Lines XL is the third of a series of NumberLink-based puzzle games. It was preceded by Lines X and Lines Infinite. Developer Hook.gg has developed a standard puzzle game that is pretty prevalent today. It has many of the same features as others, was designed to be picked up and played in short bursts or longer play. It, in essence, is a casual puzzle game that was designed for casual gamers.
The gameplay is easy at first but builds in complexity as you progress in the levels. Puzzles start out small with a few simple steps filling only a portion of the screen. As you progress puzzles become larger filling more of the screen and taking longer to complete. Lines XL does one thing that makes it stand out from the rest of the puzzle games.
The game allows you to access all five hundred levels from the beginning. You can jump in and begin playing at level one, level five hundred or any of the other levels in between. This choice of playing levels at my choosing gave the game more of my interest as I was able to skip levels that I had been frustrated with and play the other levels that most games would have hidden behind an unlocking mechanism that would only let you progress so far until you solved the previous ones. The game has plenty of replayability as you can play levels multiple times and pick and choose your puzzles from the five pages of level choices.
Controls and Features
The game’s controls are simple: you use a to select and deselect the number and use the d-pad or L-stick to connect the lines around and connect the puzzle. To put it simply you use the controls to create lines between the color-coded numbers in circles leaving no blank dots on the screen. This at some points is easier said than done as finding the right path can be difficult at times. The game does allow you to undo wrong line connections and try again to find the right connections to solve the puzzle. The plus button is used to exit the level if you get stuck. The use of a small portion of buttons for the game makes it accessible to the casual gamers that it was created for. The game consists of 500 levels that get more complicated the farther you go. It adds more numbers and colors as you progress.
Music and Art
The game has a relaxing soundtrack that is soothing as you attempt to solve the puzzles. The backgrounds are varying colors with brighter colored numbers in circles on the puzzles for you to connect. The soothing music and calming backgrounds are a welcome part of the game as some puzzles will leave you frustrated trying to figure them out. The colors of the circles that you find the numbers vary from level to level. The backgrounds are varied throughout the levels giving you at least a changing background to the monotony of a game that is very repetitive. The colors range from different hues of blue, green, and purple to name a few. They are all calming colors that go along with the soothing sounds of the music.
Lines XL by Hook.gg does what it is designed to do, be a puzzle game for quick short bursts of play that many casual gamers look for. After trying out many of the levels, I found the game to be perfect for the casual gamer. Hardcore gamers would find this game like so many other puzzle games, not for them. That being said the Nintendo Switch is the perfect home for Lines XL as it has become the system for both casual and hardcore gamers alike. Was this game for me? As a gamer who enjoys both casual and hardcore games, I found myself picking up this game and playing when I needed to waste a little time. Any more than that and I found myself getting frustrated and having to put it down.