Video game nowadays seem to all be about spectacular graphics or realistic physics, so when you come across a game like Expand you can’t help but take your time to look into it and wonder why the developers in this day and age of gaming would decided to put you in charge of a little pink box and have the player guide it through a circular world? I watched a few videos of the game before playing it and thought; why would anyone want to play this? There is no big bosses, no levelling up and not even cool guns attach to my box. It was only when I actually sat down and played through Expand did I fully understand why the developers made this game. It was engaging, challenging but most of all simple (and that’s isn’t a bad thing).
So what is Expand; it’s a 2D indie game where the player has to guide a little pink square through a circular worlds. As you move through the world it will rotate, unfold and even expand around you giving you different paths to navigate through. The core game is spilt up into five different stages and each one offer a different puzzle experience of exploration and challenges.
The only controls that this game has is its navigation, moving the pink cube around and making sure to avoid any of the obstacles the world throws at you. I personally loved coming home from work and just loading this game and trying to move through the different stages. Granted I did get frustrated every now and then as the difficult for the game was so varied depending on certain labyrinths but oddly enough I found it relaxing and found myself more determined to finish the game. As I progressed I couldn’t wait for what the game would throw at me next to try and trip me up and with its Soundtrack to accompany it, I personally had been looking for a game like this for a while that was simple and easy to jump in and out of, I could just switch off from the outside world, put some headphones on and get lost in its music and trying to navigate through each stage. It strongly reminded me of The Impossible Game which also took many hours off me when I was in school, which in a way made Expand feel somewhat nostalgic to me as well.
Visually the game is amazing but at the same time can get some getting us to. For a 2D game it really packs a punch with its visuals, the way that the world throws psychedelic patterns at you for you to navigate through really makes each stage different and never really feel the same, there are red patterns that you have to avoid otherwise you’d have to go back to a checkpoint and start that puzzle sequence again. I got stuck on some of the sequences for so long that by the end of it I has the movement and patterns memorised and was able to get through them with ease.
I wasn’t expecting much from Expand when I first loaded the game but after a few minutes of playing it I completely changed my mind. The visually elements in this game really are its selling point and make for some complex puzzles to worm your little pink cube through and when you mix it with the soundtrack it really makes for a relaxing and gripping experience. Like mentioned above the game is very simplistic but that isn’t a problems that I faced with this game. The only negatives that I have are that the difficult can drastically change and there isn’t a balance to it, like you would have thought of were that it would get progressively hard as you went on but this wasn’t the case and lastly it is very short. I managed to finish the whole thing and platinum it within two sittings of two to three hours. So incredible short in my opinion. It could have probably been done quicker with someone better playing it I would imagine. The price currently sits at £7.99 for the game so again a bit much, though would highly recommend people to look out for it on sale, if you’re into puzzle games or just want something different because not going to lie the pros for the game out way the cons. You’ll definitely get some enjoyment out of this little indie game.