'simian.interface' Review: get your monkey brain ready for this stylish puzzler (iOS)

by Eric Frederiksen

January 20 2014

If you've ever wanted to pretend to be a monkey hooked up to testing equipment, simian.interface is the game for you. If you haven't, you need to rethink some things and change your priorities. (Rating: 3 out of 5 stars)

Simian.interface, developed by Vested Interest and published by Chillingo, will test your important monkey skills: fine motor control, thinking in 3D, perceiving shapes, and clicking on digital bananas. 

The puzzles simian.interface presents are fun and unlike anything I've seen before. The art is all in a retro pixel style, but to solve each puzzle you must think in three dimensions. After choosing whether to use tilt or drag controls, you'll go through different sets of puzzles where you must align shapes on the screen. Some of the puzzles are pretty easy, but the more difficult puzzles are surprisingly satisfying. While early puzzles have you simply moving a solid square into a square outline, those you encounter later on play with light, color, and space, ensuring the game doesn't feel repetitive.

The art style is both retro and abstract, and the music is also inspired by retro video games. In fact, the music might be my favorite part of the game. Unfortunate, then, that but a bug in the game prevented it from playing for most of my playthrough.

Be warned: simian.interface is very short. This is by far its most glaring flaw. You’ll get more time out of it if you play one or two puzzles at a time, in line at the grocery store or during other short intervals. Otherwise you can breeze through most of it in about an hour. Only the hidden puzzles will last longer. That said, you can add some replay value by trying to play through the game using both the tilt and the touch controls. Simian.interface is one of the few cases where tilt feels like a core part of the game rather than a tacked on gimmick. Aside from Tilt to Live, this might be my favorite tilt game. But a timed mode and some leaderboards might've added a nice wrinkle to keep players coming back. 

At just $.99, though, it's not a bad price proposition. Sure, there are plenty of free games in the app store, but many of them beg for your money and a prominent place in your Facebook feed. Simian.interface's desires are simpler: It just wants to hook wires up to your brain and test your abilities. Using a fun presentation, a visual style that is both slick and retro at the same time, and unique controls, simian.interface is a solid game despite its short length, and it's worth the dollar it costs.

  • simian.interface
  • Developer: Vested Interest
  • Publisher: Chillingo
  • Platform: iOS
  • In-App Purchases? No
  • Price: $.99

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