Active Neurons (Xbox One) Review with stream
Over 100 puzzles that are never too difficult or frustrating
A welcoming hint system alleviates any troubles you might have, if you want it
Creative presentation revolving around activating a brain
Puzzles and gameplay are so enjoyable you might wish there was more
Sometimes You is continuing their stretch of releasing simple, quickly played titles that yield a decent amount of entertainment value for a low cost. Active Neurons is a block pushing puzzle game done right and doesn’t overstay its welcome.
The simple presentation is very approachable and anyone can play it, enjoy it, and recommend it. Using only the D-pad, the player is tasked with activating the exit by pushing a block. The gimmick, however, is the block will only stop moving in that direction until it comes in contact with another object, just like the ice dungeon levels in any Zelda game. Along the way, there are hazard tiles, some teleporters, and some blocks that can be pushed. It is easy to understand even without a tutorial and all stages are only one screen.
Most of the game’s 100+ puzzles can be solved within a couple of tries, only taking a minute or two, as the stage design can give the solution away, often limiting the movement options available to the player. There are a fair share of tricky spots that might cause frustration if not for the friendly hint system. At the press of a button, the player can watch a video clip of the puzzle being completed if needing a little help. Sure, it is possible to cheese the system to milk all the solutions by just watching the hint video for each stage, but it is there if you need the help. Watching the hint system can also be a little tricky since some stages require many steps to complete. At that point, it is the player’s fault if they cannot complete the Simon Says.
Each batch of stage is tied to waking parts of a brain, and eventually an entire body. This provides purpose and added incentive to just seeing the end of each stage. Since there is no scoring system, no penalty for failure, and no leaderboards, the entire experience is casual and friendly through and through. Even the visual presentation, with the slight neon glow, is welcoming along with the minimal soundtrack. There is also a mode for the colorblind.
Active Neurons is a single player brain teaser that provides a couple hours of laid back, stress free gaming. The puzzles are never too difficult, the hint system works with the player instead of against, and the entire neuron-brain theme wraps it all together with a nice neat bow. It is also worth mentioning that this is a great game for Achievement/Trophy hunters as all are unlocked through natural play and in a short amount of time, just like most other Sometimes You titles.
Also available on Switch, PS4, and Playstation Vita.
Also Try: Cyber Protocol (Switch)
Better Than: Ego Protocol: Remastered (Switch)
Wait For It: Kwirk 2