Do you ever wake up at night, look at the wall and see a dark, shadowy figure watching you from the corner of the room with the look of death in his eyes? Upon seeing this, you instantly turn on the light and see that it’s the shadow of some tree branches, a novelty iPhone holder and an orange – not so fearsome looking now! If not, do you ever remember performing shadow puppets when you were younger, trying to convince people that your hands look like a talking duck or a dog? Perfect Angle is kind of along the same idea – a bunch of ‘random’ objects which when viewed at a certain angle, or has light cast on them in a certain way, create a completely different image or object. It’s a ‘simple to play but hard to master’ style puzzle game from Ivanovich Games but the question is, is there enough here to keep you entertained? Let’s find out.
Perfect angle has something which most puzzle games like this one don’t have, a story. As you solve two or three puzzles you are greeted with a 2D static cutscene with some really good voice acting by a single person. I’ll be honest here, the story isn’t going to win an award but it helps bring meaning to the items you have created within the puzzles. For example, in one set of puzzles, you discover the image of a stethoscope, a drip and a hospital cross and the cutscene is about your character remembering he was in the hospital and what happened there, with all the items present in the cutscene/flashback. The story revolves around our narrator who was a bomb technician and had fallen into an accident and lost his memory. By solving these puzzles he begins to remember small things about his past and what’s happened.
The story starts out really strong, with a kind of mystery vibe about it where it seems you are trying to remember in order to save a family from terrorists – which in my opinion was quite interesting – but then you find out that we are currently way past that point and we are basically recalling memories from that point onwards for quite a while. It’s a nice little story with a decent interval between the various puzzles, as there are 105 of them. The thing I really like is as I said above, each of the cutscenes are based on the items you find within the puzzles – so even though the cutscenes at first seem a little random and non-related, they are related to the actual puzzle solutions – which is interesting and keeps you wondering what the next cutscene is going to be about.
The puzzles are the star of the show in this title, as they should be, with various different mechanics in play. I’ll give you a brief rundown of the different types:
• You have your standard shadow puppet style, where you rotate a bunch of objects that are stuck together until the shadow becomes something familiar. This one is probably the easiest one until it evolves later on. Once it has become more advanced, you have the same shape in the shadow but it’s made up of red, blue and grey objects. You can apply a red, blue or normal light to create the shadow, with the coloured lights omitting the coloured objects from the shadow which is cast – this means you have up to three perspectives to work with rather than just one.
• The next most common one is the ‘art gallery’ approach – you have a bunch of objects stuck to poles in the ground or on the walls and you have to spin around and try and either make the objects into a new shape or look for a shape within the gaps of the objects. Just like above, as you progress through the game, this one also gets harder by adding three new mechanics.
– The first is movable pieces – as you press the X button, certain pieces will move up to three times which offers three perspectives to work with.
– The second modification is the introduction of the missile – you have to shoot and destroy pieces so the remaining objects can be formed into a new one. This one is tricky as you can destroy the wrong ones without any warning so it has a lot of trial and error about it.
– The third modification is water – you can raise water up to three levels which will lift certain blocks up and gives you up to three perspectives to look at once again.
• The final puzzle type is the ‘headache room’ – this is a room coloured bright red with black lines drawn all over it, I call it the headache room as it gives me one! In here, you have the missile mechanic again and you must spin around and destroy panels and objects so you can line up the black lines into images on the floor, wall, or objects. This one isn’t bad as you can usually see the image you are trying to make fairly quickly but on the PS4 Pro, the camera spins too fast – it’s like the sensitivity has been increased because it’s a small enclosed room and not open like the others. *Update from the Dev – there is a patch coming next week which will resolve this issue*
There are other types of puzzles, but they are all variations of the above with similar mechanics – no two puzzles are the same and trying to solve all 105 on your own – without looking at guides – is both rewarding and satisfying. The one issue I have with the puzzles is that I feel it should give you a hint at what the cutscene is going to be about or what the object is as going in blind is sometimes hard as you don’t know what you are actually looking for!
