Quell is one of those little gems that take an established game principle, in this case the maze genre (where you try to reach different points on a map, but neither you nor the objects you’ve pushed stop until they hit a wall) and make it beautiful. And while it’s not exactly adventurous, everything is executed so well and feels so great that you (almost) forget that this is a game you’ve played a thousand times before.
- Game: Quell
- Developer: Fallen Tree Games
- Links: Developer Homepage, Product Homepage
- Genre: Puzzle
- Players: 1
- Version: 1.21
- Price: €1.10 (estimated, see Market for current price)
When you open Quell for the first time, it looks like your standard puzzle game, just with a pretty wallpaper. But once you tap anything, the smooth transition, the layered backgrounds, the sound effects, the music and all the subtle effects like the raindrops flowing down the windows suck you into Quell’s world almost immediately. Coming from the iPhone this is not exactly unheard of, but in difference to many other iPhone ports Quell manages to pull it off without seeming out of place on Android. The effects may not be standard Android effects, but they fit and button presses take you where an Android user would expect to end up. Presentation-wise Quell has the best of both worlds and manages to pull it off without breaking a sweat. Rarely will you see stuttering or a low framerate, even on low-end devices.
That’s not to say that the presentation is all that Quell has got going for it. While the gameplay may be familiar, it is extended with enough little extras so that each of the 84 levels provides a unique challenge. Instead of just letting you slide through the levels, looking for that final wall that allows you to jump to the exit, Quell tasks you with collecting multiple gems on a repeating (Pacman-style: go out the left, re-enter at the right) playfield with switches, walk-only-once fields, pushable boxes, deadly spikes, teleporters and so on and so forth. All elements are introduced slowly over the course of multiple levels, so you’ll never get the next elements while you’re still figuring out what the previous one does.
A whole array of achievements helps the game provide long-time motivation, as you’ll constantly go back to levels you’ve previously played, so that you can complete them with that one move less you need to get that golden frame in your gallery.
Of course, even with all those wonderful features, Quell won’t win anybody over who simply doesn’t like puzzle games. But if you do, specifically if you like relaxing games that give you all the time you need to decide on your next move, you can’t do much better than Quell.