For some reason, games that are appealing to me have been popping up in the App Store like dandelions in the spring. Last week I fell in love with Diced, and this week's new iOS mind-bender is Mekorama (free with a pay-what-you-like in-app purchase).
Like last year's Monument Valley, Mekorama is a puzzle game that consists of 3-dimensional structures that you have to turn and manipulate with your finger. It also has a character -- in this case, it's a little robot with one big unblinking eye on top that you direct to walk around the puzzle in search of an end goal.
Each of the puzzles is on a "card" -- there are 50 of them in the game. Then there are what are called "scan levels", which are added to the game by the simple expedient of scanning QR codes from the game's Facebook or Twitter accounts. But even better, there's an actual editor built into the game so you can create, play, and share your own levels with others.
Developer Martin Magni also used a unique payment system in Mekorama; you literally pay what you want for the game. On one "page" of the in-game flip book that includes the different levels is a Pay What You Want page with levels varying from $0.99 to $31.99. I started at $1.99, but given the amount of fun I'm having with Mekorama, I may make another in-app purchase. If you like Mekorama but can't pay, Magni has an option -- you write a review of the game for iTunes.
Now, about the gameplay. If you love puzzle games and spent hours with Monument Valley, you will absolutely have a blast with Mekorama. The little robot characters are somewhat clumsy in the way that they walk, and Mekorama is much "lighter" in tone than Monument Valley was. A piano and synth soundtrack fills the background, and there are walking and sliding sounds associated with the game play. Sounds can be shut off for silent play.
Some of the levels include physics -- your robot may get picked up and tossed, and you'll need to make sure that it is pointed in the right direction to land in the correct spot. The construction set for levels has a complete set of blocks that can be used to build simple or complex dioramas. There are parts that slide or rotate, different materials (brick, grass, water), steps, and ramps.
Since Mekorama is free to try, I won't describe it much more, other than to say "GET IT!" Give it a try, and if you find it as fun and charming as I did, be sure to pay Magni what you feel he deserves. Oh, and let me know if you create any Mekorama levels -- I'd love to try 'em out.