Sawbuck Gamer

Signum Project

Starred And Feathered

Signum Project turns constellations into puzzles, but it reaches for the stars too quickly.

By Danny Gallagher • October 17, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).

One of Tetris’ most enduring ideas is its method for steadily making the game more difficult as you play. New levels of speed and intensity are introduced at a perfect pace. It’s a smooth climb until you reach a plateau where pieces are falling faster then you could ever hope to effectively place them. It’s gradual enough that you can get by for quite a while without the hand-eye coordination of a steel-nerved brain surgeon, but it’s also quick enough that even a jittery Don Knotts could become a Tetris grandmaster.

Signum Project’s biggest problem is that it eschews that steady slope and changes gears from first to fourth in what feels like the span of a few seconds. The idea is to connect a bunch of stars using a limited number of lines, effectively building constellations. At the 18th of the game’s 31 puzzles, the degree of difficulty leaps from thoughtlessly simple to frustrating. It’s a jarring change. By the time the challenge arrives, the premise has already worn thin. Beyond this point, it feels about as enthralling as a connect-the-dots coloring book, but without the satisfaction of drawing an outline of George Washington’s head. If only Signum laid a few more dots between grade-school activity and Mensa test.

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9 Responses to “Starred And Feathered”

  1. Chum Joely says:

    I dunno, I didn’t find the difficulty curve all that badly out of whack. I sort of see what Danny means about the jump at level 18– it stumped me for a moment too– but it’s basically just another standard step up in difficulty (which in this game amounts to giving you one more rubber band to stretch in your efforts to connect the dots).

    Anyway, it’s true that even after that point, this is not a particularly challenging game, after 20 out of 30 levels, but it’s sort of relaxing on a lunch hour, I suppose. The music is nice (though short/repetitive)– in fact, both music and gameplay would not be out of place as a minigame in Superbrothers/Sword & Sworcery, now that I think of it.

  2. duwease says:

    I didn’t think the difficulty jump was that bad… but then again, I majored in Constellation Arrangement at Sky High.

  3. MrTusks says:

    Somewhat related! I’m doing my second play through of Okami and I’m finding myself stalled out at the same place I was last time, at about 14 hours. The problem may be that there’s not a lot driving the story at this point. It’s a lovey game, but now I’m only playing to unclog my Gamefly queue and to make time for GTAV, which I will be buying shortly.

    That is all!

    • Brainstrain says:

      Where are you in the story? Okami is in my top 5, but I’m the first to acknowledge it has some serious pacing issues.

      • MrTusks says:

        I put in another few hours over the week and the last thing I did was fight Evil Rau. The problem is that there’s really nothing driving you forward except the most immediate objective, and you get no real sense of what you’re actually here for. Since I completed the Orochi story it has felt like I’m just mucking around the world. It does not compare favorably to Zelda games as far as story goes.

        It has a lot going for it and I really like it, but mostly for graphics and atmosphere. I just started GTAV this weekend too so it may be a while before I finish it and send it back.

  4. FatimaJoerling says:

    I can not see the star easily because It has Lots of creativity in the star.