Casual Monday: Linken

We know how it is. You worked hard for your 10:1 KDR, but sometimes, you just want to take five, relax, and enjoy a quick game on your phone. Unfortunately, finding good games is anything but quick – most mobile gems end up buried under a mountain of trash. But like we said, we know how it is, so every Monday we shine a spotlight on a great diversion to get you through the work week.

Linken 2Linken is a relatively new puzzler from indie developer Level InD. It consists of 10 chapters, 400 levels, and two game modes.

In the Classic mode you essentially connect the dots. You can’t use the same shape twice unless informed otherwise, you can’t cross lines, you have to begin and end on specific points for each shape, and you can only connect similar shapes. Rhombi go with rhombi, squares with squares and so on. By completing levels within set time or move limits you can earn stars to spend on power ups. Power ups allow you to do things like “traceback” a path to return the number of moves you used or even completely fill out the “solution” for a shape if you’re stuck.

Linken is an extremely relaxing game, not meant to aggravate or annoy. Unless you can’t figure a level out and you’re bored of trying you won’t need or even think to use power ups. If you go outside the time limit or over the move limit the level keeos going. Unless you’re paying attention you won’t even notice you overshot. You simply play and scratch your head until you earn at least one star. After that you can retry a level and tweak your solution to be faster and more efficient for those extra stars.

Linken 1A soothing ambient track loops through all of the game’s levels and menus. The game is designed to mellow you out if you’re riled up and the puzzles are enjoyable distractions. There is no overall objective and unlike Monument Valley there aren’t even glimpses of a story. That’s not to say that Linken isn’t challenging. More than a few levels will have you wondering what path to take to connect everything. You’ll constantly find yourself resetting paths because you’re blocking your other shape. Blindly swiping will get you nowhere.

If you are into fast-paced action the Arcade mode will be right up your alley. The music is far more upbeat, and now you’re competing against the clock and the scores of your Facebook friends. You’ll mostly be competing against yourself, however, unless you have friends that actually play or you’re interested in getting on the global leaderboard.

You start with 60 seconds on the clock and try to clear levels as quickly and efficiently as possible. Doing so will earn you points, which can be spent on power ups at any point – including two exclusive to Arcade mode. “Time extender” increases game duration by 15 seconds, while “skip” allows you to bypass puzzles altogether. As time is winding down the game will enter a “frenzy” of extremely easy levels that stalls the clock for about 5 seconds.

Linken is a good puzzle game to escape the world around you for a few moments. Just simple rules and low-pressure optional objectives. If you’re interested in Linken you can download it here for Android, and it will be coming soon to iOS.