Expand released on PS4 earlier this week and I was surprised that I hadn’t heard of it before. I was more surprised when I found out that the game has been around since 2015. The game was created by Chris Johnson and Chris Larkin and they first released it on PC via Steam.
The game has now come to PS4 thanks to London-based indie publisher, UKIYO Publishing with the help of BlitWorks.
In Expand you control a small pink square with the aim of navigating your way through a labyrinth. To escape you need to find and recover four pink objects. There’s no complex story involved and little in the way of hand-holding to help you on your way.
The initial room has four exits that each lead to a different wing of the labyrinth – North, South, East and West. Which wing you tackle first is completely up to you. Each has it’s own unique set of challenges that stand in your way.
Watch the Expand PS4 launch trailer:
The challenges typically involve working out where to head next and avoiding moving objects. There’s a big focus on timing and sometimes you need to rush while other times it pays to be patient. At the end of each section is a boss battle of sorts and these are some of the most enjoyable parts of the game. I must admit I would have liked to see some more challenging parts.
Expand features a gorgeous minimalistic art-style that is mostly black and white. As you progress you also come across red elements that signify danger and grey which are buttons to press. The labyrinth is circular and it rotates, expands and contracts as you make your way through.
Playing the game invoked memories of Thomas Was Alone due to it’s simple graphics and easy controls. The player is only required to use the left stick to move the pink square. The labyrinth is almost hypnotic to watch as it changes around you. Should you make a mistake the action quickly shifts back to the last checkpoint you reached. When this happens the labyrinth resets around you and also rotates to a new angle which brings some of the challenge to the game and keeps it fresh.
View some screenshots from Expand in our gallery:
After beating each of the initial four stages you are presented with a fifth and final stage. This finale expects you to make use of all the different things you have learned throughout the game. It really tests your skills and you feel like you have accomplished something.
Accompanying you while you play is a absolutely stunning piano soundtrack. The music really enhances the experience and brings a lot of emotion to events as you progress. The music is also really relaxing to listen to and I can see myself coming back to the game for it. It’s also possible to purchase a bundle with the soundtrack which I’d highly recommend.
I played through Expand in a single sitting and loved every minute. It only takes a couple of hours to get through and you’ll be awarded all the trophies by the end. It only last a couple of hours but it’s well worth going back to. If you’re a puzzle fan or just looking for a break from shooting things for a change then definitely check it out.
Expand was reviewed using a digital code supplied by the publisher.
Publisher: UKIYO Publishing Developer: Chris Johnson / Chris Larkin / Blitworks Release Date: October 3, 2017 Reviewed On: PS4 Also Available On: PC/Steam