Push and Pull
Push and Pull, from Alexander Shen, is a very interesting take on... well, I am not entirely sure what that would be. It incorporates a lot of the hallmarks of a gravity game, but with a good dose of pattern-solving stirred in. Every level is a room, with your astronaut on the one side and the exit temptingly placed at the opposite end. Standing in the way of such release are razor-sharp spinning blades, either happily rotating in one spot or moving along invisible tracks at varying speeds. When you tap [space], your astronaut pushes forward into the room and towards the exit - the obvious goal is to have him reach that without smacking into one of the blades.
By manipulating lights at the bottom of the room, you can change the gravitational character of the vertical span above a light. Blue pushes the astronaut up, Red brings him down. Green and Yellow accelerate and slow down respectively, while Purple inverts the effects of the previous two colors. The rest is simple: find the pattern of colors that will guide the astronaut through the gauntlet and onto the exit. It's a process of trial-and-error that is surprisingly calming and definitely not something that will have you claw at your keyboard.
Okay, it has a little frustration in store for you, but this goes away once you understand how important timing is. Hitting [space] a second time will instantly restart the astronaut's run, so finding the right time to launch is often just a matter of tapping a few times until you get it right. Discovering the pattern is a bit more involved, but Push and Pull never establishes a tug-o-war of wits and lateral thinking.
So, what's love got to do with it? Push and Pull is about a guy trying to find his love (then finds her and has to deal with the aftermath). Strung along with a melodramatic soundtrack that borders on the melancholy, it works very well. It's just... space is a strange place to be when you are looking for your lost love. What the game does and why it exists are two very different things. But the story is non-intrusive and at times quite endearing.
Yet Push and Pull doesn't rise to its full glory. What you have here is a great game; a very short great game. It takes roughly an hour to crack all the sequences – that might seem like a lot, but it hardly scratches the surface of what this game can do with the bag of tricks it has in hand. But it's well worth firing up this love-story-meets-Event Horizon and completing it. If the developers release a lot more levels with some advanced challenges, it will be a big hit.