It seems like Blue and Orange go hand in hand when it comes to puzzle games. This time, however, we see the lives of little blue and orange orbs as they traverse various mazes of death and attempt to escape the clutches of their designers. Maddening and not, there are no portals here, none whatsoever. Just two loveable orbs trying to make it out of the clutches of evil game designers. Time to put those orbs through their paces as you tackle a host of mazes and obstacle courses in an attempt at freedom. Get ready for more colorful puzzle madness in Binaries. Featuring no portals at all.
… There are some forms of portals in this game.
Binaries is simplistic in practise with easy to learn mechanics and objectives. Well, there’s only really one objective; get from point A to point B, which usually includes avoiding death traps and other obstacles on the way. Players will control both orbs at the same time with the use of the left analog stick which includes moving left to right and jumping. So it’s rather a perplexing challenge when you have to move two objects at the same time through complex and risk filled mazes and while doing so in the best time possible. It’s difficult, let alone if both orbs are traversing the same path, but when they’re separated, oh wow you’ll be ripping your hair out soon enough.
Saying that, however, there is a healthy sense of challenge for the most part, where players will engage their minds in lateral and cognitive thinking to succeed. It presents an engaging dynamic for a puzzle game to move both orbs at the same time, and with only one player. It can be rather tricky, yet the game, for the majority, is fair and the rewarding sensation is extremely satisfying.
I do wish that a co-op feature was in place as the game will break up the orbs within more complex mazes, making it very difficult to keep track on both objects. It creates a form of trial and error gameplay and, for many, this might be a little too much. It doesn’t help when the game decides to throw you into a level that is littered with dozens of turrets and spikes making it difficult for even a single orb’s progression. It’s understandable that one person will find it difficult to traverse two orbs through the more difficult mazes and, for me, there were some which I gave up on after so many attempts. Thankfully though, players will never be stuck on a single level as you can proceed through multiple paths on the level selection screen. So this helps players progress in a different route and they are able to come back whatever stage they were stuck on later.
There were some moments the game decided to freeze, which did not appear to be a frequent problem, yet it happened a couple of times. Even so, it can be unbelievably annoying as you may be almost through a difficult map and at the last moment when you need to make a jump it could freeze for a second and ruin your chances.
Binaries has a great sense of pacing as it introduces new elements, such as turrets and teleporters, to change the perspective of the map. These changes elevate the pacing of the game and above all breaks up any repetition that may arise. I preferred the smaller mazes with various death traps than the larger, more complex ones as these do become a slight annoyance after a while. While smaller maps can be frantic as hell yet so energetic and maddening, it’s just a pure rush to play them. Larger levels tend to feel bloated or long-winded.
A nice little touch are the extra options which players can turn on at any stage, such as making the game’s visuals become gray, thus increasing the game difficulty. Or players can just make things look a little more retro in aesthetics for some visual flare.
The soundtrack is fairly decent with a good mixture of electronic tones and beats that fit the mood of the game perfectly. It’s no Impossible Game yet the background music does a decent job at keeping you in the mood. There is also a strong sense of humor in the game with various texts popping onto the backdrops in an attempt to get under your skin. These moments did actually make me smile and many of the jokes fitted the tone well as they often reflected your own misfortunes and failures in a map. I did notice that some of the jokes were repeated or just sounded the same, making it a little tedious. But the game brings forth a huge selection of different maps with plenty of variant themes and styles to make sure you’re never bored of the aesthetics.
Binaries is a simple yet engaging puzzler with plenty of content to keep you busy and enough of a challenge to make you rip out your hair. Indeed, the game can be a little too troubling in difficulty and there’s not really much outside the main set of mazes. With no co-op feature as well, you may not feel the need or desire to complete certain mazes. Overall, the game is strong, and a great puzzler which is colorful, fast and fluent. There are a few issues, but Binaries is definitely worth checking out.
An Xbox One Review Code for Binaries was provided by Ant Workshop Ltd for the purpose of this review