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Portabliss: Interlocked (iOS)


This is Portabliss, a column about downloadable games that can be played on the go.

Interlocked isn't so much a puzzle game as it is a tranquility generator. It seats you on a plush antique couch with an invitingly thick fabric. In the corner, pleasant and unassuming melodies dance from the tinny speaker of an old radio. In your lap, an ornate wooden block full of interlocking parts sits, waiting to have its secrets laid bare.

No other extravagantly phrased scenario better encapsulates my direct feelings while playing Interlocked on my iPad. It's an unassuming puzzle experience where you manipulate an object and attempt to disassemble it in as few moves as possible. It's a methodical, yet serene puzzler, one that makes excellent use of the 3D space to pose some serious challenges when attempting to break down these blocks.

Gallery: Interlocked (iOS) | 5 Photos

Seriously, that's the game: you rotate this wooden object that has many other interlocking internal parts, and you go about figuring out the magical combination to break it all apart into individual pieces. As you progress, you unlock different chapters based around paper objects and eventually metal stuff.

You'd think the experience gets old after a while or that being able to rotate this complex block in a 3D space would mean the puzzles are easy, a simple act of diligent recon before the assault assuring victory – that's not the case at all. I found myself enslaved by Interlocked's challenge and simple-yet-serene soundtrack.

All the while as you attempt to break these blocks down, you've got this airy and uplifting melody to keep the tension down. It's a great accompaniment when you're completely stumped by a puzzle and have to resort to the caveman way of solving things, poking and prodding everything until you've discovered a lead.

As a $0.99 download, Interlocked is the kind of game that can appeal to everyone and leverages the technology in a positive way, though it would've been nice to be able to use the accelerometer to rotate the objects as opposed to touch. Sometimes the block doesn't want to twist the way you envisioned, so that's sometimes a pain.

Still, outside of that, each piece of Interlocked is a deceptively complex part that together make an unapologetically simple whole – though there are hardly simple solutions to these puzzles within.

This Portabliss is based on an iPad download of Interlocked, which is available as a universal app for both iPhone and iPad for $0.99.

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