Leveled! is a game that fulfills the basic human need to bring equilibrium to things. A series of awkwardly-shaped and sized objects are your paint; your smartphone is the canvas. And on its glassy surface you are free to create a breathtakingly tall vision of perfect order and balance, measured in “stacks”. This is the ideal – if you’re me, you haphazardly arrange a pile of planks and miscellaneous items and hope it stays upright long enough to be propped up by the next narrowing of the stage.
There are three stages total in Leveled!, composed of canyons, woods, and a city at night. Horizontal planks will fall into your play area in each stage, as well as various objects in between the planks. These objects will grow, shrink, spin, and generally stay mobile until you choose to place them. Then a new plank drops, and you arrange the new mobile objects based on how your plank sits on the old ones. Then you do it again, trying to stack your tower as high as possible. While the sides of the stage will occasionally offer a little support to your tower, too much imbalance will topple it… And if any part of your tower falls completely off the side of the screen, it’s game over.
The game is fun and engaging, with timing-based controls that can be picked up in seconds. The art is vibrant and does justice to each level’s theme. And, usually, the game is a very zen and precise experience. However, in its ad-enabled state the flow of the game is utterly disrupted. Ads come every three failures or so, which come fast especially early on or in the game’s super-challenging city stage, and many of them are long or otherwise obtrusive.
Combined with the relative lack of content at only three stages, and no unlockables to speak of besides the final level and an ad-free option, in its current state the game is a quality diversion – but one with little staying power, as well as fairly frustrating and time-consuming punishments for failure without investing real money.
In short, the readings of my scales of justice come out a little unequal on Leveled!. The foundation is strong, but egregious in app purchases cause it to teeter and totter. Generally it does a good job of walking the tightrope when it comes to balancing fun gameplay and challenging progression, but the downtime between attempts and general lightness of of content mar an otherwise enjoyable experience.