Evo Explores is a recent release to the Windows Phone Store, clearly inspired by the eye-catching and award-winning puzzle game Monument Valley. Like its inspiration, Evo Explores presents you with a collection of mind-bending 3D puzzles to solve. It's like the art of M.C. Escher brought into a 3D digital realm.
The game has clean and vibrant graphics and the puzzles will challenge your sense of imagination and concept of dimensional relationships. In short, it defies physics and geometry. In playing Evo Explores over the past few days, the only drawback to the Windows Phone game may be the limited number of puzzles to tackle. Otherwise, like Monument Valley, it is a great puzzle game to spend a little time with.
The backstory for Evo Explores has you guiding the main character, Evo, through a series of puzzles as he explores the mysterious Byte planet. The puzzles are 3D structures that at first glance appear disconnected. However, you can manipulate the architecture of each structure to clear a path for Evo to reach the exit.
The main menu for Evo Explores is a little deceptive. It too is a puzzle of sorts with the various levels of the game spread across a structure that you will have to guide Evo up. To reach a more traditional menu just hit the pause button and options to access the game's settings, rate the game, view the credits and visit the developer's social media sites will appear. This hidden menu is a nice touch and adds to the game's clean appearance.
Each level on Evo Explores' main menu will contain multiple puzzles to solve. The first level will start you out with a few tutorial puzzles to get you used to the gaming mechanics. Even after you complete these first few levels, when a new gaming feature comes into play additional tutorials will appear to explain these features.
While solving Evo Explores' puzzles is challenging, describing the puzzles is a challenge in and of itself. The structures are in many ways an optical illusion that contains a path from the starting point to the exit point. However, the design has plenty of breaks, gaps, incomplete staircases and dead end paths that have to be made complete by shifting the structure or sections of the structure.
There will times that the solution is so simple it slaps you in the face and times where you have to tap into your imagination to find a solution. The goal is to guide Evo from the starting point to the exit and to move him along the puzzle, just tap where you need him to move.
You will also run into puzzles where you not only have to create a path to the exit but will also find Evo morph into a clone and have to create two paths. Often is the case where finding a solution for one Evo is dependent on the actions of the cloned Evo.
The mechanics of manipulating the puzzles' architecture include swinging sections of walkways, rotating the entire puzzle, raising columns, sending Evo to stand on a switch and more. I think the hardest solution to grasp is removing a gap in the walkway by hiding it with a column. It shouldn't work but as the game's description states, "…trust your eyes. If something looks real, it is real." If you cannot see the gap, it must not exist. And that is the crux of Evo Explores. As you turn and shift the puzzles in this game, new paths reveal themselves. But then you turn the whole structure 90 degrees and those paths are no longer connected.
There is no time limit to solving puzzles and scoring is pass/fail in nature. While you can replay a level of puzzles with Evo Explores, you can only advance if you complete all the puzzles within your current level.
A real head-scratcher of a puzzle game
If you are the mood for a Windows game that is full of beautiful, head-scratching puzzles you need to give Evo Explores a try. The graphics are clean and colorful, and to call them creative would be an understatement. The puzzle collection holds a nice range of difficulties from those where the solution is easy to pick up on to those that can be a little nerve-wracking.
I did not experience any glitches, bugs or stability issues in playing Evo Explores. The only criticism I might offer is that the game needs more puzzles. If my count is correct, the game includes 14 levels, each with about three or four puzzles to tackle. It will take you a while to complete the game, but once you do, you'll be wanting more.
The quick take on Evo Explores is that if you liked Monument Valley (or simply like puzzle games), you should like Evo Explores. The game is not an outright copy of Monument Valley, but rather is inspired by the game and represents it really well.
Evo Explores is free to try, and unlocking the full game will cost you $1.99 via in-app purchase or by inviting a friend to try the game. The game does support low-memory Windows Phone and a Windows PC version is coming soon to the Windows Store.