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Sold as a ‘minimalist jigsaw puzzle’, Puzzletronics: Digital Infinite very much does as it says on the tin. But not content with just allowing you to swap pieces in and out to create beauty, aligning mazes of lines, it tries to do more, infusing circuitry and digital logic for good measure; lines, buttons, gates, doors and more. These then all come together to provide power to a single LED, signalling the end of each level and a move onto the next.
Whilst Puzzletronics pretty much nails what is required of a minimalist jigsaw, I’m not sure the circuitry complexities are really needed. Very rarely do they seem to influence the end goal.
Content to price ratio is high with this one, with a mere £3.29 price tag giving you access to no less than 135 levels. Some of these are super simple affairs, completable in a matter of seconds as you connect up a button, a simple line and a light-emitting diode. The lengthier, more complex, latter stages will stretch to minutes-long puzzles; making the most of gates, inverted signals, double inputs and split outputs.
Never does Puzzletronics: Digital Infinite get difficult though – if you can move some tiles, line up lines and understand input and output paths, you’re pretty much good to go, fully completing everything it can provide in a few hours at most.
It must be said that there’s not much to Puzzletronics. Picking up a tile with the A button, swapping it with another and ensuring that you line things up in a simple manner is pretty much the entirety of the game. It’s delivered in the most minimal of ways too – white backgrounds, black lines and red detail popping in every now and then via button pushes and the powering of LEDs. An isometric viewpoint helps bring some style to your time, yet it is that which adds in some occasionally frustrating controls – navigating on the angle is always a concern; more so as you try and utilise the D-Pad to move around.
The initial simplicity belies the elements that hold it together. Early stages will see you given a single power button, a line and then an LED. Connecting things up and providing power is all that is necessary. But it fast gets more complex, as Puzzletronics adds in NOT gates which invert the power signals, OR and AND gates that throw in logical disjunction and conjunction, and V NOR which begins to split signals.
It gets further complex with NOT-AND, XOR and XNOR options, as levels start to sprawl, get larger and add in multiple sources of power. As you’d suspect, the requirements for completion begin to tax; albeit not a lot. This isn’t really a game in which you’ll ever be desperate for a guiding hand or YouTube video.
It’s those digital logic calls that could – and probably will – put many off giving Puzzletronics a shot. But honestly, it’s rare that you’ll ever care what one gate does to the next, intent on just lining up on the elements you have and then randomly switching on and off the power, hoping that your LED goal will shine bright.
In fact, you’ll make it to the end of everything Puzzletronics can throw at you with little consideration of the background elements at all, especially as you fly through the stages in a mindless blur.
See, no matter how large the stages in Puzzletronics, it doesn’t take long for you to work out that there are only so many places that specific tiles – and their integrated elements – can sit. Left and right pathways mean that certain elements have to sit next to one another, whilst corner pieces help navigate any external angles.
In that respect, it’s where the jigsaw puzzle side of Puzzletronics comes in, slowly and surely unearthing the required placement for each and every tile. Rarely will you need to move any pieces either, especially if you work in a logical manner; left to right, up and down, or, as we’ve found best works, perhaps working out from the concluding LED tile back to the source.
It’s all very straightforward and you’ll discover that as the pings of your Xbox achievements and Gamerscore arrive, the end of Puzzletronics fast comes into view. And then you’ll delete it from your hard drive, safe in the knowledge that you’ve spent the equivalent of a quid an hour for some fairly relaxing gameplay.
It all means that Puzzletronics: Digital Infinite is a hard one to recommend, even for the silly low asking price. It’s three hours of mindless jigsaw puzzling, aligning tiles in hope of lighting an LED. The digital logic elements fast blur away as you focus on manoeuvring tiles into their relevant spots, wasting little time before moving on to the next. If it’s Xbox Gamerscore you are after, this is an easy-to-handle, super-cheap option. Don’t expect to be playing it for more than an evening though.
Puzzletronics: Digital Infinite is available from the Xbox Store