Puzzle games are a genre especially rife for exploitation on Apple’s OS. Since many such games require no more than a few simple click controls to operate, puzzle games are developed on what’s probably a daily basis. This is no different from the PC, on which you’ve probably seen your parents or other casual gamers clicking away at one among literally millions of mind bending Flash puzzles. Trak4 is one such game: it sacrifices gameplay depth for a nearly nonexistent learning curve.
You’re greeted with the entirety of the gameplay from the get-go, and your objective is simple: manipulate on-screen puzzle pieces to match a pattern flashed to you before the round. Each piece can only be rotated in four ways (no dragging pieces around like an actual puzzle) so you’re really only matching the colors. You’re given some time to complete the “puzzle,” and you’re flashed bits and pieces of the original pattern to help you out in case you get stuck. A round ends when you successfully orient the pieces and click a button telling the game that you’re done.
There’s not much beyond what I have just described, so it should be pretty easy for the reader to tell whether he/she will enjoy the core gameplay. As you successfully match patterns, your score increases, but this isn’t an ambitious enough game to include online leaderboards of any kind.
While fancy graphics may be a little beyond the scope of a simple puzzle game, I’m not too impressed by the overall design: menus look very hastily put together and there aren’t any animations to speak of. Seeing the puzzle pieces actually rotate would have added a lot. Popcap games in particular feature great animations despite often having gameplay as simple as Trak4.
Honestly, you’re better off using the “play your own music” feature of the game, because the game sounds are unimpressive. You have a few sound effects for certain events such as starting a new game or solving a puzzle, then you have one sound for every time you switch a puzzle piece. As you can imagine, this gets very repetitive very quickly.
Trak4 is as straightforward as puzzle games get, and its gameplay can be summarized in a screenshot or in two sentences. More casual gamers might find it a nice and quick distraction, but personally, this really should be a free game.