Anyone who has met me knows that I can be quite obsessive. Especially when it comes to games. If I find a game that I like, I will play it and play it and play it - often for months on end. The game I have been obsessing over during the past few weeks is Electric Box 2. Sequel to the 2009 title, Electric Box 2 is a fiendish puzzle game where you have to complete the circuit from the power supply to the target. You do this by placing components at strategic places on the circuit board that forms the main area of the game.
It sounds incredibly geeky - and I suppose it is - but you don't need any expertise in electronics to enjoy this game. Indeed, in real life, I would not know a capacitor from a resistor, and yet I quickly got the hang of the game. This was in part because the game helpfully provides you with guidance not only during the early levels but also sometimes on later levels (especially if the rules change - play to find out what I mean!).
In addition, Electric Box 2 features a hint system. You get one hint per level, which can prove very valuable when you get really stuck but don’t want to give in and look at the walkthrough - oh yes, the game has a walkthrough. That's how helpful Electric Box 2 tries to be.
Given this attention to making the game accessible to anyone, it is no surprise that the developer - Twinkle Star Games - has put a lot of effort into making the interface as intuitive as possible, preventing what could have been quite a complicated game from becoming too overwhelming.
For example, although you have more than than 20 components to place on your circuit board, it is very easy to find out what each does simply by mousing over it. This will tell you its function, how it is used and how it can interact with other tools. This information proves very handy on the later levels when you have a lot more components at your disposal.
The game also comes with the obligatory reset level option - in case you mess up and need to start over - and the ability to turn off the music or sound. Generally, the music is soothing and pleasurable, but when you’ve been staring at the same puzzle for ages, anything can start to grate!
Of course, there are some frustrations too. Make no mistake, Electric Box 2 is hard. I had to resort to the walkthrough a few times. On some occasions, I was just impatient and would have figured it out eventually (honest!) but there was at least one time when the solution was so obscure that it bordered on the illogical. And for a game that's all about puzzles and logic, that's not good.
There were also a few times when I accidentally knocked a component out of the field of view, and it then disappeared completely. That could be connected to the fickleness of the trackpad on my laptop, but even so, it forced me to start some levels over just so I could get the component back. There were a few other occasional minor annoyances (not being able to close the tutorial if I activated it at the beginning, for example) but certainly nothing game-breaking.
It's obvious that I'm not the only one who has been won over by the game’s charms: there are loads of user-created levels available for you to play, some of which are sadistically difficult. So for those who can’t get enough of the game, you don't need to worry about running out of levels to play.