Cameron Nutter - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:


Computer Platform: PC (Windows)
Produced by: Pi Eye Games / Slave Circus Entertainment
Price Range: $11-20
Learning curve time: 31-60 min.
Age level: All Ages
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
System Requirements: Processor: 450 Mhz[more]

     Reviewed By: Cameron (evileye)

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆
Genre: Puzzle
Rating: 5 of 5 (excellent)
Gameplay: 3 of 5 (average)
Violence: 5 of 5 (none)
Adult Content: 5 of 5 (none)

Circulate.  Illustration copyrighted.

Circulate has a very creative and unique concept working for it. In the middle of the screen is a very large circle, which by clicking the right mouse button, and moving your mouse either direction makes it spin in circles, moving all the items inside the large circle. Inside the circle, you have little marble looking things. You then have to spin the world around and match up the marbles that are the same color. In other levels, you have snowballs and hot coals, which you then burn the snowballs on the hot coals to make them disappear. It gets even more advanced when you get magnets and magnetic marbles, or when you can only turn the level to a certain point before you loose.

While the concept of Circulate is a cool one, it doesn’t quite get the ball rolling. The levels can get quite hard at times, some that are just insanely hard, although it does let you skip levels to a certain point.

The graphics are sleek and clean. The background outside the level you are working on reminds me of the 60’s, with crazy colors flying around. When you get a bunch of marbles together, their exploding animations are quite cool. Besides that, there isn’t really that much to say about the graphics.

Circulate.  Illustration copyrighted.

There are a bit of control problems, which add to the hardness of some levels. The controls feel a little slow and clunky. At some points, the level just decided to spin in circles for a few seconds, which totally threw off my game. There is a option to adjust how fast the level spins around, but I didn’t notice it helping me at all.

The levels themselves, apart from the random one that is just way too hard, are quite creative. But, the entire game feels like a extra long tutorial, because every five or so levels, they introduce another factor into the game, and mostly forget about the previous one that they taught you in the last level. Once is a while, they throw a level in the middle that includes all the previous techniques that you had learned, but then it just goes back to the way it was, showing you new things every few levels, but it did seem to add a certain amount of freshness to the gameplay. Each level is timed, and it ranks you by how fast you managed to beat the level. That is nice and all, but considering the clock doesn’t stop for another second or so after you beat the level really kills the fun in getting a faster time. You could finish a level in ten seconds, but the clock will continue for another second, giving you eleven seconds for a score, which, when you are trying to beat someone-else’s time, is not a good thing. (I am not sure if this is a bug or if it is supposed to be that way, it is possible that they will fix it with a patch)

Circulate.  Illustration copyrighted.

Some of the levels also take a long time to finish. In the early stages, the game starts you off with levels that wouldn’t last longer than about 20 seconds. Towards the end, they start to last a minute or more. On levels like that, you are usually fumbling around with the puzzles that are too hard or ones that just require lots of pointless running around, and it just gets on your nerves. The longest a level in a game like this should be is about 40 seconds at the most, or it starts to get tedious.

The music is actually very well done. It has a very soothing sound to it, and I found my self pausing the game just to listen to the music. The sounds of the game are quite well done, and the little voice before each level that says “Get Ready” is quite cute as well.

Even with the frustrating levels and controls, the game is quite addicting, which is a good thing for puzzle games! I find myself going back to the fun puzzles and playing them over and over again until I beat my time record, then I set off to beat that one too. It is great game to just sit down and play a few rounds before going off and doing something, or to play while you are waiting for a download or your dinner to be ready. You can pick it up, play it and put it back down quite fast.

Circulate.  Illustration copyrighted.

I think that this game has tons of potential. I felt that the thing that was holding this great game back the most was the buggy controls. Overall this is a this a difficult puzzle game that will keep hardcore puzzle players busy for hours.

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Year of Release — 2008

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Answers Network.

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