Game store shelves, virtual and physical, are filling up with derivative work; there’s no denying that fact. The sheer amount of games produces yearly, no- daily, assures that creating original games is not a task for the faint-hearted developer. Micron is a little late to be the first “music-puzzler”, but its entry into this relatively new genre allows it some breathing room to infuse some original concept; a neat gameplay mechanic or peripheral feature, perhaps. So does Micron succeed in drawing in players, or is it just a bland mess?
Well, it’s neither, actually.
“It’s a conundrum!”
Micron is a puzzle game, first and foremost. The central gameplay mechanics (guide object A to object B by manipulating object C) are certainly not the most unique in the world, but are still enjoyably familiar and easy to wrap your head around. Micron has a library of mini-levels that players can work through at their own pace, each presenting puzzles of varying difficulty, with a few new mechanics sprinkled in now and then for good measure.
The puzzles have occasional strange difficulty curves; some being easy, and some being a mildly irritating nuisance, but my playtime didn’t stop them from being enjoyable to solve, and the satisfaction from finding a solution made up for the brain-stretching.
At its most basic, it works just fine as a puzzle game, but obviously not content with stopping there, Micron tries to cram in a musical element to its presentation, probably in an attempt to differentiate the game from run-of-the-mill puzzlers.
“I’m puzzled…why is this part of the game?”
Each level has ambient music playing, some tunes jogging along lightheartedly, others tapping out in your eardrums at a rapid pace. The addition of music to a puzzler is not rare at all, but Micron doesn’t keep the music static: placement of directing beams and pinballs colliding with objects adds little musical embellishments to the backing track.
This mechanic might have been an excellent draw, had it been implemented on a deeper level, but as it stands, it’s only an aesthetic feature. You could remove the musical aspect of Micron, and the gameplay wouldn’t be affected in the slightest, which is a shame.
Once discovered as just another simple puzzle game, things continue going downhill for Micron. Throughout my playtime, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was playing the developer’s way. There are no alternate solutions to puzzles, and no stars to collect or high scores to achieve. So I continually felt as though I was being forced into playing the game a pre-determined way. I suppose a puzzle game having multiple solutions sort-of defeats the purpose, but I would have preferred to have felt more like a player and less like a bystander.
Micron is not a bad game. It controls well, has an excellent arcade-y style aesthetic and puts forth a techno soundtrack that is honey to the ears. However, it simply doesn’t offer anything new or intriguing, and what content is there doesn’t seem to amount to a whole lot. Those who want a puzzler to pore over in mini-sessions will enjoy it, but more than likely forget it after a while.
A free version is available for those who like to try before they buy.