I’ve only owned Android smartphones. Back when I first got my device, my friends told me that iOS had better games and more of them so I was somewhat regretful that I’d gotten an Android. Fastforward a few years and it seems that Android has a great deal of games now available – many of which suffice as iOS game alternatives.
There are many Android games that deserve praise, many of which are logic-based puzzle games like Move the Box and Unblock Me, although there are a few action games like Death Worm to seal the deal. (Looking for more? Check out our Best Android Games page or the Best iPhone Games page).
Color me glad to announce that I’ve found yet another fantastic logical mobile puzzle game that will calmly pick your mind and stump you regularly. It’s called Quell and it’s available on both Android (Free) and iOS ($1.99).
The title screen is often the first impression that you have of any app, but it’s especially true for games. There are some games that I’ve instantly exited due to shoddy menus or unpolished graphics. Quell is not one of those games. You may not think much of the screenshot above, but it hooked me from the start.
Quell’s graphics are subtle with lots of depth. Not actual depth, but depth of color and theme. There is a pleasant and calming nature to this game despite the fact that it’s a logical puzzler; puzzlers are often known for being beyond frustrating. But Quell has a polished tranquility that shines all throughout the game. Let me show you what I mean.
Most mobile games, whether Android or iOS or otherwise, don’t have much of an overall theme. Sure, the gameplay might have objectives and these objectives probably fit into a particular aesthetic, but Quell does something that I rarely see. The entire game is framed within this idea of pictures, history, and memories.
The stage selection is a great example. Instead of just picking a stage, Quell is somewhat unique: the backdrop is a bookshelf full of photo frames. Each shelf is a set of photos that share a particular aesthetic (you can see the years in the screenshot above). Each photo is a stage and each stage contains 4 levels.
The goal, of course, is to complete a shelf in order to unlock the next shelf. This goes on until you hit the last shelf. In practical terms, it’s no different than most level selections in games, but the added thematic quality is a breath of fresh air to me.
Here’s the actual gameplay. Quell centers around a blue ball that you move around by swiping on the screen. The catch is that when you swipe, the ball moves in a straight line until it hits an obstacle, then it stops. Only then can you swipe again and move the ball in a different direction. In order to beat a level, you have to collect all of the pearls.
The difficulty is that you need to collect the pearls in as few swipes as possible. At the top left, you can see two numbers: 0 (7). The 0 is how many swipes I’ve made so far. The 7 is the optimal score for this level. In other words, if you can beat the level in 7 swipes, that’s a perfect score.
When you complete a level, you’ll see the completion screen above. Seems pretty normal, right? Well, it is.
The game tracks your best scores on each level, giving you replay incentives so you can beat your previous scores until you reach perfection on every level. Whenever you beat a level with a perfect score, you gain 1 Coin. There are achievements, too; if you earn them, like the Minimalist achievement in the screenshot above, you can gain extra Coins.
Coins are used to skip levels that you just can’t beat. It costs 2 Coins to skip a level. Keep in mind that the levels actually do become quite hard after a while, so try to save your Coins whenever possible. If you ever run out of Coins, you can buy more using real money.
Lastly, there’s a Progress screen that you can check whenever you want. This screen tracks your progress throughout the game: how many pearls you’ve got, how many Coins you currently have, how many levels you still need to beat and how many levels you still need to perfect. There’s another tab that tracks all of the achievements you’ve earned, too.
The free version of Quell is supported by ads. If you want to remove ads, or if you just want to support the developer for creating such a well-designed game, you can purchase the paid version of Quell for $1.99. Quell Reflect (Android and iOS) is the latest addition to the Quell series of games and it will challenge you in other ways.
Quell Android download link (Free)
Quell iOS download link ($1.99)
I actually lost an hour of my life while reviewing this mobile puzzle game. It entranced me so deeply that I didn’t even realize I was playing it. In addition, the music for this game is phenomenal: extremely atmospheric and soft on the nerves. I would listen to it all day if I could.
Play this game if you haven’t already. It’s far less frustrating than something like Alchemy, yet just as rewarding, if not more. You won’t regret it.