Perhaps the best part about Windows 8 is that it shares the same core with Windows Phone. This instantly translates into many apps that were made for mobiles coming onto the desktop platform a lot more easily.
Big Duck Games scored a big hit with their game Flow Free for both Android and iOS. And it’s not available on the Windows 8 Store as well as the Windows Phone Store (compatible with 7.5 or higher), ready to be downloaded for free.
What’s Flow All About?
Flow is essentially a puzzle game that makes you draw paths without intersecting. Each level is a grid of squares with a few coloured dots in them. You will find two dots per colour, i.e. two red dots in different squares (let’s call them Red 1 and Red 2), and two yellow ones (Yellow 1 and Yellow 2) in two other squares, etc.
The objective is to connect two dots of the same colour by drawing a line from one to the other, without that line intersecting the path you draw to connect two different dots. Put simply, the line to connect Red 1 and Red 2 shouldn’t intersect the line to connect Yellow 1 and Yellow 2, and both these shouldn’t intersect the line connecting Blue 1 and Blue 2, and so on…
There is one catch though: no square should be left uncoloured (i.e., without a coloured line going through it) for the puzzle to be deemed finished. This proves to be really tricky once you start playing the larger boards, since many times, the path to connect two coloured dots will be straightforward, but you have to take it upon yourself to wind it around such that the whole board is filled with colour.
Flow is easy to play whether you are using a touchscreen or just a regular PC/laptop. On a touchscreen, tap the coloured dot, and keeping your finger pressed, draw the line you want. With a mouse, it’s even easier: click the coloured dot once and just move your mouse – no need to keep the button pressed.
Look & Feel
Where Flow scores highest is in its amazing design. The developers have obviously realised that the game is simplistic, so it has to always seem inviting to play – and they have succeeded. The colours are chosen just well enough so that you won’t get confused between two shades of a colour.
When you tap on a coloured dot or reach the end of your line, there’s a light glow around the dot that manages to be unobtrusive while indicating completion of the task. And the ‘pok’ sound effect – like that of releasing a suction cup – fits the theme perfectly.
One would also appreciate the use of the straight lines that crisscross in a faded background, taking away the passive nature of the game and adding some much-needed life.
In each level of Flow, the objective is to finish the puzzle by making as few mistakes as possible. Flow keeps a track of the number of times you start making a path (noted in the ‘Moves’ at the top of the grid), so really, the goal is to keep that to a minimum.
Also at the top of the grid, you will find the total number of Flows in each level, how many you have started so far, and the percentage of the puzzle that you have finished.
Finishing the puzzle in the least amount of moves earns you a star, and you have to earn as many of these as possible.
In case you made too many mistakes, there’s a button to simply reset the puzzle quickly and start from scratch.
If you are having trouble figuring out the solution, Flow also offers helpful hints to get you on your way. But of course, these are limited to three, so use them wisely.
But perhaps the best part about the game is that in case you can’t finish a puzzle, you can just skip it and go to the next one; there’s no pressure on you having to complete each level before being able to move on. It really helps keep the game… well, flowing.
Lots Of Gameplay
There are two modes in Flow: Free Play and Time Trial.
In Free Play, there are four basic ‘packs’ of puzzles available: Regular Pack, Bonus Pack, 8×8 Mania and Jumbo Pack. These range from boards of 5×5 squares to 14×14 squares, each with 150 puzzles. That’s 600 levels of Flow to start with!
You can even buy up to five additional packs with the ‘More Levels’ option, paying about 1.39-1.79 pounds for each of or unlocking them all for 3.49 pounds.
In Time Trial, it’s all about beating the clock. You can select the type of board (5×5, 6×6, 7×7, 8×8 or 9×9) and the amount of time you want to give yourself (30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes, 4 minutes). Once the clock starts, it’s all about solving as many puzzles as you can before time runs out.
With the sheer variety and amount of gameplay it offers, it’s surprising that Flow is free to download. It’s insanely addictive and never gets too tough or too simple, constantly keeping you engaged without feeling overwhelmed by any puzzle. You simply must download this game, be it for Windows 8 or Windows Phone.