World and the New 7 Wonders of the World. Although this is not a nuisance, it seems like a missed opportunity to have a little more refinement in the interface of the game. To unlock each wonder we will have to overcome 10 phases which in turn will complete a brain map, completely independent concepts. After overcoming each “world” consisting of 10 levels, we will see an illustration of the wonder in question, although we will not be able to enjoy it in a gallery either.
Regarding the difficulty curve, Active neurons 3 it’s quite rewarding. Its first few levels are pretty intuitive and that gets us hooked as its difficulty increases. From the middle of the game, with the addition of various playable mechanics, the difficulty of your puzzles starts to get tough. We will also have a button available to undo as many moves as we want. As the key to the show solution, its use is limitless and in my opinion it makes the reward feeling a little dirty when you manage to overcome a complicated puzzle. You can always avoid using these tools, but having them there from the first minute makes it too tempting an option.
Finally, highlight its artistic section, geometric figures with a minimalist touch and understated effects. After completing each phase, we will see an explosion and camera shake not suitable for photosensitive people. In fact, when starting the game, it issues a warning for users with epilepsy or other similar conditions due to the contrast of dark and bright colors. Active Neurons 3’s soundtrack is made up of relaxing tracks that help us focus, and its sound effects are quite understated.
Final conclusions of active neurons 3
In general I have found Active neurons 3 a game with more lights than shadows. I really liked the design of his puzzles and found it addicting. The difficulty curve also seems well measured to me and brings additional difficulty as we progress. On the other hand, I didn’t like the design decision to be able to solve the puzzles at any time or have unlimited use when canceling moves. The structure in which the levels are grouped also struck me as futile and irrelevant. Although they do not interfere with the gameplay directly. If you are in love with the genre, I recommend you give a chance to a title that costs only 5 $ and with which you will spend a few hours exercising your mind.
Active Neurons 3 – Wonders of the World
- Ingenious puzzle design
- Difficulty curve well implemented
- Sleek minimalist design and relaxing music
- Very little used phase structure
- Solution button blurs your design