Push It Real Good: Fractal

I think it was Schizoslayer who pointed me at this, but I only had a chance to play it now. It’s Fractal, and it’s really quite neat puzzler from the makers of Auditorium. The idea is simply you have a limited number of new hexes to push into a grid, which displaces all the other ones. Form larger hexes formed of smaller ones to score points. Elegant and looks great. There’s a web-demo for you to play, but the full version will cost you fifteen dollars. GO FOOTAGE!


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  1. SpinalJack says:

    Games can never get enough fractals
    As a developer I’m always interested in what people can do with procedural generation

  2. robrob says:

    Reminds me of that Hexxagon game we used to have on a big blue disk of 250 shareware DOS games. I played the hell out of that game and always used to look jealously at the nag screen at the end promising new counters and new boards and the new AI with an eyepatch! I wanted it so much.

  3. Adrian says:

    i played the demo a while ago and i quite liked the style of the game but found it to become boring pretty quick (like 3rd level) and somewhat repetitive.
    Anyways I’m sure a lot of people will have fun with this kind of game its just not what id play. Still i think 15 bucks is a lil heavy for such a simple game…

  4. Pod says:

    Emergent gameplay?

    a) Isn’t it an abuse of the word for it to be used by the developers? Isn’t emergent behaviour something that happens outside, and direct against, the rules they’ve designed? If they’ved designed it to be ‘emergent’, is it really so?
    b) I can’t really see how that game could do anything other than pushing hexes about. That’s like claiming Pacman has emergent gameplay because you can try to talk to the ghosts or eat some pellets so the remaining pellets spell “BUM” or something.

    pss: I’ve never onced entered the captcha correctly the first time for some reason :S

    • un_pro says:

      I think the definition of emergent gameplay is simply an unplanned event. It does not need to oppose anything.

      For this game, though, they must be talking about how a hexagon “emerges” from where you clicked.
      Or when you hit enter on the address bar, the website emerges from the internets.

      (I don’t mean to bash the game. I love the style and think it’s an ok puzzle game, but seems to get a little boring.)

    • Tei says:

      I think are using the words “emergent gameplay” because the ‘levels’ are randomized, so the dev’s have not defined the start, only the rules, so anything that happens after that (good or bad) is emergent | unplanned. Maybe you get a awesome game where ALL tiles clear with a single move, Its possible, maybe you have bad luck, and you get a unsolvable board.

    • Cooper says:

      The most common usage of ‘emergent’ in the Enligsh language is to indicate unexpected arisal.

      But we’re expecting hexagons to appear in that game.

      A more accurate definition would be ‘gameplay containing random elements’

      But, then again, we have no equivalent of the Académie française, English is a spoken language, has no real regulation, so you can do what you want with it. Which is great for both informal conversation, literature, and misleading people in marketing and advertising…

  5. Javier-de-Ass says:

    let me know when they do mandelbrot or julia puzzles

  6. un_pro says:

    I’m no mathemagician, but I didn’t see any fractals in the demo.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      the board is a hexagon and the pieces are hexagons. and at least initially in the video they’re making not hexagon shapes but ones that makes sense towards that, but that’s all the fractaling to it from what I can see. pretty weak

  7. Tei says:

    I love it, but I am out of moneyjuice, must wait :-)

  8. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Nothing actually even remotely resembling a Fractal. No emergent gameplay anywhere to be seen…

    Sound bites necessary to hide a particularly weak gaming experience. A casual puzzler. Boring and completely unpredictable.

    • Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

      You had better re learn the meaning of the word.
      A hexagon made up of hexagons is a pattern made of smaller versions of its pattern, a mo fo-ing fractal.

      If there were nothing resembeling a fractal, you werent playing the game right.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      err… what?

      For your benefit: link to en.wikipedia.org

    • Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

      Er, what what?
      Nothing remotely resembeling a fractal, you say.

      I say: A hexagon made up of hexagons can be considered a fractal.

