Ichi Free: One of those Ichi Button games
A puzzle game that tests your timing, creativity and concentration, your aim in Ichi is to collect all the golden rings by tapping your way through and around obstacles, disappearing and rotating blocks, teleporters and more. Ichi has an attractive sketch/doodle visual style (slightly reminiscent of the popular Doodle Jump) that extends into its gameplay. Taking place on what looks like a page out of a notebook, you can draw lines into the sheet to customize the stage and help yourself through the levels, earning higher grades for being efficient.
While the early levels may centre on planning your route exactly before executing, the level design gets considerably more complicated later on, to the point at which trial and error will probably become the most feasible tactic. However, this is not to say that the game simply becomes more long-winded and cluttered. On the contrary, the use of a grading system rewards ingenuity, and mostly, there will only be one path through a level that gets you an “A” grade. Indeed, there are very few levels the whole way through that feel sloppily designed; the majority are superbly crafted and you will feel that not a single tap has been wasted.
The difficulty level rises gradually in the first 20 levels or so, and then remains roughly constant for the rest of the time, adding in new mechanics like switches every so often to keep things fresh. Unless you are extraordinarily gifted at the game, all of the provided 60 levels will probably take you a few hours to complete and you will feel thoroughly satisfied after conquering each one that has eluded you for a period of time.
When you’re done with that, you can create your own levels and share them with others, while also playing designs that others have made. Whether you feel that the 60 levels were just right before the game might start to get stale or that you can’t get enough of the game will be down to you. Personally, I lean towards the former.
The presence of the word “Free” in the game title tells us that the game once wasn’t so, and hence it is unsurprising that Ichi has more ads than the average product. Although ads aren’t unfamiliar to anybody who plays free games, these here take up the whole screen and often pop up during gameplay. Since all you’re doing is tapping, chances are you will trigger the ad link very frequently, leading to frustration while you wait for the webpage to close. I can imagine that this could put off many gamers, and although I personally don’t think it completely overshadows an otherwise good game, it is still a great shame that this happens (It should be noted that you will only be affected by ads if you are connected to the internet).
All in all, Ichi is a compelling experience, with its level design and difficulty (Despite being based around such a simple concept!) being particularly impressive. Although the intrusive ads can be an issue, hopefully it won’t put you off a worthwhile and stimulating puzzle game.
Developer: Stolen Couch Games
Ichi Free Promotional Youtube Video