An Afternoon of Mental Calisthenics: 3 Slice

Mental Calisthenics: 3 Slice

For many years, it has been stipulated and proven that interactive media can serve as a powerful tool not only for learning and entertainment, but also for keeping one’s senses sharp. What is actually surprising is the fact that this has not been taken much advantage of –and this is one facet that 3 Slice takes full advantage of: a flash game that is not only fun to play, but one that allows you to think outside the box in order to solve the puzzles.

What makes 3 Slice stand out over many other flash mind-games is the full reliance on the medium itself: you cannot have it on another format. The block game is simple, there are red shapes on the screen that you must send to the bottom. To do so, you must utilize a maximum of three slices and the power of gravity (like how cutting a box with a slanted cut will slide the top part). Of course, unlike sodoku, tangrams and other traditional mental puzzles, 3 Slice can only be played on flash.

Easy Controls

The only thing you need to do in this game is to use the mouse. You drag a straight line across the shapes –allowing you to fully strategize the way you will cut the blocks on screen. There is no limit to the length of the cut (you can cut from one end of the screen all to way to the other, effectively cutting all the blocks in the way), but there is a limit to the total number of cuts you can make per stage: 3. Of course, the game does not hide the fact that all stages can actually be finished with only two slices or less (though the requirements for finishing the stages on two-slice mode are more lenient).

Gameplay

The whole point of the game is to send a certain percentage of red block content down to the bottom of the stage –this value can range anywhere from 50% (which is half the blocks), to 100% (which means that all the red blocks will have to be sent to the bottom). The requirement is stage based –which means that if the stage requires a 100% quota, it is entirely possible (though it may not seem that way initially).

Check out this cool walkthrough to see how the game is played…

We have to admit that several of the puzzles had us stumped for a good amount of time –as some puzzles take anywhere from 5 minutes to about a quarter of an hour just to get things right. Trial and error plays a second degree role to careful planning here, as the game not only urges you to reach the minimum required quota per stage, but also provides a special “gold” rating when you are able to bring down a significantly larger percentage of the red blocks (though for stages that require 100% red content removal, this is a given).

Unpolished Classic

With a game as simple as this, you really do not expect much from the graphics –at the same time, a bit of polish would have helped. The game’s basic visuals allows players to easily figure out where the blocks are, where the cut you are placing goes and what the obstacles are. But with that said, it still feels as if every single character on the Flash stage has been rushed into creation. By a “bit of polish” we literally mean setting the lines in a neater, cleaner look. No need to change the colors –but the lines sure could have used a bit of anti aliasing to make the game look more intact than a university project. Even indie-game developers recognize the need for making sure that the final look of the product is smoothened out, and this game would have certainly been improved by such.

With that said, everything else about the game looks perfect –in particular, the animations and of course, the block physics. The way the blocks slide and fall from being sliced feels very realistic, with the focus on geometry being brought out into the forefront, it makes perfect sense that every element in the game behaves in a natural and predictable manner.

In the end, this game is all about the challenge –polished graphics or not, 3 Slice is a great game that is fun to play, and the minor visual nuances are hardly noticeable once you are in the heat of the action.

Appreciating the Mental Exercise

We have said it once, we will say it again: this game is a mental challenge for anyone who plays it. Nothing academic about it however, you will still need to rely on a bit of intuition and creativity to come out with a solution, and it does bring out those spatial-based skills to the forefront. The first few stages are quite easy, enough to make players feel confident and excited, the later parts are a little more challenging (though some may find it more frustrating). Contrary to what one may believe, the game is not random –the blocks, as long as they are cut at precisely the same exact way, will slide and fall in the same manner. With that said, cutting blocks the same exact way every time is not that easy to do.

This is the perfect game to play if you really want to give yourself a good challenge. Some of the puzzles have a bit of a novelty feel to it (having only one solution but is actually worthwhile to solve), but overall, solving every single stage is truly fulfilling.

Conclusion

It is hard to expect so much out of a simple flash game. In terms of general content, visuals and others, 3 Slices is a bare-bones puzzle game with a single premise spread out through 25 stages. With that said, playing the 3 Slices through and through (and twice even, for the two slice mode) is a great way to spend a couple of hours. The game deserves a mark of 8 out of 10.

Play 3 Slices Game at this Free Physics Gaming Site.