For many players, the original Continuity was a rare gem. It started out as a Flash title--a student project composed by the four-person crew of Ragtime Games--hosted on their website. The idea was simple, but also creative. The game is a sliding tile puzzle when zoomed out, but inside each piece is a platforming stage, requiring basic running and jumping. The object is to connect the tiles, making sure the level layouts inside align such that the character inside can maneuver around the world and find each level's key and exit. The inventive concept helped Continuity to win the Student Showcase award at the 2010 Independent Games Festival and the award for Most Innovative game at IndieCade 2010.
Continuity 2: The Continuation takes everything good about the first game and moves it the next step forward, bringing the series out of the free-to-play Flash realm and onto iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) as a universal app with a $0.99 price tag. The sequel also adds several new mechanics that makes it feel less like a student demonstration and more like a fleshed-out puzzle campaign.
Each level is split up into two distinct portions. There's the sliding tile puzzle portion of the game and the platforming element. The only aspect of the sliding tile puzzle that's changed since the first Continuity is the fact that moving puzzle pieces is now much easier, thanks to the touch screen interface of the various Apple devices. The bulk of the sequel's changes are evident in the platforming. One of these additions is the tilt function. Flipping your device to the side or upside-down will change gravity within the game, allowing the game's character to walk on walls and ceilings in order to reach new areas. It's a great way to take advantage of the iOS's capabilities and it makes Continuity 2 feel like it fits the iOS platform. Admittedly, it feels silly to flip around an iPad repeatedly, but this mechanic feels perfect for the portable iPhone and iPod Touch.
The other new addition is that coins are now spread across each level. Coin collecting is added as a secondary goal, which brings an extra degree of difficulty for completionists. Coins are used to unlock later levels, but are also used to unlock the target time feature. After collecting every coin in a level, the player is challenged to fully complete the level in an allotted time. These elements add a new sense of replay value that the first Continuity did not have and give me enough of a reason to come back to this game a second time.
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The best thing Continuity 2: The Continuation has going for it is that completing the more advanced levels offers a genuine sense of accomplishment. I ran into several levels that thoroughly tested my brain and my patience. Many of the levels require using a combination of many of the game's mechanics, as well as figuring out the correct layout of puzzle pieces. One of the levels late into World 3 laid out nine tile pieces and required repeated backtracking and full use of the tilt function. After ten minutes of agonizing over pieces that didn't fit and getting gouged by spikes, I felt pretty smart for figuring out the solution on my own.
This is ultimately the goal of every puzzle game: Challenge the player and offer an earned sense of pride when they solve each level. It's a feeling that I rarely get in puzzle games, but one that I got in Continuity 2.