I’ve just touched on it but, as always, if you pick up the game then try and do it yourself. The platinum rate on PSNProfiles is above 70% which makes me think people have picked this up just for the platinum – as there are guides out there showing you the answer to every single puzzle – but where’s the fun in that? I’m on around puzzle 60-70 and I’ve not looked at the guide at all and I’ve been playing for about 2-3 hours so far. To combat the need to look at a guide – the game has a built-in help system, although I have a few issues with it. You start with five hints, which is great. Upon using one you first get an image of what you’re looking for and the next hint will do a hot/cold style alert to let you know when you’re close.
The issue I have is, once you use all five then you have to wait five minutes to get one back and that’s it… It doesn’t fully restock all five – it’s one at a time and a five-minute wait between hints. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to refill all of them or if this is intentional (as it was a mobile game originally so the time mechanics kind of make sense on that platform). *Update from the dev – this is being reduced to a two-minute wait in terms of getting a new hint*
Speaking of mobile platforms, There are adverts within the game. Nothing major, but the billboards in the city environments are adverts for other mobile games – I see this as both a missed opportunity and also a bit pointless. It’s pointless because you’re playing on the PS4 so seeing adverts for mobile phone games probably don’t appeal to you; however, the developer should have replaced those with adverts for games on the console either from third parties or their own (they have a PSVR game coming out this month called Operation Warcade – maybe update the adverts to that game?) *Update from the dev – The billboards are being removed in patch 2 (so not next week but a patch later on)*
Graphically the game looks nice for a mobile game ported to PC, then console. The environments range from test chambers, construction yards, art galleries, and even rooftops with each one looking detailed yet simplistic in design. The pieces themselves are all rendered nicely with no glitches, world holes or obvious errors and some of the objects actually have some decent textures upon them. The cutscene 2D images are also really well done and really help give a reason for the items you are uncovering.
The sound is where the game shines, other than the puzzles, in my opinion. The soundtrack is a mellow loop of atmospheric tunes which alternate depending on what environment you are in but the games sound-effects are ambient sounds in the background such as the rain falling and hitting the pieces. Upon completing a puzzle, the DS4 controller will cry out “Perfect angle” – you have been warned, it made me jump! But the big part of the sound which I really enjoyed is the cutscene narration – the voice actor they got in sounds really sincere in his tone like he is an older man recalling his memories to a loved one, telling them what had happened and what he remembers. There is just something about it that puts it above the voice acting in other games I’ve seen recently.
Trophy-wise, the game is technically an easy platinum. There are 105 puzzles to solve and with the guides that are out there, you could probably get through them all within 1-2 hours at most, with the fastest being an hour and ten minutes on PSNProfiles. But, if you don’t use the guides and you do it yourself then you can easily get 3-5 hours out of it depending on your skills at spotting patterns and images. The trophies simply unlock as you progress through the game, every time you get to a cutscene – you get the next trophy.
Perfect Angle is a clever little puzzle game with enough puzzles, mechanics, variations, and trophies to keep you busy for a long time. Some of the puzzles are almost impossible without first spending a hint to see what you’re looking for but are always satisfying if you work it out for yourself. The story isn’t amazing but the voice acting really holds it together and delivers an enjoyable story in a game that would usually be shipped without one. Highly recommended to casual gamers and those who love to play through puzzles – I’ve been doing 3-6 puzzles in-between swapping games and whilst something is downloading recently and I’ve had a lot of fun with it.
- Lots of different optical illusions to play through (105)
- Great soundtrack and voice acting
- Good effort on the story in a game which wouldn't usually have one
- Wide variety of mechanics in use
- The wait for hints can get a bit tedious if you're stuck
- No hint as to what you're looking for makes it a bit hard later on
- Other issues like in-game advertising and the control issue are here currently, but will be fixed in an upcoming patch (so not taken into account)