Last year at EGX one of the little gems hiding in the Indie zone was a puzzler called Induction. The game – made by one man team Bryan Gale – is a puzzle game about time travel, paradox and alternate timelines. You play a small block who can move around a course and travel through time, each time creating a new, alternative timeline with another you.
The key to the game is that you need to cooperate with your past self. Set something up and then travel back in time to take advantage of the state before you set it up. Confused yet? Induction starts off with an easy puzzle and slowly ramps up the difficulty such that by the seventh or eighth you’ve slowed down and have to think very carefully about what you do. The soundtrack is produced by Tim Shiel and is a relaxing and slightly trancy set of tracks that adds to the experience without getting in the way.
The Ergohacks Verdict
The best puzzle games take a simple concept and add levels of complexity and twist it until it almost breaks. This is one of those games. Induction was started after Gayle started to try and work out if the Terminator timeline actually made sense and the idea turned into an obsession. If you’re a fan of twisty puzzle games – get Induction – you won’t be sorry. Recommended.
Buy it from Steam or the Humble Store +
Price: ± £6.99, $9.99 or €9.99
About Bryan Gale (developer) and Tim Shiel (composer)
Gale is a solo game developer who has previously worked for EA, King and Bossa. He’s been working on Induction on and off since 2013 and went through the Swedish Stugan accelerator program. Shiel is well-known game music composer who specialises in electronic music. He’s perhaps best known for the soundtrack of the game Duet.
Induction has a very simple graphical style that isn’t quite 8-bit but is certainly inspired by it. The game makes use of primary colours to denote your position in the timeline but these seem carefully chosen to avoid problems for the colourblind. There is also a grayscale version that can be switched on in settings.
The game is completely keyboard controlled and prompts you in game with which keys can be pressed. The keys are remappable and the skew of the platforms can be adjusted left or right with the input also separately flippable. The music and special effects can be controlled individually and neither is a requirement for gameplay.
It’s an elegant game in a minimalist style, beautifully crafted. Brian Gale explains it better:
Induction is an abstract puzzle game about time travel and paradoxes. As you master its logic, Induction aims to rewire how you think about cause and effect.
You are given the ability to jump through time, and must use this to solve puzzles by co-operating with your past selves. As the game progresses, you must choreograph your actions across multiple timelines, and explore the counter-intuitive possibilities your increasing powers permit. You will learn to construct seemingly impossible solutions, such as paradoxical time loops, where the future depends on the past and the past depends on the future.
Each of the more than 50 puzzles is crafted to give a unique view of the game’s meticulous internal logic, gently guiding players into realising the potential of their powers. Induction does not pander, but gives players the satisfaction of mastering an imaginary yet honest set of physical laws.
Genre: Puzzle game
Length of game: 50 levels
PEGI/ESRB: No rating, but no violence or triggers
Release Date: 7 February 2017
OS: Windows XP or higher
Processor: 1.5 GHz
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: 128 MB
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Storage: 300 MB available space
We based our Ergohacks Verdict on playing some levels of Induction via Steam. PC digital download code kindly provided by Brian Gale. This article was first published on the 7 February 2017 and last updated on 3 July 2017.