Binaries is one tough game, yet its premise couldn’t be simpler. Simultaneously control two balls through a maze of platform challenges. The game description on the store nails it, “100 control-smashingly tough platform challenges”. Yep… it’s one of those games where patience is as necessary as platforming skills.
The blue ball goes to the blue goal and the orange goes to the orange goal – simple right? And to begin with it couldn’t be simpler but this is all just a ruse. Things get tough quickly and from there they get tougher. Rather than controlling each ball’s movements with the left and right stick, both balls are controlled with the LS. This is where the puzzle element comes in – moving left may free the orange ball but it could mean certain doom for the blue ball.
This type of puzzle mechanic is hardly groundbreaking, but Binaries throws in platforming elements, hazards and turrets – and boy will some levels twist your mind as you hopelessly try to guide the balls to their goals. To counteract the mayhem Binaries attempts to make light of the situation with some humour but rather than deliver the narrative with a voice, text is written across the negative spaces of the mazes but with so much happening onscreen – and a timer to beat for an S rank – I barely had the chance to take it all in.
The 100 levels of Binaries make up a map made up of circles. As each level is completed, a circle on the map is filled in and an adjacent circle/level can be chosen – this means when you get stuck (and you will!) your progress isn’t halted as another route through can be found. There are only a few junctions where you must solve one of two levels – halting your progress should you fail to beat either of them.
The levels themselves have been sculpted with evil genius. They are well structured and offer quite the challenge, especially when the balls start at opposite ends and the levels aren’t symmetrical. There’s quite the sense of achievement at besting the more brain twistingly complex levels, but there’s only so much of Binaries I could take in one sitting – save for a few new hazards – the game doesn’t change too much.
No matter how hard (and infuriating) Binaries can get, the upbeat music is so charming and happy it’s hard to stay mad at Binaries for long. Aside from some mad platforming skills and the ability to twist your mind as you control the two balls, sweaty palms and a few choice expletives are a given in passing all 100 levels.
Thanks to Xbox and Ant Workshop for supporting TiX