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The Puzzling Appeal Of Alice's Patchwork

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I’ve been playing a lot of Alice’s Patchwork [official site] the last few days. It’s a kind of mosaic-y jigsaw game based around Alice In Wonderland scenes and characters.

I used to do a lot of jigsaw puzzles while watching daytime murder mystery boxsets, much to the annoyance of my sister. I stopped because do you have any idea how annoyingly bulky jigsaw boxes are to store? And half-done puzzles are even worse, especially in a houseshare and especially when the houseshare involves a malevolent cat.

Digital jigsaws tend to make me very cross. They’re bad at approximating any of the things I enjoy about actual jigsaws – mainly the tactility and the pleasure of grouping colours and bits of scenery before you actually piece anything together. There are sometimes also finicky manipulations requirements as you rotate the pieces and monitors never feel large enough. UGH SO GROSS.

I usually turn to hidden object adventures to scratch that itch, searching for teapots and telephones as I mainline some crime or legal drama series on Netflix. But right now it’s all about Alice’s Patchwork.

Each level has a scene composed of pieces that are styled to look like they’re made from fabric. They’re closer to those chunky wooden puzzles you might have had as a child than grid-like jigsaws where pieces have two tabs and two slots. They aren’t huge puzzles, but you only get given five pieces at a time and need to work out how to slot them into the picture.

There are hints if you need them – I absolutely refuse to use them and will just restart a puzzle several times to learn the layout instead. You get three challenges each time – one to just complete the puzzle, one to complete it without making any errors and the other is a time limit. You’ll earn keys for each and can use the keys to open up new worlds.

The timing one is slightly weird because I like speedrunning this kind of thing, memorising the positioning and clicking through it in one go. Thing is, the achievement isn’t exactly about completing a round in that time, it’s actually about completing a round before the timer ticks down and you can replenish that timer by spending the coins you earn as you play. So you can earn the “complete within 2:25” achievement by completing the puzzle in about 5 minutes as long as you can afford to keep adding 30 second bursts of time to the timer.

But yes. I just signed up to a reality TV on demand service and so I’m playing Alice’s Patchwork and working my way through Keeping Up With The Kardashians all over again.

Alice’s Patchwork is out now for Windows via Steam or the official site.

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Philippa Warr

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