Expand – Preview
Follow Genre: puzzle
Developers: Chris Johnson and Chris Larkin
Publishers: Chris Johnson and Chris Larkin
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Tested on: PC

Expand – Preview

Good: Great concept, amazing music
Bad: Not really one at this point
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Society expects a lot of us nowadays and this is certainly something we notice. People are getting more and more stressed and don’t have that much time anymore. Games are sometimes seen as stress relievers, but Expand is a game that is made for meditative purposes. It is still in Steam Greenlight, but we already got the chance to take a look at it.

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We were a bit surprised by the underlying thought Expand offers. There isn’t a real story but you’re immersed in a circular world that has a relaxing effect. The only thing you have to do is go with the flow and follow the path the labyrinth gives you. It isn’t clear yet if there really is a story behind it, as you only get bits and pieces of information at certain parts in the game. It seems that you might find a way out of the maze, but you will need to do some searching and puzzling to find your way. It is a labyrinth after all.

Taking a look at the graphics, you will notice that you’re a pinkish square in a black area with white and with a splash of red now and then. The background will be in the dark colour as the circles are in the light one. You will only notice red parts at certain places in the maze. These are the only colours you’ll see and although most other games use a wide range of colours, it isn’t really bothersome and has a great effect when playing the game.

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The music of Expand is one of its biggest assets. You will be submerged in some really nice tones and classical rhythms with a touch of modern vibes. The developers advise to use decent headphones and it really makes a difference when playing Expand. You feel like you’re shut off from your environment and it helps to get you into the game. Next to that, the game offers to alter the sound volume but there aren’t any effects to be found. It might be that this will be added though.

As stated before, Expand is a puzzle game that will take you on a journey to relaxation and might stir a heartstring. You are a small square in a circular world on a trip in a maze. How the labyrinth actually works is quite spectacular and it might take you a bit to get used to. The circular forms will be emerging from the centre of the monitor or in other words, the labyrinth will expand. When you’re returning back to the edges of the screen, the circles will be disappearing again in the centre. At other times, parts of the maze might appear when you cross a certain trigger or some parts might start moving and so on. Before you can actually continue, you need to solve puzzles and although this is a meditative game, you can die. Don’t worry though, you will reset and you can start anew. The red areas in the game need to be avoided as well, as you will die a painful dead (not really but it makes it a bit more dramatic).

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The developers also recommend to use a controller and it is an advice that you should follow as it is really hard to navigate your square with your keyboard. The meditative aspect turns into irritation as it is hard to move in the circles.

Expand has an editor mode as well, in which you can create your own levels. The possibilities with this editor seem endless as you can trigger certain movements with tones from music and so on. We will definitely give you a more detailed explanation in the review.

Conclusion

Chris Johnson and Chris Larkin started on this game around 2011 and they did their best to provide something that is a bit challenging but also takes you on a meditative trip. The graphics might be simple but it fits the context, just as the music is made for a game that handles a topic like this. Expand should be released in September of this year and we’re looking forward to the completed version.

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Chun-Li
Chun-Li


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1 Comment

  1. 3rd-strike.com | Expand – Review
    October 19, 2015, 1:20 am

    […] A while ago, we had the chance to test Expand. This game is made for meditative purposes as it is meant to relieve stress and calm you down, especcially in this hectic society. To give you an idea, ease your mind and read this review. […]

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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