Wot I Think: Jelly No Puzzle

By John Walker on February 12th, 2013 at 3:00 pm.

It’s been the buzz of the indie world – a puzzle game so fiendishly difficult that people pass it to one another like an illicit material. But I eat and drink puzzle games! They occupy a frightening amount of my waking life. A rare day goes by without my attempting a cryptic crossword, a killer sudoku accompanies my every early-morning sit-down, and my phone, tablet and DS offer me a limitless supply of puzzle distractions. I would like to meet the Slitherlink player who could outdo me. I eat puzzles like the hungry man I am. So bring on Jelly No Puzzle! Here’s wot I think.

I got stuck on level 3.

So stuck that I began to wonder if this was a twist in the game. You can skip a couple of levels ahead at any point, and since level 4 had me equally stumped, I wondered if skipping to level 5 would reveal the game’s secret – they ARE impossible, and here’s where the game goes next! But no, level 5 is another puzzle that makes my brain cry. And there are 40 of them.

The game involves moving coloured, friendly-faced gel blocks left or right. The goal is to bring all blocks of the same colour together. That’s it. Short of reading it as some sort of polemic against mixed-race marriages, this is pure puzzling simplicity. Except, wow, it’s tough. And the reason for that is it demands you take your brain an extra step forward.

Let me try to explain that. Try. So you know how the most basic puzzles (although certainly not necessarily the easiest) require you work out the route to the solution, yes? And then there are those that ask you to think an extra stage, an extra dimension, perhaps apply some lateral thinking, or push you to work backwards from the solution. They’re the sorts of things we usually champion here, those that demonstrate genuine smarts from the creator, and demand genuine smarts from you. Jelly No Puzzle (the “No” in Japanese game names indicates possession, so that’s “Jelly’s Puzzle”) takes that an extra step forward. So you see the “Ah, that’s clever” solution, try it, and it still doesn’t work. You have to “Ah, that’s clever” again, which I think becomes “Ah, that’s clever”².

Look, I cheated. I found a YouTube video of someone solving level 3. I should have been able to figure it out. Level 4 I thought of cheating again, saw the very first move in a video, and figured it out from there. I am determined not to cheat on level 5. I am getting nowhere on level 5.

And now I’ve lost the hope that it’s an elaborate prank. I’m just not being good enough at it.

Oh my goodness, I just solved it!

Immediately after shouting, “BUT THERE’S NO WAY TO CROSS THAT GAP!”

It turns out shouting at the screen is the most effective method of jolting your brain into action. Oh gawd, level 6.

And so on.

Level 6 - YOU figure it out.

It’s a really superb thing – madly difficult, revealing a truly brilliant mind behind the puzzle design. The mind is Japanese developer Qrostar. He responds to players’ questions here. Although the only question should be: “Why? Why are you doing this to me? I’ve got other things I should be doing.” That stops being a question after a while.

I do fee a bit naughty thinking it’d be better on a touch screen. The controls are the one weakness – you click click on a block to move it left, right to move it right. That’s not entirely intuitive, but fortunately there’s an undo button for misclicks. Despite that, it’s impossible not to think you’d have a much easier time swiping them about with your finger on a phone or tablet – it seems born for touch controls. However, it’s PC only, so we shan’t complain unnecessarily.

It’s a free downloadable, so you’d be mad not to give it a go. And then you’ll go mad when you do.

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43 Comments »

  1. phelix says:

    In related news, there’s still people asking in internet forums how to solve Skyrim’s “puzzles”.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly,
    I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly,
    I don’t think you’re ready for this . . .

    • BooleanBob says:

      Jelly!

      … did I solve it correctly?

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        Lambchops says:

        I have to admit I was hoping for something along the lines of “cos my puzzle’s too bootylicious for ya”

        Note to self “not as much overlap between puzzle fans and people who remember Destiny’s Child lyrics as expected!”

  3. Shantara says:

    Someone in the comment section of author’s site suggested an awesome English name for this game – “Jelly walk”.

  4. seamoss says:

    I tried this a few days ago (I think based on a post on the Indie Games Blog) and also got stuck on #3 and gave up after 5-10 minutes. Then your WIT made me determined to solve it and I just did! Moving on (with the “music” muted…)

  5. Stevostin says:

    I can’t pass level…1 actually.

    EDIT: found it on youtube. I feel really stupid, looking for something way too complicated :P

    • TWChristine says:

      LOL! I read the article and looked at the screenshots and thought “Pfft, I love these kind of games, watch me blow Mr. Walker out of the water!” And then I sat there at level 1. And sat there. And sat there. (Eventually I got it, but now I’m stuck on 3 just like he was and I think I feel his pain at thinking there’s 40 of these..)

