J.U.L.I.A Untold – Review

A review of J.U.L.I.A Untold I wrote for the website www.square-go.com

The best puzzle games understand one thing; there is a fine line between frustrating and challenging. The best games get into that sweet spot between the two that seems to be irresistible to people. So where does J.U.L.I.A Untold fall on this line? Is it challengingly frustrating or frustratingly challenging? Either way, it takes a while to get the fun out of it.

J.U.L.I.A Untold is a spin-off from a PC game by the name of J.U.L.I.A, this iOS game being set in the same fictional universe but not reliant on you having played the other game. It is a series of puzzles based around circuits; you have to connect one side of the screen to the other using a set of special tiles and generic connectors. You are trying to repair the memory of a computer, each memory cluster has a group of these circuit puzzles you need to complete before you can complete the whole cluster.

You get a blueprint for each level and have to follow it as closely as possible which is where we start getting into the issues with the game. There are instructions on how to play the game but these aren’t clear and are only accessible from the main menu, meaning that if you want to check anything you have to exit the game. They’re also quite dense and aren’t that clear. Thankfully a trip the very helpful forums on the developer’s website sorted this out but what the game really needs is a proper tutorial, something to make it clear how the game needs to be played.

As once it clicks, J.U.L.I.A Untold is a pretty enjoyable logic-based puzzle game. You normally don’t have enough connectors to match the blueprint so you have to figure out how to join everything up correctly. Everything is laid out simply and clearly with nice cut scenes that advance the story. This is a good thing as it keeps you coming back to the game when the puzzles tip over into being frustrating. The mechanics of playing the game are a bit easier on the larger size of the iPad screen but it still fits onto the iPhone without too many issues.

This isn’t a puzzle game that everyone will enjoy but for those that enjoy logic puzzles they will get a fair bit of mileage out of J.U.L.I.A Untold as there are plenty of puzzles to get your teeth into. The game introduces more of the special tiles to keep things interesting as you keep trying to complete more and more of the circuits to open up more of the story.

It’s just a shame that the game doesn’t have the best first impression, J.U.L.I.A Untold needs a bit more polish to make it easier to get into the right mindset to enjoy the game. Is it the best puzzle game ever? Probably not but it gets the job done.

Three stars out of five

Originally published May 18th 2012

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