Expand PS4 Review

November 3, 2017 by  
Filed under PS4, Reviews & Features, PlayStation

Publisher: Chris Johnson, Chris Larkin  Developer: Chris Johnson, Chris Larkin  

Genre: Puzzle  Players: 1  Age Rating: 3+ 

Other console/handheld formats: N/A

Expand is a 2D maze-like puzzle game in which you guide a pink square block down white paths, all whilst avoiding touching anything coloured red, and being squished by anything coloured black that moves.

It’s a basic puzzle game in which the emphasis has been placed on movement and rhythm; the maze’s you navigate are circular in pattern and change as you progress. New paths open up, walls close in on you, blocks move with the threat of closing you in or flattening you; there’s always something moving that you have to overcome. Each maze has you testing certain abilities, such as your patience or speed, and Expand is definitely a game in which you need to memorise rhythms.

Levels are constantly moving, with there being a lot of variation. The movement is very hypnotising.

Accompanied with the gameplay is the relaxing soundtrack, and it helps to give the game an almost hypnotic feel – the circular mazes remind me of that swirling black and white pattern that is usually used to hypnotise people. Expand won’t quite pull you in the same way, but you’ll feel compelled to keep playing; I found short bursts of gameplay was satisfying enough as some of the puzzles can be tricky, and the repetition may tire you.

The mazes are the type in which, if you focus on the movement for too long, you’ll feel very disoriented and this will make it more likely that you’ll fail again and again. There’s no true logic to how you should progress; I found it best just to go with the flow and try to aim for the goal in one take. It doesn’t always quite work that way, but because of that hypnotic sensation the movement can cause, it is best not to focus too long on what is happening and just go for it.

Graphically there isn’t much to look at; there are very few colours, with black creating the boundaries of the maze – or other obstacles that can hurt you, such as moving blocks – and red is a no-no to touch. At times you’ll also have to push grey buttons to access other areas.

The mazes are varied and I do find it very clever how they have been worked out; black areas will meld into white areas and you have to cross quickly in order to move on, or the maze ‘expands’ as you move outward towards your goal, revealing more of the maze to you. There’s a nice flow to the game and it is yet another puzzle game that is simple but addictive, if better in small doses.