By Graham Smith on April 8th, 2014 at 2:00 pm.
Rezzed 2014 was a place where games were crammed into every corner, even some that weren’t scheduled to be there. Daniel Ratcliffe, creator of Minecraft mods ComputerCraft and qCraft, sat on the floor to the left of the Leftfield Collection to show me his puzzle game Redirection. It’s a maze game in the Stephen “increpare” Lavelle mould in which you place blocks to re-shape paths and direct robots towards objectives.
There is now a block in front of you. Rotate and continue below, where there’s a video and I’ll attempt to explain its appeal a little more.
These games are hard to write about because tightly wound logic puzzles resist woolly analysis. There is no plot or metaphor for me to grasp onto. Redirection is about different coloured squares: one set which turns left upon meeting an obstacle, and another which turns right when meeting an obstacle. You place objects in their path accordingly, choosing the correct spot on the grid to send them trundling off towards their intended final resting spot. Or, if you’re me, to send them over the edges of the level and into the abyss.
The game is full of smart, small design decisions. There’s a rewind and fast-forward button, which negates the frustration of mistakes or some of the patience necessary for trial and error. The levels grow gradually in complexity, till you’re positioning blocks in the correct order to create paths for other blocks. Successfully completing a puzzle feels like “tidying up”, in the same way as slotting a Tetris block into position. It’s as base a thrill as striking a headshot, but in later levels is accomplished by staring at the board and thinking for a long time. When you finally decide where to correctly place your obstacles, it feels better for the mental effort required to predict the outcome of the rebounding objects.
I don’t know how to explain why I enjoyed my time playing Redirection any better than that, but I think it’s probably the kind of game where you can tell from a screenshot – or that video – whether it’s for you. If it is, try voting for it on Steam Greenlight.