Circadia for iPhone and iPad
Circadia is the very picture of minimalism—just straightforward mechanics, no bells and whistles. Actually, maybe just bells. But no whistles.
Each level is a new arrangement of colored dots worthy of a modern art exhibit. Tapping on a dot sounds a tone and releases a circular ripple, with lower tones signifying slower ripples. Get those ripples to line up over a white dot to proceed to the next level.
The interface is beautifully simple and intuitive. The game’s equally functional on both iPhone and iPad, and it remembers your progress if you switch between devices. And when it works, Circadia is one of the most relaxing and satisfying puzzle games you’ll ever play. For a while, you’ll coast through level after level, touching dots with perfect timing, releasing pleasant chimes marking your success.
When it doesn’t work, however, Circadia grinds to a halt, utterly ruining any sense that you have control over the game at all. When you’re lining up three colors, patience and a good ear will see you through eventually, but it may take a while. On higher levels, when your targets begin to move, the game may feel like it comes down to random chance rather than actual skill.
Fans of puzzlers with a good ear and a great sense of timing will find this $1 app from Simple Machine to be a nice chill-out game. For players with less patience, however, the novelty is likely to wear off fast.
[Jason Tocci is a writer based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.]