Video Game Micron (PC) (2014)

Micron (PC) (2014)


Relevant Links:
Micron Website
Micron (Steam Store Page)

Overview:
Micron is a puzzler where the goal is to get a ball to reach the exit. With gates and other obstacles in the way, the player will need to figure out how to use the panels and/or portals at his/her disposal to manipulate the incoming balls as necessary.

Game Instructions 1 of 2
Game Instructions 2 of 2
So I placed the two panels like so and voila!
20151105:
I decided to play from start to finish. Most levels were straightforward, but some were challenging. The first challenge came after one hour: Level 46. In fact, I was stuck on it for an hour before giving up. At that point I went back to earlier gray and orange levels: 7, 12, 17, 20, 26 (3-4 min), 30, 35 (2-3 min), 43. Then there I was. Back at Level 46.

Fortunately after returning to the level I was able complete it within 1-2 minutes. Unfortunately the level that it unlocked, Level 47, was a decent challenge and took me about 10 minutes to solve. Then Level 49 took 4-5 minutes, but Level 50 and Level 51 were easy again.


While this concluded the main game, there were also twelve bonus levels to complete. With the except of Bonus Level 11 which took about 10 minutes to complete and Bonus Level 12 which took about 7 minutes to complete, the first ten bonus levels each took an average of 2.4 minutes to complete.

In contrast, with the exception of Level 46, 47, and 49, the other forty-eight levels each took an average of 1.5 minutes to complete (70 min/48 levels). Further excluding Level 26 and 35, most regular levels took about 1.4 minutes to complete (64 min/46 levels).


Set-Up:
After a brief look at the controls and trying to use mouse and keyboard, I decided to use a controller. The controls on the controller were intuitive: use the D-Pad/Analog to move the cursor, press a button to place a piece, and use the LB and LR buttons to switch between pieces. Apparently the Mouse/Keyboard setup can actually achieve the same set of controls, but would require a bit of memorization or configuration.

Thoughts:
Pros:
+ Music. As the balls interact with panels and obstacles they will make percussive noises resulting in a pleasant aural experience.
+ A variety of difficulty.


+ Community-generated levels.

Neutral:
~ Beaten in 3.2 hours, the game is fairly short. However, I'm not sure I'd want to play much more of the game anyways.

Comparison:
After a couple of levels, I found the game similar to another puzzle game called Ichi (PC) (2014). While mostly similar, there are some subtle differences.


First, Ichi requires a set-up phase and when the user is ready, presses start and may be required to interact with the solution in real time. In contrast, Micron has an ongoing solution process where the user tends to solve one part of a level and then adds additional pieces to solve the rest of it.

While there may be some fast-paced moments like in Ichi, Micron focuses more on the solution and less on the action. Overall, I find this a likable aspect.


Second, Micron felt like it had more clarity in its puzzles than Ichi had. In particular, I remember one puzzle in Ichi which I felt as if I had solved by chance. Third, Micron gives users a little flexibility in terms of level selection. While subtle, it adds a nice touch to the level select menu and just a little bit of a challenge.

In any case, I definitely enjoyed Micron more than Ichi.

Recommendation:
Overall, I would recommend Micron to other puzzle lovers out there. As mentioned, Micron is more well-rounded than Ichi and I especially liked the music.

Steam: 3.2 hours

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