Sometimes simplicity is key. Don't get us wrong, flashy mechanics and fancy art styles are great but to make a game fun, all you really need are solid systems and an easily recognisable goal. For Perchang, developed by Perchang Games, it's this simplicity that helps it work as a puzzle title. By making simple levels that require sometimes complex solutions, you get an experience that has more depth than first impressions may lead you to believe.
First released as a mobile game on iOS, Perchang is a physics-based puzzle title which has now launched on the Switch, bringing 70 levels of fun to the platform. Using simple mechanics tied to around four buttons on the console, Perchang tasks players with moving small metallic balls across a level and into a funnel. The reason behind this challenge still baffles us however it's not about the destination but rather the journey. To help these balls with their trip, players will have control over several different systems, operated by clicking the ZL and ZR triggers on the Switch, represented by red and blue colours respectively (which is important to remember for later). This is where the game gets a little confusing as these two buttons actually operate multiple systems.
For example, one press of the ZR trigger may move a paddle, activate a fan and even cause the anti-gravity gates to operate for a short period. This means that you'll actually have to manage how and when you pull a trigger as it may cause an impact further on in your planned journey. To help with the multiple systems, players can choose which mechanisms operate on each trigger by changing the colour of the moveable system. As another example, you may need a fan to move the ball but every time you turn it on, a platform blocks the ball's path, however, if you change the colour of the platforms to the opposite trigger, it will not move when you turn the fan on thus solving the problem.
Perchang uses several different physics-based mechanics throughout the game, which brings new challenges and difficulties to each level. There are the aforementioned paddles, fans and anti-gravity gates but there are also cannons, platforms, portals and our favourite, magnets. Each of these unique mechanisms can be adapted across different scenarios making for an experience entirely separate throughout each level. Whilst these can provide interesting situations, we found there to be a big difference between easy and ruthlessly difficult levels. This meant some levels felt frictionless, whereas others would have us stuck for long periods of time which was a peculiar spread considering there were very few (if any) regular levels to bridge the gap between these two extremes.
As for the goals built into each level aside from simply completing them, Perchang has a medal system in place for the truly hardcore puzzlers out there. This is based around completing levels quickly while losing as few balls as possible in order to get the best medal, ranging anywhere from gold to a simple pass. By having this system in place, Perchang is elevated from a simple game taking around two hours to beat into a brutal puzzler that takes exponentially more time to conquer.
To wrap this up, it's worth mentioning that the game has a built-in anti-anger system in the form of its relaxing soundtrack. For a lot of puzzle titles, when they get difficult, it's hard to stay calm and collected but with Perchang's soothing tunes, this is no problem at all. On top of this, the simple and incredibly easy to understand visuals remove any confusion, which also makes for an experience that's largely enjoyable.
Overall, Perchang is a solid addition to the puzzle genre on Switch, bringing new physics-based mechanics to a saturated market. Genre fans will likely enjoy the game, although it could have done with more content and fewer difficulty spikes, which are the main issues that impact this simple and otherwise easy to understand title.