Puzzle-based games: have you played them?

Ohhhh I think I’ve just got it! I hadn’t realised that if the yellow tiles and blue subtracting tiles completely cancel each other out, then it doesn’t matter what else is in that space. I couldn’t work out why there were all these extra blank squares in the solution I looked up.

That probably doesn’t make much sense, but don’t worry.

It’s so true that the minute you start discussing an obstacle in a puzzle game, the answer runs right into your field of vision - like a streaker at a football match.

It’s so useful often to just verbalise a problem in the open or indeed to just take a step back as to extricate oneself from a certain locked-in field of view. Anyhoo-a-boo, your description made sense to me – I know exactly where you are/were… (seems you are on the set of blue cancellation block puzzles which seem to have a logic different to all the other tetris puzzles and it sticks out as kind of random… in the swamp).

How many lasers have you unlocked so far?

Spoiler is fine for you to read.

Yep, that’s where I am. Off the top of my head, five or six lasers I think.

I play a lot of those (just played Room 1 and 2) but one of my all-time faves was Penguins!, which is very similar to Lemmings (in spirit). But I loved the music and the penguin design, and all the cute sounds they made. It was also the first game I showed my kid, so there’s that.

Also, since the penguins didn’t drop to their deaths, a huge pressure was taken off and you could basically take your time to think the solution. I don’t play games to be stressed!

Two other excellent puzzlers…

The Talos Principle (metacritic score - 85 PC)
Stephen’s Sausage Roll (metacritic score - 90)

Buy both if you’re well into puzzlers.

The Talos Principle has simply splendid puzzle design and ramps up the difficulty at a suitable pace. You can die and if you do then the level restarts, but you always lose minimal progress (most you can lose is progress within a single level). The story compelled me muchly; it deals with [MILD PLOT SPOILERS] freedom and choice and involves a lot of philosophical discourse (consciousness, humanism, what it is to “be”) through a computer screen with a mysterious other, who acts as an opposing great force to another, both forces of which have you at the forefront of their minds as you solve the mysteries of the world. There’s a lot more to say and a lot of extra immersive detail which rounds out and ties into the narrative but you’d best just pick up this game (currently on sale) and see for yourselves - I’ve given enough away. :wink:

Stephen’s Sausage roll is pretty brutal in difficulty from the get-go and is probably the hardest puzzler I can remember playing. With patience and perseverence though, steady progress will be made. Stephen Lavelle’s brain is clearly a special place and the sheer exhaustive nature of the mechanics he’s derived out of such a simple concept (prod and roll sausages and cook them) is pretty staggering and deeply impressive.

Of all the puzzlers I’ve played recently, I think Talos has the puzzles that I most enjoyed and it also has a compelling and mysterious story (with answers), which can’t be said for SSRoll or The Witness. However, the overall polish and richness in the world of The Witness puts it over the top for me, just about.

1 Like

In these days I’m playing mostly casual puzzle games, because I don’t want to invest time into the usually long playing sessions required for adventure games.

The one that I have enjoyed a lot and that I have just finished is “Hook”:

It’s a game that requires observation and some “circuit logic”. The goal is to identify the removable pieces on the screen and to route the “remove command” so that it reaches only the pieces that can be removed. It’s a very short game (only 50 levels) but the later levels can be challenging and finishing it it’s a rewarding experience. Also, it doesn’t cost much.

A perfect brain-teaser.

I have to thank @Nor_Treblig and the other people who suggested and mentioned TIS-100; I have purchased it today and I’m already playing it.

The game is able to recreate the atmosphere experienced many years ago, when I was an Assembly coder. People who want to practice a bit this kind of low-level code will find in TIS-100 a few interesting challenges.

I think that it’s possible to use this game to understand and practice the basic low-level logic of old CPUs or controllers, but I wouldn’t use the game to learn how to optimize code for speed, though. The only way to reach the top rankings is to do code parallelization, meaning that you have to discard simple (and sometimes elegant) algorithms like the following one (spoiler)…

…and focus instead on ugly and unreadable monsters that do exactly the same thing but faster, like the following one (bigger spoiler): :smiley:

It’s a very nice game, in any case. Thanks again for mentioning it. :slight_smile:

1 Like

I just bought it on the App Store for my iPad. I’ll give it a chance this week. Thanks for recommending it.

A note about the manual of the fictional machine the player has to operate: the developers suggest to print it.

