Blyss by Dropout Games is a well-paced tile-puzzler, loaded with relaxing, endlessly replayable gameplay. Its soft color palette and minimalist design elevate its procedurally-generated puzzle gameplay to a high level of excellence, albeit with a few quirks when it comes to unlocking gameplay modes.
The core mechanic in Blyss is simple. At the start of each level, you’ll be presented with a small grid of tiles, each marked with one or two dots. By connecting these tiles, the value of each tile in the chain will drop by a value of one. Your goal is to eliminate every tile in the grid by reducing each one’s dot-value to zero. The twist in Blyss lies in a clever gameplay restriction, only allowing the player to connect tiles in groups of three or four. In doing so, Dropout Games ensures that the player must connect the dots carefully, to avoid rendering certain areas of the grid unusable. A hasty swipe might back you into a corner, so thoughtful choices are necessary in order to progress.
Blyss doesn’t require much head-scratching or obsessive searching for a single path to success. Instead, its puzzles are procedurally-generated, meant to be completed in a minute or less, relying on strategies of tile-management and quick logic. After completing a level, the next puzzle immediately appears, noting your progress at the top of the screen. Level progression without error is at the heart of Blyss, and is necessary to complete many of the game’s achievements.
A full round of Blyss can take anywhere from thirty seconds to thirty minutes, depending on how carefully you manage your tiles. Any mistake will result in a fail screen, with the option to continue for a number of dot-coins. These coins are earned through basic gameplay, so you can generally afford a couple continues per round. However, as you reach higher levels, fail screens will inevitably appear more often, and the cost to continue rises with each failure. This continue system is cleverly implemented, and is very effective in encouraging smart gameplay without punishing mistakes too harshly.
Beyond the game’s default Endless Mode, two other modes can also be unlocked through gameplay, in the form of Time Attack and Playground Mode. Locking Playground Mode at the start of the game makes sense, as it includes higher-level tiles which aren’t revealed in Endless Mode until later in the game. However, locking Time Attack Mode until the player has beaten hundreds of levels is an unfortunate decision, as it’s arguably the most entertaining mode in the game. Many players might miss out on the joyful rush of blazing through puzzles on a timer, simply because the entry requirement is too daunting. I was only unable to unlock Time Attack Mode by grinding the first fifteen levels twenty times over, as the complexity of later levels slowed my progression toward the achievement.
Blyss offers additional unlockable themes, which can be purchased using dot-coins. Each theme offers different color palettes and background music, and while the music is pleasant enough, as the game progressed, the loops quickly grew repetitive. Thankfully, the developers have accounted for this, and I was able to turn the music off and leave the sound effects on.
Its daunting achievements aside, Blyss is well-paced, challenging, and endlessly replayable. At its current price point of $1.99, it’s easy to recommend for anyone looking for a puzzler with a pleasant aesthetic.