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Yankai's Triangle - A Pleasant Geometry Twiddler

This morning brought geometric gaming news in the form of Yankai’s Triangle [official site]. It’s a puzzle game of sorts, where you rotate triangles with coloured points in order to match them up. If you’ve ever played Triominoes you’ll know the sort of thing I mean.

I say “of sorts” regarding its puzzle game status because there are puzzle games which genuinely give my brain something to grind away at, exerting itself to find a solution, and there are puzzle games which don’t really involve much puzzling but you are still ultimately looking for a solution. Yankai’s Triangle is definitely in the latter camp. I’m on level 36, I think and I’ve only found a bit of grit to the puzzles a couple of times. Once where – you know when you get comfy with the way something works and the designer uses that to pull the rug from under you in a teasing way? – that happened and it made me grin and have to go back through the triangles and re-order some of them. The other time was level 34 where the game introduced a new element to the triangles which made me employ a bit more thought when finding the solution than just manipulating the shapes idly.

As per Sun’s description:

“YANKAI’S TRIANGLE is a love letter to TRIANGLES. A puzzling puzzle game about the beauty and joy of infinitely tapping on TRIANGLES for some reason.

“With an elegant innovative revolutionary TRIANGLE-first approach to interface, YANKAI’S TRIANGLE lets you tap on TRIANGLES to spin them and stuff. Colors play a part in gameplay too I think. Bring TRIANGLES to a forgotten TRIANGLE, and uncover a TRIANGLE hidden deep beneath the YANKAI.

“(YAN rhymes with KEN and KAI rhymes with EYE by the way)”

But there doesn’t really seem to be a comprehensible difficulty progression so that new mechanic has disappeared again for the following two levels and I’m back to just twiddling triangles. I’ll be honest, without that extra mechanic I mentioned but don’t want to spoil, the possibility space feels too small for the player to need to work for solutions. At most you’ll just need to go back through a few layers of previously slotted-together triangles to rotate one or two of them a few times and that’s busywork rather than difficulty. But there is something here that I like and that I think has real potential beyond what’s actually in the game so far that I’ve seen.

The other thing I like is that the triangles slot together then let you zoom out to the next layer of triangles. In and of itself that’s not noteworthy, but Sun’s previous game was Circa Infinity which was about travelling deeper into layers of concentric circles, ever expanding until you reached the boss. There’s definitely an expansion and contraction of geometry theme here which I just really like as someone’s personal game hallmark.

Wait – I got to level 41 and that was more interesting. I think it was a boss level? The shapes had teeth.

Anyway, I’m flagging it up in case that puzzle-but-not-a-puzzle-but-maybe-sometimes-slightly-a-puzzle vibe appeals, or is something you’d like to share with a kid.

It’s currently on Steam with a 1% discount so £2.26/2,96€/\$2.96 for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and also on iOS. Android is going to be a while longer.

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Philippa Warr

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