Ichi is a prime example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. While this one button puzzle game looks simplistic and easy, looks can be deceiving. While Ichi only has one button and gameplay is rather simplistic, it still managed to keep my brain working just as any other puzzle title would, if not more so.
As I said before, Ichi is a one button puzzle game that has you bouncing a ball around, and collecting other balls in order to advance to the next stage. In order to do this, you have to manipulate little tilted platforms which bounce your ball around the stage. By clicking the mouse pad or your screen, you can make wedges turn or disappear, or you can create lines which you can bounce off. Using all these methods, you complete puzzles, and (hopefully) get top ranked scores.
Ichi makes the most out of very simple design. This is one of the biggest challenges with making a good puzzle game, and Ichi does a decent job of doing so. While I’ll admit that Ichi is by no means the best puzzle game to ever reach the PC or iOS system, it wasn’t boring. Each level counts your moves, and your letter grade on each stage is derived by how many clicks you use. Through the first 20 or so stages, getting an A is easy, but after that the difficulty curve climbs quickly. Levels start to take more thinking to complete, and then I stopped getting A’s and B’s on every level (granted, I probably could have tried a little harder to get said scores). Then, all of a sudden, the game got extremely dull and boring. After beating about 35 or so levels, the game really loses any pizzaz that it racked up through the game. Everything just becomes dull, and while mentally challenging, I found myself thinking “I already did this for the past 35 levels, I don’t want to do it anymore.” Over the long haul, Ichi does not stand up to the best puzzle games that are out there.
Other than gameplay, Ichi really doesn’t have much else to talk about. The graphics were cartoony, and while I didn’t really like them that much, they fit the type of game play that Ichi goes for. The music wasn’t half bad either, though it was repetitive to the point that I ended up turning off and supplying my own soundtrack. The level editor didn’t really give the game any more “oomph”, either. Usually, a level editor creates a great opportunity for a player to interact with the online community, and have more fun with the game itself, but Ichi’s fell flat. Ichi’s levels alone just weren’t fun enough to warrant me wanting to make more levels. With Portal 2, a level editor is necessary because there are so many possibilities with gameplay. Ichi lacks that, so even if you could create your own levels, you don’t even want to.With a game like Ichi, you have to include something to keep the gamer interested throughout the game, and by the end I was sadly disappointed.
While Ichi falls short of more accomplished puzzle titles such as Warp or Puddle, it is a pretty good game. The beginning of Ichi was fun and engaging, but it failed to keep me interested throughout the entire game. I thought, for a moment, that I was going to get interested again when I booted up the custom level editor, but then I realized that it wasn’t enough to really bring back my opinion of the title. Ichi felt like a mobile game, which, it is, but is also being released for PC/Mac. Even though you can pay what you want to get Ichi, I think that they should have ditched development on Mac and PC platforms, and stuck to releasing it as a mobile title. Did I like Ichi? Sure. I wouldn’t be giving the game a 6.5 if I didn’t like it at all. Would I recommend that you pick up Ichi? Only if you are looking for a puzzle title to get you through doing your business, or those slow times at work.