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- June 20, 2022
It is that time of the year, when the sun is beaming down and all you want to do is enjoy it. May it be at the beach or just in your garden, most of us like to play some puzzles while we soak up the sun; thankfully for us it is not only the season of summer but also of puzzle games, and we now have a new addition to the genre: Meet me at NooN, a time manipulation puzzle game where you need to sync up your characters in some head scratching ways.
" Time Waits For No One. "
Meet me at NooN is not your stereotypical puzzle game, over the past few years I have covered only a handful of these time manipulation puzzle games.The good thing about playing around with time is that there are so many creative ways to do it, and Meet me at Noon is no exception. I was genuinely surprised at the flow of the game and the multiple different mechanics Pandaroo Interactive added to this game to try and keep it fresh throughout.
The objective of this puzzle game is to be able to move two characters to a designated spot on the level at the same time. Sounds easy in theory, the games mechanic is what will really stump you, well it sure did me! Each Hourglass spirit you control has a certain time mechanic. The Day character has a rewind mechanic: whatever set of moves you do will be reversed once it turns to Night’s Turn. At the beginning I was very confused as it is something new, that is until I looked at it like rewinding an old VCR tape (time before streaming for you young ones) then I was bending time like a wizard. Night has a replay mechanic: at the end of its turn it will return to the starting position then replay the moves out, so fundamentally you are creating a “recording” of your moves and then it is played back when you move onto the next character, essentially creating a mini time loop.
Thankfully Pandaroo is not so evil to you in the beginning, and gives you a timeline to see how many moves there are before the turn switches to the other character, and you can easily go back or forward in your moveset with a press of a key; of course you can always do a full level reset, if you get confused or lost.
“ Relax, & Challenge Yourself ”
The game is meant to be casual and relaxing and it really shows, as there is no penalty for dying (spoiler: there might be an achievement though!) or a time limit on your level: so take it at your own pace, thankfully for me, because I definitely need the extra time on this one.
With some clever mechanics, you might seem overwhelmed at first, until you get the hang of things. Meet me at Noon helps you out with this by giving “easy” levels to help you get used to the movement and the abilities of each character. When I did start off I felt good about myself, managing to “sync” these two characters up and even collect the star in the level, a fun extra challenge. Solving the levels gives you the sense of accomplishment, as puzzle games can often feel rewarding when you crack a head scratcher.
The kicker is it is also a double edged sword: around chapter 4 I found myself getting stuck on a certain level for a while, and when i moved on thanks to the ability of being able to skip levels and not hard locked out if stuck (always appreciate this in a video game), I found myself clearing the next ones with no problem.
That made me ask myself why shouldn’t I be able to do a previous level, when I can easily do the next one in succession. I understand the need to maybe break up the levels with a change in difficulty, but I started to lose the sense of progression even when I tried to come back, I still could not complete it. The difficulty does ramp up pretty quickly even if you can move on. Personally if a few levels were switched about it would really improve on how long I could play without suffering burnout.
Yet the whole time I never got too frustrated or annoyed, I kept wanting to challenge myself and that is what puzzle games are about at the end of the day. Pandaroo Interactive have really gone all out to try and make the game feel chill and relaxed, by offering us a unique theme, beautiful art and a gorgeous soundtrack to help keep you in that zen mode while you solve mind boggling puzzles. I see myself and others losing hours on this, and honestly would be perfect for a handheld so I can start my morning off with some puzzles.
- A Beautiful Time Manipulation Puzzle That Remains Both Challenging & Charming7
“ Meet me at NooN gives you a beautiful yet challenging puzzle experience, with its unique mechanics, a mellow soundtrack and a relaxing art style. You could easily lose hours in this game. Midway through the game you can lose the feeling of progression, but with a few levels swapped about it will bring it back. If you want a game to unwind and challenge yourself, you should definitely try this for something that is fresh,charming and fun.”