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Mobile puzzle games are popular in the mobile market. In fact, you will find tons of them just on the front page of the App Store or Play Store. However, what makes a good puzzle game or even a great one? Faraway: Puzzle Escape is one of those that finds a good balance between a visually-appealing and challenging game but not impossible space. Faraway tells the story of an adventurer who follows the footsteps of their father who disappeared ten years ago and in the ruins of the ancient temples find notes scattered and hidden about. On one hand, it does tell a story but on the other hand, it’s an adventure in solving the mysterious puzzles that block the path to the gateway to each successive level.
The story in Faraway is quite complimentary. There are three notes to find in each level and they can be hidden under rocks or in various artifacts that you can break. They may even be in plain sight. However, there is no obligation to find all the notes to proceed, which makes them merely a side quest. When we do find notes, the story is not engaging enough and becomes disjointed due to its lack of completion. Therefore, the meat of this mobile game is in its great puzzles. The gameplay mechanics are done very well. It uses details well and it’s up to the observational skills of its players to decipher the solutions. The levels increase in complexity gradually and become multi-layered and often use a variety of puzzles styles or expands from one puzzle to the next. This makes for a creative and thought provoking experience and one that is challenging but not frustrating or impossible. If you can’t solve the puzzle yet, it is because you have missed something in your observations.
Faraway however is not a completely free experience. It offers the first nine levels of the game (aka one half of the game) for free and charges a small fee for the second half. While trials are great, Faraway does aim to have a story that never becomes integral to the experience making it not necessary to buy the rest of the game. For those invested into the puzzle experience, it is disappointing to have to be cut short from the experience to purchase more levels. Perhaps, a finite game such as Faraway should have taken the ad revenue approach instead.
Overall, Faraway: Puzzle Escape is a great diverse puzzle adventure. It has beautiful visuals and the gameplay mechanics are polished. However, it falls short on delivering a story to make this a more complete experience.
Game description: Faraway: Puzzle Escape, developed by Snapbreak Games and published by Mouse City, is a 3D mobile puzzle adventure set in the ruins of ancient temples and a modern tribute to Myst.