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Blueprint 3D is one of those really neat, simple ideas that is the hallmark of a good puzzle game. In it, you are presented with a series of random dots and lines and must twist them around on the vertical and horizontal axes to form a picture of some well-known object (the Eiffel Tower, a question mark, a panda and so on). Completing the picture will allow you to move to the next level, whilst the there is also the additional challenge of completing the level as quickly as you can to be awarded the maximum of three stars.
The presentation in Blueprint 3D is simple, but well executed. The game area has an overhead perspective, as though you are sitting at a draftsman's desk staring at a blueprint. This means that most of the levels are set against the usual type of blueprint paper (blue background with white lines forming a grid). Initially, I was slightly concerned that the blue background might become a strain on the eyes after a while, but in fact the opposite is true - the background actually proves quite restful and easy to look at. The game "pieces" (the bits of the puzzle you are trying to assemble into an image) are clearly defined against this background as a series of lines or dots of differing length or size so it's immediately clear what can be moved around and what is simply part of the background.
Sound is similarly minimalist, but appropriate to the game. A pleasant enough little tune plays unobtrusively in the background, giving ambient sound without breaking your concentration. Sound effects are mostly limited to things like clicks as the pieces slot into place. This is not an issue as this type of game is best suited to minimal presentation - over the top tunes and dozens of sound effects would have destroyed the pleasing sense of simplicity that matches the gameplay.
Controls are similarly to pick up and essentially boil down to swiping your fingers across the screen (to move the pieces around on a horizontal axis) or up and down (to move them on a vertical axis). Of course, you can also combine these, swiping and across and up/down at the same time to move pieces across two planes at once. These controls are brilliantly simple to pick up, easy to get your mind around and straightforward to master. The game is highly responsive and you can see your moves being executed in real time. The movement of pieces is very fluid and this can help you spot where you think some pieces might intersect with each other to form a part of the final image.
Despite strong presentation and excellent controls, though, Blueprint 3D has a number of things going against it that limit the enjoyment, for me at least. First of all, you have no idea of what shape you are trying to form. When you reach a new level, you are simply presented with the dots and lines and no idea of what they are supposed to make, so reaching the final solution simply becomes a case of trial and error. It would have been better if a thumbnail of the final image was displayed in one corner of the screen, giving you a clue what you were aiming for. Imagine being given the pieces of a 5000 piece jigsaw without the box and told to complete it - it's a lot harder and a lot less fun without the final picture on the lid, isn't it?
So it proves with Blueprint 3D. Without any idea of what I was supposed to be creating, the game became a case of starting to just randomly twist the screen around in the hopes that some sort of vague pattern might emerge. The trouble with this approach is that several times, I found myself solving a particular level merely by chance - I just happened to twist things in the right combination of directions. For a puzzle game like this, solving levels by chance and not brainpower is not a very satisfying game mechanic.
I also found it highly frustrating because I could sit there for ages moving my fingers up and down and left and right and see absolutely no pattern emerging. By this time, of course, I would be totally lost as to how the pieces had started out and really was just making random moves in the hope that something might happen. If you do get stuck, you can hit the Reset button to put the pieces back to their original position, or use the Hints to help you. You get five of these to start with and can buy in more if you run out via in-app purchases.
I also didn't find the scoring mechanism terribly rewarding. There's no objective other than to complete all the levels and (if you're a completist) get three stars on each. The trouble is this wasn't very compelling. Perhaps because I found the game so tricky, there was no addiction factor and I very quickly found myself getting bored with the too-similar levels (the only real difference between them is the picture you are trying to create). Similarly, since reaching the next level appeared to rely mostly on chance, I didn't get much sense of achievement; and there was certainly no compunction to go back and try and get three stars.
It's entirely possible that how much you enjoy this game will come down to how your brain works. I struggle to think in 3D terms (I'm one of those people who can't envisage what a finished room or building will look like from plans), so it's perhaps natural that I struggle with this title. If you've got a brain that works in the right way, however, you could well find this an enjoyable title. If you've got a brain that does work in 3D, I think you'd probably want to add at least one extra star to my rating. With dozens of levels (and additional level packs available via in-app purchases), it will offer a real long-term challenge.
You do need quite a bit of patience - something I'm not renowned for - and I find the game too slow and frustrating to be enjoyable. If you are the type that really enjoys puzzles (even ones that stack the odds against you), then you may well enjoy Blueprint 3D. I'm afraid for me, however, it's a case of "nice idea, but not the one for me, thank you very much".
At just 69p to download, it's not going to break the bank for you to see which side of the fence you sit on, but I think that this is definitely a marmite title. I really wanted to like it because (despite my lack of patience), I do enjoy puzzle games. However, this was way too frustrating and quickly consigned to the "rarely played" section of my phone.
© Copyright SWSt 2012