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Published 19.10.2021 00:00
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sugar (game) review

Bart Bonte's games are always a fun surprise. For the last few years, he's been putting out cheeky puzzle games inspired by colors. His most recent of those--Pink--is definitely worth checking out if you haven't already. His latest release breaks from his color streak and instead focuses on an ingredient. sugar (game) is all about catching grains of sugar in mugs by hand-drawing paths to direct individual grains as they float down through the air.

Sugar we're going down

sugar (game) is all about controlling individual grains of sugar. The only problem is, you can't do anything to move them directly. Every level starts with a spout that sprays out sugar grains that float gently downward thanks to gravity. The only way you can hope to control them is by drawing lines on screen to create ramps, funnels, and other things to guide these granules to their proper cups.

Cups are always your goal in sugar (game), with the amount of sugar each one needs clearly labeled on it. In early levels, you usually just have one cup to worry about, but the further you get into the experience, you find yourself dividing and routing sugar between cups, having to use gravity-reversing mechanics, and more.

Control your sugar intake

As sugar (game)'s levels get more complicated, you have to be a lot more strategic with how you draw lines and control the flow of sugar. You only have a limited amount of these grains per level, so you don't want any to get wedged in a crevasse or fall into the wrong cup.

If you do find yourself in a tight spot, the game offers some reserve sugar you can activate after the initial load has automatically dumped out. In the event that even those reserves don't cut it, there's a restart button in the upper-right corner of the screen that instantly resets the level to its original state.

Moderate your diet

The free-form puzzling that comes from trying to shepherd and finesse individual grains of sugar is a neat idea that works pretty well. I found myself excited to see the new layouts and mechanics of each new level and how they'd force me to change my tactics.

Unfortunately, though, I reached a point in the game where the novelty wore off and new levels started feeling like recycled ideas that have been mixed and matched to extend the length of the game. If I was more patient with some of the trial and error in sugar (game), I'm sure I'd welcome the additional length and challenge present here, but I found myself rolling my eyes by the end, as each new level seemed to be yet another version of something I had seen before.

The bottom line

sugar (game) has a novel premise and fun mechanics, but they wear thin before you've reached the end of the game. Perhaps fans of physics puzzlers who are ok with trying and retrying challenges might get a lot of mileage here, but I would've much prefered a tighter experience that focused on novelty over length and challenge. It's still a fun game, but you might get tired of it before you finish.

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