Pill Puzzle: One Move Review

Pill Puzzle: One Move is an interesting concept for a puzzle game, brought down by a defective technical implementation.

Format: PC via Steam
Play time so far: 1 hour
Cost: 0.99 USD

Pill Puzzle  One Move game screenshot.

Released July 29th, 2021 by Coffee Studio

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Quick Overview

Major Pros:
  • Interesting concept
Major Cons:
  • Lost progress
  • Lots of bugs
Minor Pros:
  • Simple interface
Minor Cons:
  • Lower resolution images
  • Alternate solutions not accepted
Pill Puzzle  One Move game screenshot.

A more complex level

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In-Depth Review

The focus of Pill Puzzle: One Move is just as it sounds, players can make only one move to solve each puzzle. Moves consist of choosing a pill to complete its move first. Once that move completes, all other pills move with a speed according to the color of the hand that pushes them. The goal is to get all the pills into the pill trays in the correct color arrangement. This arrangement is viewable in-game using the ‘P’ key or the eye icon in the top right.

Pill Puzzle  One Move game screenshot.

Desired arrangement must be toggled on and does not display by default

Pill Puzzle: One Move has 50 levels in total. Later levels introduce a swapping mechanic, allowing players a specific number of swaps to swap pill/hand combos before choosing their single move. I found it annoying, however, that after each swap the game switched back to movement mode even if there were more swaps remaining. I found it difficult to predict how levels were going to play out with the different hand movement speeds. While I feel the developers were trying to be representative with the skin tones, it made it hard to quickly view and parse a puzzle. I would’ve preferred colored gloves on the hands to make speeds more distinct and recognizable.

Pill Puzzle  One Move game screenshot.

The basic instructions around hand speeds

Pill Puzzle: One Move has a good concept, but the execution is riddled with bugs. I found many of the images to appear lower resolution, causing the interface to look blurry. The game will sometimes allow the player to click multiple hands for their ‘single’ move if the prior hands collide and stop early, other times this forces a level restart. Swaps can also be used up by clicking the same pill twice and thus ‘swapping’ a pill with itself. Some keyboard shortcuts, like going into swapping mode, also work after the interface for them has been disabled, resulting in some strange graphical glitches. Levels where pills go off the screen also won’t restart automatically and simply sit there with no feedback.

Pill Puzzle  One Move game screenshot.

Two of the green pills have been pushed and gotten stuck

However, the bugs get worse. When I solved level 24 without using all the swaps, the game sat there staring at my completed solution instead of rejecting my answer and restarting the level or moving me on to the next level. Using a ‘swap with self’ to at least use up the swaps also didn’t work, as did swapping two items and then swapping them back. After finding a different solution and moving on to level 25, I was unable to complete it as one of the pill hands kept colliding with nothing. When trying to show a friend the game, to see if I messed up my logic and there was another solution, I went back and played level 3 again. This was a horrible mistake as it reset my level progress to level 3, forcing me to re-solve levels 4-24 if I wanted to get back to where I was. I called it quits at that time.

Pill Puzzle  One Move game screenshot.

Pill in level 25, colliding with nothing

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Recommendation

Overall, Pill Puzzle: One Move was a disappointment for me. I felt the concept was good, but the ever-increasing roster of bugs made the game unplayable. After losing nearly all my progress just trying to show a friend a prior level, I have no interest in trying to go back to it. I recommend Pill Puzzle: One Move only to players willing to tiptoe around bugs and solve levels multiple times.

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