Ichi shouldn’t be that hard. I’ve repeated that sentence in my head so often it sounds like my new mantra. This clever one-button puzzle game is deceptively simple. Or, I’m suddenly very bad at puzzle games. Maybe both. But either way, Ichi is hard, and it is good.
The concept is simple enough – get a “ball” to pass through every circle in the puzzle. When the ball passes through the last circle, the level ends. The one-button the player has to worry about is a button that rotates the triangle blocks that the ball bounces off of to reach its destination. You tap the screen to rotate the triangle as the ball bounces all over and hope that you don’t bounce into a jagged edge of the wall or into an abyss. The player is then scored on the amount of taps it took them to complete the level. See, it’s easy! Except, it’s not.
The puzzles are designed to appear rudimentary, like outlines of a full-game that was never created. It’s reminiscent of how the first Ragdoll Blaster game looked, like someone drew up concept art and decided to turn that into an app. But that’s a smoke screen for a game where one wrong tap will cause you to start the level over from scratch. And it all happens so fast, like you’re creating a Rube Goldberg device on the fly.
If you somehow manage to make it through the game’s 50 pre-made levels, you can go into a store and download user-created levels to see what other fans have drawn up. You can also create levels yourself, right in the app. Ichi’s ultra-simple design makes it perfect for user creations.
Whether you want a puzzle game you can jump in and out of quickly, or just want a strenuous challenge in bite-sized pieces, Ichi is worth taking a look at. It’s not for everyone, and may frustrate gamers looking for a bit of a lighter experience, but it’ll be just the right experience for a certain sort of gamer.