Print and explore the TIS-100 reference manual, which details the inner-workings of the TIS-100 while evoking the aesthetics of a 1980’s computer manual!

I printed it just for recreating the atmosphere but eventually I realized that it’s also a more convenient way to read the documentation, instead of continuously switching between the game and a PDF reader. So I suggest anyone to print it, if possible.

But then you’re continuously switching between the game and a paper document. :wink:

What I like about paper is that I can just throw it around the place. Wouldn’t do this with my tablet

There is a new puzzle game by Zachtronics, the developers of TIS-100, SHENZHEN I/O and other similar logic games.

Its name is Opus Magnus (official websiteSteam page) and here is a trailer of it:

Ohh. I know Steam makes it easier with its infrastructure (Steam Leaderboards, Steam Workshop [level editor]), but I hope it comes to GOG too! (and not being a “DRM-free” version)

What do you mean by that?

I had a look at The Witness after the Moriarty talk got me curious. I am a bit underwhelmed by the gameplay. Does Moriarty really like it?

Let me explain:

With this I mean editions of games on DRM-free sites like GOG which are (much) inferior to the original (e.g. Steam) version.
Clustertruck on GOG (nice name btw.) is such an example. Although being originally advertised on GOG with features like a level editor it has now all kind of features missing compared to the Steam version.
First of all the level editor, but also the possibility to play any custom maps, watch replays and leaderboards (“highscores”). You can’t even look up your own times!
Also this version never received any updates while the Steam version received several after release.

One developer was even bold enough to name it like that: Armello DRM-Free Edition, with DRM-free implying a lesser version of the game, a version which will never receive any updates or DLCs.
People even voted for its removal (and it’s now been removed btw., yay!).

There is a GOGmix maintained by GOG user fronzelneekburm called Games that treat GOG customers as second class citizens listing missing features/updates of games on GOG.

Even TWP is a little bit guilty in these regards since it has achievements on Steam, Xbox and PS4 but they are missing in the GOG version.
Btw. out of curiosity: Does TWP have achievements on iOS or Android?

It’s only inferior if you value achievements over freedom to own the executable game and play it on your own as you wish, when you wish, on whichever platform you wish. Some of us value that highly.


With GOG you can have both.

1 Like

Thanks for the explanation. Not only I was not aware of this phenomenon but I wan’t even aware of this secondary implicit meaning of the expression “DRM-free”.

Why does it happen? Is it correct to assume that there are economic reasons that motivate some developers to focus more on the platforms that will provide more revenue?

Yup! :grin:

I don’t have any dog in this fight, because I use Steam, GOG and any other shop I like, so to me this kind of reactions feel more as a political stance than anything else.

I have given a quick look at the GOGmix you mentioned and its creator sometimes laments the fact that a game was sold on GOG for a certain price but later was offered at a lower price elsewhere (for example on Humble Bundle). I really don’t see what’s wrong or even strange with this phenomenon: different shops provide the same goods at different prices.

1 Like

I guess so. If you sell 10 times more on Steam it may happen that they concentrate on Steam only, maybe not even releasing a DRM-free version at all.
But if they do it also happens that they neglect those versions which is sad. And sucks.

I hate the Steam shop, objectively. What does this have to do with political stance?

That’s not what I meant, I don’t really care about the prices or bundles situations which he was also listing in his GOGmix. Prices change all the time anyway.

I am talking about missing updates and features, sometimes advertised beforehand on GOG:
  • “missing the level editor, replays, leaderboards, and the ability to play custom maps”
  • “Gog verson abandoned by dev since 2014”
  • “No level editor on gog”
  • “Shadwen’s level editor is Steam-exclusive”
  • “This DRM-Free version does not contain the Level Editor, Workshop and Custom Map support”
  • “missing the “Story Creator Mode””
  • “Multiplayer/Coop is missing from the GOG version”
  • “A bug prevents the completion of this game. The fix came out just days after the game was released… on Steam.”
  • “GOG version suffers from a near game-breaking bug, Telltale flat-out refused to provide GOG with a patched version, despite selling a DRMed build without this bug on their own store”
  • “Horrible sound quality in second episode”
  • “Missing the original German language audio”
  • “A patch was supposed to add 4 Player co-op support and additional fixes” “chances are the GoG version won’t be getting the patch. cheers chrisM”
  • “Gog version is missing numerous updates”

(That’s from the first ~20% of the list.)