Induction was one of the first games that introduced the concept of not using text or tutorials to instruct a player to me. I’ve since grown to love this mechanical choice, and Induction remains one of the best examples of how teach a player without actually saying anything. This is all the more impressive because of how difficult Induction’s puzzles are
Induction will frustrate and confuse you. It will cause your brain to hurt. And then, in a moment that can only be described as the most glorious “a-ha” moment you’re likely to have had, you’ll get it and love every time-bending second of it.
Induction is an abstract puzzle game about time travel and paradoxes. As you master its logic, Induction aims to rewire how you think about cause and effect.
You are given the ability to jump through time, and must use this to solve puzzles by co-operating with your past selves. As the game progresses, you must choreograph your actions across multiple timelines, and explore the counter-intuitive possibilities your increasing powers permit. You will learn to construct seemingly impossible solutions, such as paradoxical time loops, where the future depends on the past and the past depends on the future.
The mechanics of Induction all focus around it internal logic of time travel. It was initially a little odd to think of induction as a game about time travel; it looks like something more akin to a puzzle platformer, but the two concepts are not mutually exclusive, and Induction is ENTIRELY about time travel. in every level you have a spot you need to get your cube to. After the introductory levels (more on those later), you’ll have to figure out how to create a path to that spot by activating bridges our pathways, often at a very specific time.
You accomplish this by choreographing time loops. You very quickly gain the ability to jump through time, seeming a former version of yourself performing the very action you performed in the exact timing you performed them in. you’ll need to plan ahead and time yourself to make sure all the right movements are made to reveal you path to the end of the level.
Induction logic is watertight. Complex, mind bending and at times incredibly frustrating, but watertight. It becomes very clear very quickly what you can and cannot do in this version of time travel, what will cause solution-ruining paradoxes, and what you can game for success. I think I was most surprised by how important patience was in Induction. At times, you’ll simply need to sit and wait, giving your future self time to move into the correct position, before continuing on into that very future yourself. I can see some people being annoyed by the necessity to stop and do nothing for a while, but once i realized the inherent power of waiting, I loved it and Induction become a much slower, more tactical game for me.
Typically, I would spend one or two attempts feeling out the level, learning what buttons activated what, where I could go, which drops i could get up and which i could not. Then i’d sit. My brain would race with ideas and potential solution, when and where to travel in time, and which routes to open first.
Then I’d execute my plan, inevitably fail and have to go back to the beginning.
Induction’s tough. REALLY tough, and inevitably some people will get frustrated with its difficulty. However, like so many games with high difficulty, the pay off is that much sweeter. When you do solve a puzzle in Induction, its a fantastic feeling of accomplishment and success.
Aesthetically, Induction does a number of subtle things that work spectacularly well. The minimalist levels and blocks being moved the player are all defined in crisp lines, with bold solid colors that make distinguishing levels and platforms very easy; an important factor when every move has to be planned out meticulously. The colors of the levels, background and pieces of Induction actually shift very gradually over the entire color spectrum as you play the game, which I though was a fantastic effect, and is seamlessly executed.
The music of Induction also deserves a specific mention. Tim Shiel has created a wonderfully ambient soundtrack that responds to your progress in an equally as seamless way as the shifting colors of the levels. It’s always surprisingly happy, and brought a smile to my face every time a new refrain
Induction is easily one of the best puzzle games I’ve ever played. Not only does it look and sound fantastic, but it is wholly and completely challenging, while being trusting enough to let you, the player, figure everything out. It respects your intelligence in a way many games do not, and it’s a refreshing feeling. Granted, at times, this means you have to think really REALLY hard to figure the game out, and this isn’t always a relaxing prospect. If you’re willing to step up and put your mind to these time-bending puzzle, Induction will not disappoint.
Make sure to take a look at our IndieDev Interview with Bryan Gale if you’d like to learn more about Induction’s inspiration and his journey as an indie developer.