It’s been hard for me to pick up my PS Vita as of late, because the only games that release on the console usually appear to be yet more JRPGs. I think there’s enough of those things on the handheld! How about we have something of a different genre for a change? Well, Energy Cycle dropped in to rectify this conundrum. So let’s have a look at that, shall we?

Graphics

I wasn’t expecting a puzzle game to blow me away with its visuals, but Energy Cycle‘s graphics are kind of underwhelming even on that end. They are just about entirely composed of glowing gemstones and a swirling black background. The static menu interface doesn’t make the presentation look any prettier.

Audio

The dull scenery is complemented by a soundtrack filled with considerably random selections for a game like this. The music conveys a very surreal, almost horror-like tone. What this has to do with puzzle games about colored gems is beyond me. There aren’t any sound effects in the game. Not even a victory jingle.

Gameplay

Energy Cycle is a puzzle game where the player must change the color of the gems onscreen so every single gem is the same color. The catch is that the entire row changes with the one the player picks. Gems sit in horizontal rows, vertical rows, and even both simultaneously.

The result is a surprisingly enjoyable puzzler that has a genuine addictive quality. There is a satisfying difficulty curve as well, albeit the game isn’t without its stumpers (Levels 23 and 26 were pure agony for me). If you’ve picked up on its color mechanic quickly and efficiently enough, however, you could probably breeze through the game within an hour. At 28 puzzles, there’s only so much the game could offer. There are other modes modes such as Time Attack and Infinite Play that provide bite-sized gratifications, but it wasn’t long before I found a game-breaking “puzzle” in the latter that couldn’t be solved.

Verdict

Beneath the dodgy exterior is a satisfying little puzzle game that’s worth killing time with. It has some glaring flaws, but the good outweighs the bad when it comes to the actual gameplay. What I will say, though, is that some polish and a solid presentation can make it come a long way from what it’s currently like.