By Graham Smith on November 14th, 2013 at 8:00 am.
PuzzleScript is Stephen Lavelle’s simple, entry-level tool for making puzzle games. Ending is Aaron Steed’s free (on PC) puzzle game about surviving and destroying a world of shoving, crushing traps. It’s the best puzzle game I’ve played this year and Adam liked it too.
When Aaron Steed and PuzzleScript combine, you get Shoving and Flying Kick, two free PuzzleScript games that will eat your day.
Unlike Ending’s austere monochromatic graphics, Flying Kick is cute, colourful and dresses its block-pushing mechanics as violence. Your character has two moves: shift two steps up, and then slide either as far left or right as possible. In other words, jump in the air and fly kick hard. With those moves, you solve puzzles by kicking things into position and crafting a path for yourself towards the exit, which is somewhere near at the top of the level.
Shoving is more like Ending in its presentation, and I think the better of the two games. The world is full of shoving devices that aim to shove and crush you, while you attempt to shove and crush them against available hard blocks. It gets especially interesting after a few levels when you switch from steering a single block to a group of them all at once.
Three thoughts occurred while playing these games.
One, Aaron Steed sent these games through with the line, “I’m following [Ending] up with a bunch of PuzzleScript games because I can’t be arsed to make the next big thing right now.” In its first weeks, PuzzleScript has attracted a whole bunch of we’ve-made-proper-games designers. It’s becoming a kind of notepad for designers to jot down ideas.
Two, PuzzleScript has a built-in system for making all its games have easy restart and undo buttons. That undo button, which unwinds your last decision one move at a time, pretty much fixes all puzzle games for me. I don’t want the frustration of failure, and the satisfaction of success is not diminished, because the fun is still in teasing out the rules of some obtuse system, to see how it ticks.
Three, Aaron Steed, as well as making Ending, the best puzzle game of the year, and these two fun diversions, also made Red Rogue, the simple, free roguelike in which you’ve a little skeleton mate who stabs people up for you and tries on different hats. In other words, Aaron Steed is very skilled at this.
Anyway, that’s four fun, free games for you. Go! And if you like ‘em, buy Ending cheap on your telephone.