Up Left Out Review
Maciej Targoni tasks players with freeing their mind while freeing blocks in his new puzzle platformer Up Left Out. There’s no question that this game will tax your brain, but does it manage not to be taxing?
Up Left Out Review
Each stage of Up Left Out is made up of a number of boxes that need to be moved. There’s a catch though – the majority of the boxes can only be moved in one direction. Much like a Rubik’s Cube, there is a method to the madness that must be found out. Once a block is properly moved in the right direction, it becomes “free,” and can be moved in any direction of your choosing. There are no unwinnable situations, but those who want to start fresh can reset the board at any given time. Even so, most stages take just a few minutes to complete.
Originally coming out on mobile platforms, the entirety of the title is played with a mouse. This is not a complex game – Up Left Out’s minimalistic stylings, soothing music, and bland colors are very art-house chic, though they do not manage to have a personality of their own. It is more utilitarian, rather than hedonic, which is somewhat disappointing. Those expecting something akin to the catchy melodies of Tetris or the frantic beats of Puyo Puyo will be searching for something a little more. When the only option available is to turn off the music, you know that it’s lacking.
Things start out fairly simple, but quickly ramp up as things progress. New concepts are gradually introduced, including gates, buttons that rotate blocks, blocks with curved tracks, blocks that must be linked, and even entire stages that must be moved. Multiple elements are often included at once, offering a difficulty curve, but it’s nothing a little brain power and patience can’t overcome. The puzzles here aren’t MENSA grade, but there is a feeling of satisfaction that comes with completing each level.
It’s just a shame that there is almost no content to be found here. The dozens of puzzles here can be completed in around an hour, which proves to be just a snack in the gaming world. There is no incentive to come back and try again, so this is a one-and-done type of title. It has a budget price point to reflect this, but even something as a grading system or a timer would have helped tremendously. There is also only one achievement to speak of.
Up Left Out has got an interesting proof of concept, but the spartan stylings and lack of content hurt its long term replayability. This is a simple game, one that is good for a single playthrough and nothing more.