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Circles Review

Circles Review

Circles is a game about circles. Indulge me in the simplicity of that sentence for a moment because it encapsulates a lot of what this game is: simple, clean, efficient. The work of Jeroen Wimmers, Circles defines itself as a casual indie game about movement, puzzles and pattern recognition. The game is almost entirely without dialogue or instruction, and relies on the player’s intuition and logic skills to help them progress.

Circles is controlled entirely through moving the mouse. No clicking or button-pressing is necessary. The player has to navigate their small circle around puzzle levels, trying not to touch other shapes in their way. These obstacles will twist, distort, shrink or expand depending on the movement of your cursor. There is a surprisingly large amount of variation - based on direction, speed and motion - with which you can navigate Circles four major sections.

Should you fail, the game will allow you to restart the level, replacing your cursor at the start point. It will also invert the level’s design and allow the player to test a variety of approaches without consequence. This way you can make a few practice runs before attempting the level again proper. Despite not being overly difficult, Circles has a number of levels that will cause you to pause and think a little. Solving a particularly challenging level creates a genuine sense of satisfaction, helped in no small part by the game’s minimalist design.

There is something striking about Circles’ graphics and art direction. A bold use of colours and pleasing symbolism means that the screen never feels crowded, even when playing more complex puzzles. Levels won’t start moving until the player does, meaning that there is plenty of scope for orientation and experimentation. The player isn’t burdened with a time limit, either - they can spend a few minutes or more inspecting every section of a puzzle if they so wish. All of this is accompanied by a smooth and relaxing soundtrack that creates an atmosphere of introspection and thought.

The game includes four sections split into around 15 to 20 stages and Circles only major drawback is its tragically small size and playtime. A clever gamer could probably fly through it in just over an hour and a half. Doing so would be an injustice, as the game (if you’ll allow me to be pretentious for a moment) is more of an experience than a strict win-or-lose game.

Circles chucks in just enough variety that the levels never become monotonous - there is always a twist in one way or another after each set of challenges. From guiding the cursor through a pulsating maze to trying to fire it through a gate that only closes when you move slowly, there is plenty of diversity on offer to keep players on their toes.

In an industry that likes to hold the player’s hand at every opportunity, telling them when and where to press certain buttons and use certain skills, a game not treating you like an idiot is a breath of fresh air. Some may want a little more from Circles, but the game has set out to accomplish a certain style and it does so with aplomb.

7.50/10 7½

Circles (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

In an industry that likes to hold the player’s hand at every opportunity, telling them when and where to press certain buttons and use certain skills, a game not treating you like an idiot is a breath of fresh air. Some may want a little more from Circles, but the game has set out to accomplish a certain style and it does so with aplomb.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Alex Hamilton

Alex Hamilton

Senior Staff Writer

Financial journalist by trade, GameGrin writer by choice. Writing skills the result of one million monkeys with one million typewriters.

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