Polymer: A Puzzle Game Based On Creativity and Motivation

May 10, 2012

1:00 pm

Video games are increasingly characterized by their creativity, engagement, and fascinating gaming experience. A few years ago, developing video games required expertise in software development, but there has been a shift. Tools such as GameMaker , Scratch, and GameSalad allow the development of very interesting games using basic programming skills.  Now, if you have a good idea and motivation, you can create an engaging game.

This week I played Polymer, a highly entertaining puzzle game for the iPhone created by indie developer Whitaker Trebella. This game is a good example of what is possible when there is inspiration and motivation.  With basic programming experience, Trebella developed Polymer, which was published a couple weeks ago.

Trebella describes Polymer as “what you get when you combine the logic of Rubik’s Cube, the sliding mechanism of Trism, and the creativity of Lego.” The main goal is to slide rows and columns of open-ended pieces around a board in order to form large polymers, which are amorphous rounded-shapes.  Once you create a form, you tape the shape and you get some points. Large chains and combos give you more points.  It is possible to unlock new pieces, game modes and color patterns based on your score.  Depending on the game mode, you can create anything you like within two minutes, such as the largest possible shape, or you can clear out all the pieces with bomb-timers.

Polymer is a very creative game with great music, entertaining sound effects and colorful visuals. It is easy to play, and the learning curve is very smooth.  But what is also fascinating is the story behind the development of this game.  I hope that games like this motivate more people to develop games as a creative outlet, rather than just as a commercial product.


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Salvador Garcia Martinez is currently collaborating as a researcher at the Technoculture, Art, and Games research centre; he is also a doctoral student in Educational Technology at Concordia University in Montreal. He has professional experience as a software developer, web designer, and instructional designer. You can connect with him on linkedIn or his personal website or follow him on Twitter @salgarciam.