The process from phone to PC is often a troubled one. But how does a long-time mobile favourite fare with its transition to Alphabear: Hardcover Edition [official site]? Here’s wot I think: Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Difficult Spell
RPS Feature Sackcloth
Hyperbolic responses to you successfully completing a challenge are a perennial issue in puzzle games. When it comes to no-frills mobile puzzling, and for no sensible reason it throws up the word “OUTSTANDING!” at you no matter how tricky the conundrum, it’s pleasantly silly. But when a game tries to add an element of narrative to the situation, where characters fall over themselves to bestow you with accolades on clicking through a mundane brain-teaser with little effort. “Astonishing!” they ejaculate after you turn all three lights green or whatmaybe. “You truly are the chosen one! Have my firstborn!” It starts to feel more than a little disingenuous. It is unfortunate that such nonsense runs through the core of The Automatician [official site]. It doesn’t help that the main puzzle idea itself just isn’t that good. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Mind control
We seem to be in something of a blessed time for puzzle games. Alongside the big names are an ever-growing pile of previously unknown indies creating really inspired ideas, and right near the top of that pile is Semispheres [official site]. A single-player split-screen mind-fuck that’s at once deeply relaxing and brain-rippingly smart. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Clone Something Good
You don’t actually need an original gimmick, developers. You can just take an old gimmick and do it really well. That’s BOOR’s [official site] approach, a 2D platform puzzle game in which your character can create very temporary clones of herself and work in cooperation with them. We’ve seen it lots of times before, but when a good idea is done nicely, it’s – well – a good idea! Make it utterly, utterly lovely to look at and you’re well on your way. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Direct line to my heart
RPS Feature Not really pushing my buttons
I might start a service where I go door to door to puzzle game developers and just calmly reassure them they don’t need an excuse. “It’s fine. No one’s judging you for making a puzzle game! We love them. You don’t need to hide it. You don’t need to disguise it. You don’t need a story.” My gentle, mellifluous tone will steady their nerves, help them relax into their chosen genre, and everyone will benefit. Imprint-X [official site] is a novel little puzzle game from the creators of 2015’s Rymd Resa put beneath some absolute drivel of a story, and after hours of playing I haven’t managed to identify any coherent connection between the two. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Pixel perfect
RPS Feature Ancestry, abjectly
Rusty Lake Hotel [official site] is a game I have meant to write about on RPS for so long. I missed its release, and found it by luck on my phone when searching for interesting escape-the-room games. And wow, did I find interesting. And not only did I discover the incredible Rusty Lake Hotel game, a dark and devastatingly creepy murder mystery adventure, but also their catalogue of remarkably unsettling and often brilliant free Cube Escape games. Each release fits into a larger mythology that feels ominously huge and yet barely understood, awful stories of gruesome deaths and mysterious looming bird-headed figures, time-bending weirdness, and an overriding notion of cruelty that’s hard to quantify. In short, they’re completely wonderful. So I enter Rusty Lake: Roots [official site] with a great sense of anticipation. Here’s wot I think:
I’m a sucker for cute things, especially when it comes to games. I also like puzzles. Beglitched [official site] has cuteness and puzzles in droves, and thus it looks like a game I’d enjoy thoroughly. I only need to see the tiny cans of Spam and what I can ascertain are small Game Boy-like devices to know that this is something I’d be interested in playing, and I surmise you may be too. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Doing a jig
Sometimes I keep secrets from you. As a rule, when I spend any decent amount of time playing a game, I report back about my experiences. That’s rather my job. But sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I spend entire mornings with a game that I never write about, because I’m too embarrassed to admit it to you, and perhaps even more, to my colleagues. The net result being not only have I not got any work done, I’ve turned what could have counted as work into goofing off. TODAY I SHALL BE BOLD. I spent the morning playing Animated Puzzles [official site].
Here’s a little morsel for you: an abstract puzzle game that’ll not trouble you for more than an hour. Or for infinity! simian.interface++ [official site], as it felt the need to be called, reminds me very much of Neko Games’ lovely Hoshi Saga series, but a touch flashier. You need to, with experimental mouse movement, manipulate the patterns on screen until, well, you’ve done a thing.
Game Boy? As in, that ancient blocky backlight-less 90s handheld here on the coveted pages of RPS’ House-O-PCs? Well, not exactly. But sort of. Warlock’s Tower [official site] is a tricky little movement-oriented puzzle game that sees your every move result in the loss of a single life, and in a world brimming with retro-inspired pixel-perfect adventures, this ‘un dons a Game Boy-styled monotone guise. Its challenges are far more complex than first meets the eye, though. Drop below for a trailer and a demo.
Mu Cartographer [official site] is the visual equivalent of spending an afternoon playing with an audio synthesizer just to see what absurd sounds you can make. Only here, the dials and doodads you tweak shape a roiling landscape of pretty colours for you to lose yourself in. While it makes for nice pictures, seeing it in action is something else entirely.
RPS Feature Chasing Death
I think I’ve become a little wary of puzzle platformers. Too much block pushing busywork, not enough intriguing dilemmas (great cars, I hear) to solve. So I looked at Life Goes On’s [official site] expanded re-release with a sceptical eye (the other eye was watching a passing bee). And then immediately fell for it. Coo, this is a rather splendid little game, where death is very much your aim.
Because I like you, I’m here to tip you off to a sweet little puzzle game you’ll enjoy, and it’s only 71p! BitRay [Steam page] is a physics puzzler where you must zap away blocks to ensure a white block lands safely on a platform. BUT NO RED BLOCKS. Red blocks are evil. Down with red blocks!
RPS Feature Organismic
From the team most famous for Machinarium, Aminita Design, comes the third game in the Samorost series. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of the first two – they were both tiny Flash games. Samorost 3 [official site] is a full-length, full-screen adventure that requires no prior knowledge. How does the adventure/puzzle game hold up at this scale? Here’s wot I think:
RPS Feature Hypote-no
Pythagoria [Steam page] is an awful lot more like maths homework than it is a regular puzzle game. But if you’re a giant weirdo like me, then you might secretly have rather enjoyed maths homework (the only homework I ever did). In fact, if you’re a colossal weirdo, you might have spent a good proportion of a sabbatical a couple of years ago sitting under a tree in a park with a pad and pen, re-learning algebra from a mobile app. So yes, Pythagoria does rather appeal, despite that. Except, oh dear, my brain. Here’s wot I think:
Do you like hats? I like hats. Hats with stars, hats with bows, hats with wings, even witch’s hats. Contrary to how it may at first sound, Ultra Hat Dimension [official site] is not a washed up European trance DJ duo, but is an excellent puzzle game that features all of the aforementioned head dressings. And Spluffs – incessantly grinning Pac Man-ghost-like beings how go around punching folk. And it has a demo. Intrigued? Me too!
Gosh, how I’d love to tell you about the later levels of pay-what-you-want puzzle Tough Love Machine [official site]. Because I’d love to be clever enough to have reached them.
Controlling two hands on gradually extending arms, one via WASD, the other on the cursors, you must push two hearts until they meet. Awwww. Except, good gracious, it’s tricky.
RPS Feature LA LA LA-LA LA-LAAAA
As is my wont of an early morning, I like to look through the new puzzle games appearing on Steam, in search of treats to share with you, my bestest internet friends. I’m not sure my pre-8am brain was quite ready for the extraordinary cheerfulness that occupies every moment of Prismatica [official site]. Ostensibly a game about rotating overlapping hexagons to move coloured tiles around, its real impact comes from the joyful bursts of colour and sound. Oh, such ludicrous joy.