Cuit is a Devious Puzzler of Electricity and Consequence

Hit a switch, light turns on. If everything was that simple then the job of electrical engineer wouldn’t require a four-year bachelor’s degree. There are far more options in playing with electricity than a simple on/off switch, though, and this results in complicated devices with multiple inputs and outputs, plus interconnecting paths between the logic gates. Set a functioning diagram in front of someone unfamiliar with how the bits fit together and the entire setup becomes a big logic puzzle, trying to figure out how all the pieces interact and effect each other. Cuit takes this idea and runs with it, creating devious plans that require just the right sequence of switches and current to activate.

In the beginning, all is simple. Hit a round switch to open the line, sending electricity from the battery down a wire. Flip a directional switch and it goes to the light bulb and success, or leave it pointing at the wire to an exploding bomb and a level reset a second later. “Don’t electrify the bomb” isn’t difficult logic to understand; electricity doesn’t flow until the round switch is turned from being perpendicular to the wire, and the directional switch points at the wire it’s going to energize. Then new gates start showing up, making life difficult.

While the gates are marked with symbols, you can mouse over for a description as well.  The “&” gate is And, requiring both inputs to be energized in order to transmit.  “=” sends out power when both inputs are the same, whether energized or not.  “=1” on the other hand is only active when one of its two inputs get power, while “/” is happy passing through juice whether it’s got one or two live wires coming in.  Things get properly tricky with the flip-flop gates, though, which reverses its electrified state when hit with power.

Then come circuits that break the line when you send power through, which is usually best avoided except for the times it’s useful, or a memory chip that, once energized, always transmits, and even pulsing electrical sources that turn on and off every 2.5 seconds.  Combine it all together and there’s a good amount of devious puzzling to be had, especially when wires start snaking all over the level.  The presentation is very clean, and all the lines are easy to follow, but it’s easy to miss the result of a simple switch-flip when the line goes through a divider that sends one energized line through an “=” gate and another through a wireless transmitter that hooks up elsewhere on the puzzle.  It all fits on one screen, with no hidden elements, but a good solution can take some very careful logic and path-threading to arrive at.

One element does need special note, and that’s the Lock gate.  Cuit is still early, with an open beta that just kicked off the other day, and this element is still being tweaked to be a little more helpful.  Locks have three inputs and they flash through a sequence, between three to six beats long, and you need to send power to them exactly as indicated.  If step 1 has green top and bottom, and step 2 is green middle and bottom, you need to figure out how to light up the first pair of inputs then turn off the top and energize the middle in one move for the next step.  Throw in a number of different logic gates between the power source and the lock, with various wires interconnecting between them, and it will take some very careful thought to navigate your way to a solution.  The problem is the lock’s cycle of lights takes time to go through, and memorizing five steps is a bit much when also trying to build a logical path to a solution.  When all you want is to know what step 3 looks like the wait gets old quick, especially in a game that’s so good in all other ways about presenting all its information at once.

It’s a work in progress, though, and if one element of its puzzles is still getting hammered into shape it’s not a bad start to a nicely relaxing and pleasantly devious game.  There’s a lot of careful thought put in to making the circuits work, both in terms of puzzle design and clarity of layout.  Even the most tangled levels are clear thanks to the presentation being based on electrical diagrams, although thankfully they don’t get anywhere near as complex as a real-world creation might.  Or at least not in the first set of levels of the beta.  The full game is planned to have over 100 levels with some incredibly difficult final challenges, so it’s hard to say how densely woven the wiring eventually gets.  The current batch of puzzles are already well worth staring at, trying to build a cause/effect chain in your head before taking a single move, and when that doesn’t work then there’s no reason not to try a little experimentation.  The worst thing that will happen is a bomb going off, which is a much easier consequence to deal with than an unexpected electrocution.

Cuit is currently working its way through Steam Greenlight, and 31-level open beta is available to play through as well.