    • Pod says:

      This is a pretty tenuous use of the word fractal. The overall board shape is a hex, taken at a very rough glance. But the hex itself is bumpy. The subhexes aren’t bumpy — but maybe we just don’t have the resolution* to see that? But in a way their hexyness is similiar to the overall hex board. But I wouldn’t call it fractal.

      If we take the pattern of the hexes on the board, then there’s still no fractality (is that word?), as the sub-hexes are just solid fills.

      From that link:
      “Possessing self-similarity is not the sole criterion for an object to be termed a fractal. Examples of self-similar objects that are not fractals include the logarithmic spiral and straight lines, which do contain copies of themselves at increasingly small scales. These do not qualify, since they have the same Hausdorff dimension as topological dimension.”

      *I don’t mean pixel-resolution

    • Mario Figueiredo says:


      I’d hope you read the link. That’s what I put it there for.

      An hexagon made up of hexagons is not a fractal. It’s a tessellation. And hexagons produce Regular Tessellations. Along with squares and triangles, are the only regular shapes which can.

    • Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

      Yes, from the link. Whos source is a book written by two men, for the part where it describes a fractal.
      If i published a book saying this was a fractal, would that count?
      Even if we assumed the source was correct, look at those definitions, words like approximatly, or phrases like cant be easily described? Easy for whom?

      Then the part following it doesnt even have a source.
      So, great research there.

      Also, rectangels can tesselate…

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      This is becoming ridiculous as much as it is entertaining.

    • Tei says:

      Theres a type of fractal, that I call “L-systems” that are images composed of clones of thenselves.

      link to library.thinkquest.org

  9. Thomas says:

    I really like Auditorium…giving this a try.

  10. JellyfishGreen says:

    I think this game and I could have a meaningful relationship. I keep trying to push the pieces together to tidy up the board, and the board keeps exploding and giving me lots of points (83,349 by the end of the demo) and saying “Jolly good!”.

  11. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    Game is too pricy (I can buy bioshock and oblivion together for that price) and there are annoying screens popping up in my screen, ruining the flow.

    But a solid looking game, very professional,
    Interesting enough, though more of a pre set puzzle aspect is my sort of thing.
    Also, randomly spawning pieces, giving whole sets is annoying. I dont want luck in my puzzle.

  12. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Meh. Auditorium’s great, though.

  13. c-Row says:

    Very good presentation, great visuals and decent sound. However, half of the time I just clicked somewhere and hoped for miracles to happen without really knowing what I was doing. Just like a day at the office.

  14. PW says:

    Totally boring, I found it tedious after 10 seconds of play. A great waste of good graphics, sounds and marketing. What a shame.

  15. MrFake says:

    Played through level 2. I pushed some hexes around and was having an ok time of it. Then, after things got a little crowded, one of the shapes erupted and spilled a bunch of new hexes on the board. Those formed two new shapes, which erupted. The new hexes made new shapes, those erupted, and this continued until the level finished. With no apparent rhyme or reason, the game just completed itself for me.

    I figure if it’s designed well enough to play itself, then I’m happy to let it do so without my input. Carry on, Fractal.

  16. Carl says:

    Yeah, and what’s the deal with their last game Auditorium? I didn’t see a single auditorium in there.

  17. Josh W says:

    Emergent gameplay (from a systems theory perspective) is basically about divergent processes (ie little changes at the start get amplified) that don’t simply create a chaotic result (crazy stuff within bounds like amusing ragdoll problems), but a new pattern at the higher level. In other words a game that’s full of exploits that are not in any way bugs, that offer different gameplay from the basic stuff (like games in which you can play “distraction pong” with guards in a coop stealth game or something).

    The divergence thing is important, because it means that the game possibility space expands over time, meaning that there is potential for more of these cool things to appear, but the results must be stable and predictable enough that people can actually work with them, and build strategies around them.

    Does this game do that? From what I’ve seen it only barely does; there’s quite a lot of potential for divergence, particularly in the campaign mode, where I’ve done a significant portion of the randomising of the levels myself by trying different tactics, but I don’t know if that will develop into anything I can reliably interact with.