6 articles Tag puzzle


Metagun by Notch

Gah – I’m just off to bed and the really awesome Ludum Dare 18 competition entries are starting to arrive. Curse the rotation of the Earth causing the staggered arrival of sunrise and sunset around the globe!

Anyway, didn’t want to go to sleep without highlighting Notch‘s superb Metagun. Seems pretty cute when you stumble across pint-size enemies firing their adorable little guns at you. Becomes fairly amazing when you pick up a ‘grenade’ launcher where the ‘grenades’ are actually those same enemies. Suddenly you’re looking an action-puzzler where you fire your own adversaries out of a gun, then position yourself so that those angry little basts destroy the very blocks that are blocking your escape path.

Also: you get your fedora knocked off if you’re shot. You will mystify both yourself and students of human psychology and motivation by actually caring about your missing hat, and always going back to fetch it.*

This is all exactly the kind of madness you’d expect from a man who’s been live-streaming a video of the actual creation of the game. And it is 100% guaranteed to make you smile as you sprinkle a room with scores of pistol-toting pixel-men. They might want you dead, but they really are quite cute. Play Metagun (Java)

*Update: ‘Course, turns out the fedora works like Ghosts ‘n Goblins’ armour – lose it, and you’re vulnerable. Neat.


Thought I was clever, didn’t I, posting a link to this on TIGForums? Then realised the authors themselves had beaten me to it. I’ll get back into my hole.

Anyway, Nudo is well worth all the links and mentions it’s bound to rack up. Developers Ben Esposito and Manuel Pardo describe it as “a platformer on top of a Rubik’s Cube”. Apt description: you slide each screen’s rows and columns up, down, left and right until your man can leap his way to the treasure and the exit. It takes a while to get your head around, and it’s far from easy – but what I love is that the difficulty comes from puzzling out the solution rather than any pixel-perfect jumps or over-complicated chains of moves. As in all the best games, if the answer seems too fiddly to be fair, you need to go back to the question.

There are some real forehead-furrowing twists later on – and unlike a Rubik’s Cube, you can’t cheat by peeling off the colours and sticking them back on the other sides. Nice to see the colour scheme latching on to the latest Hollywood trends, too.

Play Nudo (Windows, download)


Guilhermo v.S. Heldt’s Blockage is much better than its name. It’s a puzzle game, pure and simple – not flashy, not very long. You guide coloured blocks to their homes, with the trick being the ability to ‘lock’ blocks in place to form helpful new platforms. 20 levels of that, and it’s over.

But it’s one of those games where the increasing complexity of the puzzles is so perfectly tuned – making your brain stretch and strain just a little bit each time to reach the solution – that I couldn’t leave it alone. At least until I got really stuck on the level pictured above.

I do like the way the blocks roll clunkily along, too. Makes you wish car wheels worked the same way. Play Blockage (Flash)

While I’m here…

The free games everyone’s talking about right now (which I might do a proper post for later):

  • E7 – atmospheric platform/physics thing that’s worth seeing, but not necessarily playing for all of its 20 very similar levels
  • Solipskier – which is just instantly enjoyable, has a rainbow trail like Bit.Trip Runner, and which I’ll probably review properly later
  • Give Up Robot – which reminds me that my dream is that, one day, developers will stop making games with bloody grappling hooks

Indie game: Fat Slice

Fat Slice

Aaron Neugebauer of Chew On Glass is your new best friend. And then your most hated arch-nemesis. And then your best friend again and possibly something more. Because his new game Fat Slice is great, then really annoying, then pretty special and funny. It’s a neat concept: swoosh your mouse to slice chunks off an on-screen shape — the catch being you can only do it when all the bouncing balls are grouped together on one side or the other. Challenging, satisfying… until it turns into a lot of waiting, endlessly, for balls to move into the right place and burning your eyeballs through staring. But THEN, just when you think it’s done, it has a few cute tricks up its sleeve. Give it a go. Play Fat Slice (Flash)

The Pretender – Part One

The Pretender

Hmm. I try to be nice, I really do. But the first part of The Pretender by Launching Pad Games just doesn’t seem to justify the attention it’s getting. It’s one of those puzzle-games-in-a-platformer thingies. You play some sort of Victorian conjuror who opens up a magic portal and has to rescue his trapped audience members from an alternate universe or something. And people complain about stories with plumbers and princesses, eh? In visuals, and music, and atmosphere, The Pretender has the desperation to be Braid written all over it. And the puzzles — which, inexplicably, mainly involve the conjuror transforming into The Incredible Hulk to push rocks about — aren’t quite as clever or compulsive as they think they are. I’ve spent some time thinking about this, and I’ve come to the conclusion that people want to like this because the main character wears a top hat. Play The Pretender – Part One (Flash)