A balanced opinion
In amongst the Switch’s swathes of eShop releases, we’ve found classics, we’ve found duds, and we’ve found a load of great puzzlers, most of which manage to find a unique charm which sets them apart from the rest.
Energy Balance fits into the budget puzzler category, and in it we don’t waste any time with getting into the action. So that would be the best course of action to take with this review.
The game involves a number of rows and columns, most of which will have a set of two numbers at the end of them. The first of these numbers is the total of all the figures in that row or column, while the other will be a target number. It’s your job to swap tiles all across the board to ensure every single row and column totals up perfectly to what it’s supposed to be. Things aren’t overcomplicated in terms of the ease of moving tiles – you can swap any two tiles on the board, no matter if they’re next to each other or not. That doesn’t mean the actual execution is easy in any way at all, though.
It really is the Su Doku from hell. It’s a game for maths boffins, as not only do you need to be a dab hand with knowing your sums, including both addition and subtraction, while you’re adding multiple numbers together, you’ve also got to do another long addition sum at the same time, as you need to factor in the second piece which you’re switching into another equation of its own. It really is all about frantic maths, and that’s the level of skill you need to master to be any good at this game.
You’ll find yourself picking a line, coming up with a solution for it, and then moving onto the next. Then, repeat the process until there’s only one left. But what’s this? It turns out that none of the tiles you have left will get you anywhere near close to the final total of four that you need to find. So what are you going to do? Maybe switch this +2 for this -5? Oh wait, you can’t do that as that would mess up another line. You need to leave as little to guess work as you can possibly manage, because there’s so many sums going on at the same time here that you’ll find yourself stuck in a corner from which you’ll probably need to restart the puzzle over in order to have another go from scratch to save yourself the anguish of tinkering with your already-completed fine work.
There’s a little bit of a loose story element to keep things ticking along, featuring an amusing cat, Meowie, who speaks mainly in puzzled emotions, but the art design in these sections really is lovely. Basically, the story loosely is that a space traveller is looking to repair their ship through the solving of all of the puzzles. The sound is a little unusual at times – faint voices are a bit disorientating, but I like it, as it has that eShop uniqueness to it.
At only £2.99, it is incredible value, and let’s be honest, at that price any serious collector should be picking up the game, no questions asked.
Energy Balance offers simple yet challenging puzzling. Whether you’ll enjoy it or not depends wholly on if you get any satisfaction from solving tough mathematical challenges – if that’s your bag, then at £2.99, why haven’t you got it already?