In development since 2013, Circles is the brainchild of Jeroen Wimmers whose previous title, Westerado: Double Barrelled from Adult Swim Games, is a far cry from the meditative play-style of Circles.
Circles is aptly named and involves only one element. You guessed it, circles. With no instructions, text based elements, or scoreboard, Circles drops you into a flat, gray world where the only objective is to collect the aforementioned circles. The only control you have over your shifting 2D world is the direction you move your mouse. Best described as a maze, the circles around you shift, grow and spin into your path based on your mouse movements, so there is a lot of trial and error to avoid bumping into the obstacles that send you back to the start point. It often takes at least a few tries to finish a stage as you experiment with how your movements effect the world around you.
Underwriting the zen-like play is an understated soundtrack from Victor Butzelaar. The movements provided by the player add to the experimental ambient sound within the first few levels, then change through its progression. We won’t go into much more detail as it’s best experienced first hand, but the developers deftly shift from one emotion to the next from stage to stage. Personally, I vacillated WILDLY from feeling like a big damn genius, to staring in blank eyed confusion as I grasped for the solution. Luckily, levels are short and sweet so you don’t need to spend much time agonizing over any one stage. It’s not something I would pick up for a marathon session of gaming or to scratch an itch, but I did enjoy it as an exercise in stress reduction and clearing my mind of outside anxieties, in the same way that I enjoy match 3’s for their ability to turn off my brain for a bit.
Currently Circles will be available on Steam, Humble Store and Itch.io for both PC and Mac on February 17th, and is well suited to be adapted to Mobile in the future. Check out the video below for a preview of gameplay: