Cher. Aqua. All of the world’s greatest thinkers have wished they could turn back time, but in Waking Violet you can actually do it. And that’s handy, because you’ll spend quite a lot of time rewinding after Violet has been zapped, set on fire or killed by ghosts.
In Waking Violet you play as the eponymous Violet, a shy teenager trapped in a dream she can’t wake up from. The only way she can be roused is if you can get her through the entire dream, and to do that you’ll need to navigate more than 40 levels of top-down sliding puzzlement.
The levels are connected by portals, filled with traps and obstacles, and often incredibly challenging to complete. While Violet will learn spells that help her deal with some of the more difficult dangers, you’ll be using that rewind button a lot. It’s worth it: the moments when you realise just what you need to do to complete the level are enormously satisfying.
Waking Violet is a very good-looking game with an equally good down-tempo soundtrack. It reminded us a lot of arcade battlers like Gauntlet: it’s much more atmospheric and less frantic but has the same playful approach to the game and level design.