  6. Verizian says:

    As someone who played Qrostar’s earlier game Hanano Puzzle (and stopped for fear of my mental health), I am scared of this game

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    DrAmateurScience says:

    I simultaneously hate and love this game.

  8. Jakkar says:

    I feel more pride than I should for managing to pass level 3 without help ._.

    Qrostar, you toy with my ego like a child. I know soon you will dash it against the wall and leave the allmother to pick up the pieces.

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    Shar_ds says:

    And I’m stuck on level 3….

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      Shar_ds says:

      And now I’ve passed it! Going for a bar of chocolate for the win!

    • Dozer says:

      Solved level 3 on my first attempt! But level 4 is baffling me. clearly you need to get the right-side two blue blocks horizonally joined on the 3rd row up, but have no idea how.

      • Palehorse says:

        (Heeheeheeee…that’s what you think! )

      • Palehorse says:

        Aw, I got through levels 1-5 thinking I was S.M.R.T then I got to level 6. Sigh….

      • Palehorse says:

        *whiny voice* And now I’ve double (triple) replied to the same post! My brain is done for the day.

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    LTK says:

    Haven’t we read about this game before, at a time when it hadn’t been translated into English? I’ve played it before, and it was balls-to-the-wall difficult then as well.

    • Nidokoenig says:

      Porpentine covered it in the free games column a bit ago. I remember because when I first saw the name I thought “Bad Jelly! No Puzzle!” and that’s been rattling around in my head ever since.

  11. Beernut says:

    I’m currently on level 8 and am mostly captivated by the background music. Is anyone else reminded of Terranigma/Lufia and or all the Squenix-game on the SNES? It sounds lovely!

  12. Phantoon says:

    I looked at the picture and worked out the solution before I had any idea of if you were supposed to bring the blocks together or not.

    So at least the concept is simple.

  13. macaronies says:

    Oh god there’s more? I got to the end of the 20 levels in version 0.0700 a couple of weeks ago and thought I’d escaped. I need to go cry in the shower.

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    Csirke says:

    Well, 10 levels done so far. I guess I’ll do some programming as rest…

  15. SuffixTreeMonkey says:

    10 minutes, three levels done. Good, I’m not that stupid yet. Back to work.

    Thanks for the WIT though, good tip for a puzzle game for these cold evenings!

  16. Radiant says:

    Nice!
    Although I wish I had it for my phone.

    Once you get how to move the blocks about the world it gets easier.
    Stuck at level 15. Bridge builder nightmares.

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    Bracknellexile says:

    On the up side, level 27! On the down side, I just lost four hours and forgot to eat. Oops.

  18. Barberetti says:

    Did the first 3 levels pretty easily. Bragged to myself about how awesome I am, then looked at level 4 and went oh .. err .. hmm .. maybe I’ll just carry on playing S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

  19. Spoon Of Doom says:

    Level 8 is where I gave up. A humbling experience.

    Edit: Level 8, not 6! I can’t even count anymore.

  20. Don Reba says:

    I first had a bit of trouble on level 8. Really, the game is about quickly recognizing which moves are necessary and which are impossible.

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    kavika says:

    I feel the difficulty doesn’t always go up linearly. 7 and 9 were drastically easier than 8 for example, and 11 wasn’t that hard. Maybe I’m just getting better.

  22. Shepardus says:

    Playing this game makes me feel like this Qrostar guy, whoever he (if he even is a he) is, is wayyy smarter than me.

    Currently stuck on level 5. I think I’ll just do my linear algebra homework – it’s probably easier than this.

  23. MartinNr5 says:

    There are PCs with touch screens and they’ll be even more common now that tablets with Windows 8 are available.

  24. Beernut says:

    I’m currently working on level 27 and 28, got 29 and 30 and 31 though. I love brain-teasers!

  25. MondSemmel says:

    This game totally owns me. It took me ~90 min to solve 13 of the first 14 puzzles, and I still don’t understand puzzle #6…

    That said, concerning this: “I would like to meet the Slitherlink player who could outdo me.”
    I’m willing to bet I could do it.
    I’ve been solving at least one 10×10 Slitherlink puzzle per day for the last ~6 years…

  26. His Divine Shadow says:

    ok just finished it. turned out to be a surprisingly clever one. and by ‘surprisingly’ i mean that way too often puzzle games with a single mechanic feel painfully laborious and convoluted instead of brilliant. this one, however, mostly feels fresh and creative. well, except some levels were indeed too laborious.

  27. Josh W says:

    I’m still playing! I’m only on level 32, no idea how many left, but I will keep going!

    I love how this game teaches you tricks and builds on them, there’s an interesting sort of learning curve going on here where levels often follow each other in logical progression.