Reviewed On: PC
Review code supplied free of charge by the publisher.
At this point I’ve watched the intro several times and can say with complete confidence that I have no idea what is going in Imprint-X. There’s something about a spaceship and people in stasis and some nonsense about VR headsets, and then suddenly you’re playing a strange puzzle game obsessed with buttons. No, story is not this game’s strength. Quit the opposite, really. So I cheated and just read the game’s description on Steam which revealed that little nano bots called Wardens are enslaving people and you’ll be playing as a hacker clone who must save people by hacking into infected brains and defeating the Wardens by….pressing buttons. Some 700 of them, apparently. Christ.
Once you get into the game proper and you’ve stopped trying to figure out what that intro cutscene was about you’re greeted with a rather interesting puzzle game that even tosses in some reflex-based sections for good measure. And yes, there are indeed a considerable number of buttons waiting to be clicked. I didn’t count them, though. I trust the developers when they say there is 700 buttons.
Things begin simply enough; you click some buttons and the level is complete. The new things get introduced, like clicking them in a certain sequence or fast enough or even matching up symbols in a weird version of Pairs. Of course things do get more challenging as you play, bringing in more and more concepts like reaction sequences where you have to wait for cubes swirling around in enchanting geometric shapes to line up with squares, or symbols that you need to memorize before inputting the sequence. Others level will have you turning shapes or passing a cube around.
You can’t just go around clicking on everything, though, as the game gives you a limited amount of clicks in which to solve the puzzle before you have to restart the whole thing. Doing things successfully means getting clicks back, however. In other words, efficiency is key, although you do obviously have some leeway. A few power-ups help along the way by doing things like refilling the amount of clicks you’ve got left or even stopping the clock, something which is only handy in certain situations.
To call it a puzzle game feels somewhat off the mark, because only some levels require real logical reasoning, while others are about reflexes or just following patterns or in some cases simply hammering away at a button to fill a bar. There are also some sections where trial and error must be used to figure out what the game actually wants of you, too, which in turn causes failures that don’t feel fair. Thankfully these aren’t overly common.
You might not even notice them thanks to the strangely hypnotic visuals and music. Levels have backgrounds containing bright colors that pulsate with the rhythmic techno music which helps lulls you into a trance. The art isn’t universally great; the characters you see in the menus and intro look rather ugly, if I’m honest, although obviously art style is hugely subjective.
But kudos have to be given for the unique style and interesting premise of the game as a whole. I don’t think I’ve every played a game like Imprint-X, and while buttons may not exactly seem exciting they are bafflingly compelling and the developers manage to build some good ideas around them. It’s just a shame that the quality of the puzzles is inconsistent. For every cool level there’s one that requires very little thought.
This has to be one of the shortest reviews I’ve ever written but really there is not much to say about Imprint-X. It’s a simple game and there’s very little reason for me to explain in detail the different types of level it tosses at you. That brings us to the conclusion. if you’re seeking a challenging puzzler look elsewhere; Imprint-X’s levels don’t challenge the ‘ol brain too much and you’ll blitz through to the ending in perhaps 2-hours. That’s how long I took, although there was a reasonable chunk of content leftover, so you’ll probably get three to four hours out of the whole thing. With that said it’s very simple nature, music and visuals do make it a strangely relaxing game and so it just might appeal to you if you aren’t looking for anything too taxing.