Entangle is a puzzle game by Australian developer Blake Garner. It is currently Greenlit on Steam and is slated for a mid-late February release. The goal is to pull long coloured game pieces around pre-defined tracks in order to touch the goal point for each one. Each piece can only travel along tracks of the same colour, along with some special colour-changing and non-coloured track segments. The core challenge is that the tracks are arranged so that pieces block each other unless moved in the right sequence, leading to puzzles that start simple…
…and quickly progress in complexity.
A core component of the puzzles is two types of special track segments. The first type can have its colour changed by the player, generally cycling through all four colours though sometimes only a select two or three. The second special track segment is white track on which any colour piece can move and which can be rotated to connect to different nearby tracks. Both of these can be seen in the second screenshot above. In addition there are locked barriers that the pieces cannot pass through, requiring a different piece to touch a key placed along their track in order to unlock.
There are 50 levels in the game and at the time of writing I have completed 30 of them. The pacing has felt good, with new mechanics and sequences of movement introduced slowly enough to avoid becoming overwhelming but quickly enough to avoid boredom. Some levels do give an initial moment of “where do I even start”, but generally a few seconds of logically working through what’s needed (“I need to open that lock before I can move that piece, so how do I reach the key?”, etc) gives a good idea of the first few moves.
The straightforward graphics are a good decision for games of this type in my opinion, focusing the player on their task with minimal distractions. The graphics are something that are easy to overdo. This is particularly the case for AAA developers that have to justify their much higher production costs by pushing the visual impact, but can also be a problem for indie developers who feel they have to compete in that regard. The graphical style in Entangle combined with the dragging type interaction makes me feel that it would carry over well to mobile platforms and particularly for tablet sized devices.
The game only has one background music track. However, the track loops cleanly and isn’t distracting and so I wouldn’t count the lack of variety as a negative. This is a type of game where you are more focused on solving the puzzle than listening to the music.
Issues and suggestions
In terms of problems with the game, I don’t really have much to say. It launched without issues and the simple menu meant I was straight into playing. I was occasionally annoyed by the game not letting me continue pulling a piece if my pointer deviated too far from the track, but the developer has said they are already looking into increasing the tolerances for that a little. The 50 levels provided by the game may seem a little low depending on how you play, either casually when you have a minute here and there or aiming for completion in one session, so it will be interesting to see whether the developer intends to expand this over time.
I would also be interested in seeing support for user-created levels and perhaps some kind of guidance for players in terms of the minimum number of moves (counting track “ticks”) that a puzzle can be completed in, though those are a bonus rather than a requirement.
Overall, Entangle is a fun puzzle game that you can pick up and play at any time. Just beware of the “just one more puzzle” syndrome that these types of game inevitably provoke, otherwise the 50 levels might not last long.
Disclosure: I was provided with a free copy of the beta version of the game for the purpose of providing feedback to the developer. I was not given any additional incentive to write this article nor any restrictions on what I could discuss.