Not every game released needs an elaborate backstory and over the top mechanics to draw players in. Sometimes just a great puzzle game can take you on the best adventures. Developer Nikolai Usachev has done just that with Active Neurons. He originally published it for PC through Steam on October 15, 2019 and ported it to the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, the Xbox One, and PSVita this month. It gives the player the power to power neurons to charge the body. Check out how we felt about it below.
The Puzzle is More Than It Appears
Active Neurons is built on one type of puzzle that adds in a new mechanic each time to increase the difficulty and add variety. The player pushes the white block in one of four directions until it collides with the white square. Of the new mechanics added in my favorite was the use of the push blocks and transporters. I enjoyed that the push blocks had more than one use. You could use them to break red blocks that would destroy your player. The most surprising use of them though was when you collide with them, it stops your momentum. Sometimes I wouldn’t notice that just doing that is exactly what needed to happen to hit the final square.
The game, however, struggles with the lack of an introduction to the new mechanics. It relies heavily on either the player just understanding it right away or failing the puzzle to learn the new mechanics. What is included is an option to watch how the puzzle is solved that still allows the player to follow the tutorial to solve the puzzle. There are no negative effects to doing it this way, but I highly suggest trying to solve them before turning to the solution.
The only major fault with Active Neurons lies with how short the game is. Depending on how hard the player finds the puzzles could definitely shorten or lengthen the playtime, but the amount of puzzles all together is rather small with just 120 levels. The game works better as something you play for a few hours each night to either de-stress from your busy day or to get in some active brain time. It is not something I would recommend trying to playthrough at one time. Usachev has added in additional levels in the past and will hopefully continue to update the game with new levels and mechanics in the future.
Active Neurons is a great fresh puzzle game that works well when played in small bits. A few puzzles a night is the perfect answer to a stressful day. There is no time and number of movement restrictions which really allows the player to test out possibilities and use their brain to solve the puzzles. The Nintendo Switch port features extremely smooth gameplay and works extremely well on the console. If puzzle games are right up your alley, I highly suggest giving this a try.
Active Neurons is available to play now on PC through Steam, PS4, Xbox One, the Nintendo Switch, and PSVita.