It can be difficult to find time to complete a video game, especially if you only have a few hours a week to play. In our biweekly column Short game we recommend video games that can be started and completed in a weekend.
A level of Perchang on the move looks like a Rube Goldberg machine. You could see small footballs being blown around the screen by giant turbines, or perhaps they are hit with paddles from a pinball machine. Play Perchang gives you control over that Rube Goldberg machine. Although it looks a lot like a simplified version of the classic puzzle game Lemmingsand it's just that hard.
The conceit of both Perchang and Lemmings is that a steady stream of something flows into the puzzle room. In Perchang they are playing football while in Lemmings it is … good lemmings. In both, you are responsible for finding a way to safely guide a certain number to the exit of the level. In Lemmings, you are able to do this by instructing some of the lemmings to build stairs, or to dig, or to prevent the others from passing a point, leaving the solutions open-ended for a certain stage to be.
Perchang simplifies this by giving you certain parts of the environment that you can operate. These parts are colored red or blue to match the two buttons that you press to activate them, but you can change the color of a part as you play. This means that you not only have to get the soccer balls to the exit with the parts you have control over, but also find out which parts should be assigned to which button so that you can remove them.
To use the level shown below, the spouts on both sides release the balls one by one, back and forth between the two, while the balls must move up into the pipe at the top of the screen. When the level starts, the flipper on the left on the left is blue, while the right on the right is red, along with the fan. Due to the standard level of the level, hitting the red button activates both the right paddle and the fan, but since the fan must remain on constantly to solve the puzzle, both flippers must be assigned to the same button. Otherwise it will be very difficult to get enough balls in the collector within the time limit.
As the game progresses, more of these devices are introduced. It starts with simple platforms that rotate or move up and down, and then spread to things like the aforementioned fans, before moving on to the much more complicated things like portals and rings that reverse the gravity of the balls that travel through them.
The more difficult levels not only contain these more complex devices, but often combine a number of them, so that there are five or six different devices that must be precisely synchronized to control each other to get a ball to the exit. In these later puzzles, the game can feel a bit uncomfortable, because you have to figure out which things should be mapped on which button and in which rhythm you should activate things. Sometimes the difference between a ball passing through the level or not, touching a button for seemingly a fraction of a second is too long or too short.
It is not enough to prevent me from recommending this game. You just have to have the right expectations for what the puzzles of your questions are. Perchang is easier Lemmingsbut not an easier one.