When starting any video game, I go into the experience hoping for the best. You never want a game to be terrible. Unfortunately, Energy Cycle Edge is the type of game that leaves a horrible first impression. The problem is that it does nothing to change that opinion. Energy Cycle Edge is frustrating, annoying, and simply put, not fun at all.
The biggest issue is that studio Sometimes You, does not put a tutorial in the game. Sure, games like Dark Souls and the newly released Below lack tutorials, but that’s part of the charm. Energy Cycle Edge is a puzzle game without a sense of direction. Since this is technically a sequel, maybe the studio expected returning players to know the mechanics already. Unfortunately, for me, I never played the original.
The player’s goal is to turn all the lights on the board to the same color. Touching one orb will affect the others. Energy Cycle Edge is about trial and error. It asks players to keep experimenting with combinations until you correctly solve the puzzle. I knew the game would be difficult after it took me a long time to complete the first puzzle. That’s not because it’s too tough, but because of the lack of direction. If Sometimes You had the courtesy to let gamers know how to play properly, I don’t think there would have been an issue.
After the first few puzzles, new challenges present themselves. The goal is the same, but the puzzles are larger. You can rotate the grid with the left and right bumpers. Doing so will allow you to view the puzzles from a different angle. Some stages have multiple sides that must all be the same color, similar to the also challenging Rubicks Cube. The later levels are excruciatingly difficult because changing the color on one side of the puzzle also affects the other side.
Honestly, I didn’t finish all of the puzzles because they became too challenging. With a guide, they would be no problem, but where’s the fun in that? Energy Cycle Edge is a game that has a niche audience. There are those who enjoy this type of brain-teaser and will love to solve all 44 puzzles in the game. Unfortunately, that’s not me.
Energy Cycle Edge lost me from the opening moments and never gained my interested. The visuals are bland, the music is generic, and the gameplay isn’t fun. I hate to be so negative about the game because there is an audience that will appreciate it, but for the readers, I can’t recommend Energy Cycle Edge at all. If Sometimes You makes another sequel in the future, I hope that the studio makes it more accessible, and allows for a tutorial to ease the audience into what could be a worthwhile video game.
Andrew Gonzalez is the Co-Editor-In-Chief of Xbox Enthusiast. When not writing about Xbox, he’s usually reading comics, talking about Taylor Swift, and dreaming of the perfect Jet Force Gemini Reboot. You can follow him on Twitter. @AJGVulture89