Amongst all the physics, match 3s and copy-cat puzzle games on the App Store, it’s always great to see that new ideas are still cropping up. Play Kalei from Chillingo and developers Load Complete is such an example that piqued my interest as soon as I saw the games description: “Looking through the lens of a kaleidoscope - find the point on the photograph that corresponds to the matching image.” This is not something I have come across before and yet sounds like a brilliant idea for a puzzle game.
The game is presented in a really nice light hearted fashion with the various themes pegged onto a washing line. A portly moustachioed chap is your tutor/grader and awards up to three stars per picture completed.
Once a theme has been selected you are shown the first picture in your challenge. This is then cropped to roughly half of the screen as the top half displays the two kaleidoscope images plus an egg timer to keep time. The left kaleidoscope image shows where your cursor is currently pointing and the right shows the target spot you need to find. As the timer begins, you then scroll your finger around the screen and try to find the exact spot to match the target. It’s not as easy as it sounds and in fact it kind of feels like trying to crack a safe fine tuning the kaleidoscope to match the exact spot. The trick is to find a key colour in amongst the patterns and take it from there. The kaleidoscope effect works brilliantly and does indeed make a terrific little puzzle game.
Each theme is split into 5 stages and there are loads of themes to choose from (although they need to be unlocked through winning stars). As an added bonus, owners of devices with a camera can also create their own themes from the camera roll or pictures that reside on your iPod. Thus if you want to move away from the child friendly food, pets and toys themes, you are free to create a theme featuring the hot girl from next door that you’ve somehow got pictures of on your iPhone.
A two player head to head mode is included. It’s perhaps more suited to an iPad rather than an iPhone though as you both search for the target on the same device at the same time. It works well though and is a nice feature to have included.
For a puzzle game offering something completely different to the usual suspects, then I’d highly recommend giving Play Kalei a go. Some spots can be really frustrating to find, but on the whole the challenge is good addictive fun.