July 11, 2014 9:18 PM | Lena LeRay
Jon Reid's Love Connection, which started as one of the top ten games overall in Ludum Dare 26 (Minimalism), asks players to help Mr. Yellow find his wife in the park. He must get to the endpoint in each level without his path crossing the paths of any other pairs of lovers in the park. The story that ties the puzzles together is charming, written on the screen but also read aloud like a picture book. And although the graphics don't change much from level to level, small touches like the umbrellas pictured above switch things up a little and keep the game feeling fresh as the player moves along.
The simple but lovely aesthetics and the fact that many of the puzzles have multiple possible solutions make the game suitable for all ages and skill levels. There's no pressure to complete a puzzle in a certain amount of time and the player can restart a puzzle at will. From the menu, they can also choose any puzzle they've already unlocked, each of which is called a "page" in a "chapter" of the game. Those names are small details that help unify the gameplay with the storybook feel, one example of the attention to detail which gives Love Connection a sense of polish.
Love Connection is a universal iOS app and its touch controls are simple and easy to use. Tap and hold on a colored square and drag to extend the path. When the game was first released, it was iPhone only and the controls weren't that great on such a small screen, but a new version was uploaded last week which both added iPad support and drastically improved the controls to make the game easy to play even on the smaller iPhone. The interface is quite elegant, with obvious indicators for when, where, and why to swipe. Tilting the device brings up the menu, which is where the setting that turns on patterns for the colored tiles is found.
You can get Love Connection on the app store for $0.99.