Posts Tagged: Puzzle

Tales from decrypt: The Guides is a unique puzzler for a year with no Simogo games

Somehow, a satellite

Somehow, a satellite

The Guides came out for iOS and Android a couple of weeks ago, and it escaped our notice then. I am filled with regret about that because The Guides is one of the year’s most interesting puzzle games. It’s a beautifully designed toy box filled with an enormous variety of code-breaking ciphers and visual riddles with a weirdly unsettling story lurking behind them. It’s the sort of game that reminds us why puzzlers have found their greatest form on mobile devices, where they can act as gateways into a surreal universe.

The last couple of years have been well-served with a (mostly) brilliant array of these sorts of games: you ought to have played 2 Dreams and Matchstick Memories but above all else the offerings of Sweden’s Simogo starting with Device 6 and Year Walk. But Simogo have been all quiet this year with their heads buried in the forthcoming Wii U re-imagining of Year Walk. When I say that The Guides is the closest thing we’ve had this year to a new Simogo game I mean that as some extra-strength praise.

The game is the first adult-targeted outing for children’s game maker Kevin Bradford and designer partner Luke Lisi, who designed the badge and branding for the MLS’s Sporting Kansas City. Kelsey’s doing a full review for us but you can get The Guides for two bucks. Check out the trailer after the jump.

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Wizards of the meh: Magic the Gathering getting a Match-3 game

This is actually how I picture Magic in my head while playing the cardboard version.

I’ve spent the last seven days tent camping with my family at Yellowstone and Glacier National Park and have found a reliable Internet connection hard to come by. Luckily, Owen has come to my rescue and has made Pocket Tactics as good as it ever was over the past couple weeks. Well, I’m still in Montana–and will be for the rest of this week–but when news of a new mobile game from Wizards of the Coast crossed my inbox, I realized that my vacation could wait. What could it be? One of their great dungeon-crawling adventure board games, perhaps? Maybe a mobile version of Magic Online? How’s about some digital tools for D&D 5th edition? Or, we could get a Match-3 game with a Magic: The Gathering theme. Yeah, that’s the one they picked.

It’s not all doom and gloom, however. The name of the game is Magic: The Gathering – Puzzle Quest, and as Match-3 games go, the Puzzle Quest line is a pretty good one. Well, unless we consider Marvel Puzzle Quest which wasn’t a terrible game but hampered by free-to-play nonsense. Sadly, MtG-PQ will also be a free-to-play game, and from screenshots it appears to have two different currencies in play.

Look for Magic: The Gathering – Puzzle Quest to hit iOS and Android later this fall. No video released for this one, yet, so after the break you can check out pics of my current office. Much larger than the dining room table I work on at home. I’m not sure why you’d care to look, but I hate not having something after the break.

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Remove jazz, insert spiders: Lara Croft GO is next week’s followup to our fave puzzler of 2014


Spider been working out

Square Enix aren’t dumb, so when we (among many others) raved ourselves silly over Hitman GO last year they immediately set out to give us more of what we liked. But seeing that they’re sitting on a gold mine of classic video game IPs, they understandably decided to mix things up a bit.

Lara Croft GO is going to be out next week on the 27th of August for iOS, Android, and even the pitiable Windows Phone. It takes Hitman GO‘s extraordinary low-poly executive desk toy aesthetic and repackages it into a Lost World-y setting fit for the Tomb Raider herself. I will miss Hitman GO’s effortlessly cool jazz soundtrack but I’m absolutely ready for more of the clever puzzle-solving that it pioneered. Squeenix appear to have a new franchise on their hands.

After the jump, watch the trailer for Lara Croft GO and see if you can detect the moment that Toho Co. Ltd asked their lawyers if roars were copyrightable.

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Luca Redwood reveals: Dark Secrets of YMBAB’s Hammerhorn

Oh my god, if I die I'm a legend

Oh my god, if I die I’m a legend

Anyone who’s played Luca Redwood‘s peerless match-3 puzzle adventure You Must Build A Boat has surely noticed hints of D&D complexity lurking around the edges of the game. Every object in the world has a slew of RPG attributes, from the swords and staves to the monsters and the dungeons themselves, but the game mostly obscures all of that cruft so you can focus on the tile-matching.

One mystery of the game is the Hammerhorn, a macguffin your character picks a quarter of the way into YMBAB. Every once in a while, when your character is just about to slump over in defeat, the Hammerhorn blows and summons your boatload of allies onto the screen, where they blast every visible enemy and give you a final desperate chance to prolong your run.

The Hammerhorn is a great example of YMBAB’s playful deeper complexity: you can intuit some of its mechanics, but why and when the Hammerhorn blows is hidden away from you. This philosophy is one of my favourite things about Redwood’s games: you can’t ever fall into analysis paralysis. Redwood invites you to just play his games by feel and gut instinct. The uncertain universe you find yourself in casts you back to playing as a kid, where the world of a video game felt boundless.

I’ve coerced Luca Redwood into revealing a little bit of how the Hammerhorn actually works — a rare peek behind the curtain of You Must Build a Boat, which Redwood tells me still contains secrets and collectibles that no player has found. –Owen

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New Release Appendix: Gabriel Knight Anniversary and Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon

Nice skulls -- have you considered starting a YouTube channel?

Nice skulls — have you considered starting a YouTube channel?

When we rounded up the week’s notable new games the other day there were two that slipped the net. First, the remastered 20th anniversary edition of seminal adventure game Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers. Secondly, Spider: The Rite of the Shrouded Moon, which makes it the hero of the 2009 App Store classic has joined a Masonic temple. Let’s have a look after the jump.

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The jolly candy-like button: Please, Don’t Touch Anything coming to iOS

Oh damn, I pushed the button.

Oh damn, I pushed the button.

Please, Don’t Touch Anything is part puzzle game and part adventure game, even though you never leave the confines of your office. Actually, “adventure” might be a little much. It’s more of an exploration game in which you are trying to figure out just what the hell is going on. You begin with a single button and, from there, can work towards 22 different endings ranging from nuking the city that flickers on your screen to summoning Cthulhu himself and unleashing hell on earth. Regardless of the ending you discover (helpfully marked by a glowing LED on the bottom of your panel), you then hit Restart, revert back to your one-button state and try for something new.

It’s an incredibly strange game, but can be hugely rewarding when you get that one clue that pushes you forward. Please, Don’t Touch Anything is currently available for PC/Mac on Steam, but is making its way to iOS later this year. Much like the somewhat similar (yet infinitely darker) Papers, Please, this seems like a perfect fit for a touchscreen device.

Check out the trailer after the break.

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Is that a rook in your pocket: Shibuya Grandmaster arrives on iOS/Android

Do not adjust your set, this is an actual screenshot.

Do not adjust your set, this is an actual screenshot.

Despite its chess-sounding title, Shibuya Grandmaster has nothing to do with rooks or kings. It’s actually a simple color matching puzzle game, but one that Owen has been praising since its first iteration on the App Store back in 2010. This is one of the better puzzlers out there and, of course, it had to arrive last week when Pocket Tactics was experiencing abandonment issues.

Shibuya Grandmaster is an incredibly simple game, borrowing its theme from Tetris, but somehow making it even more basic. Colored blocks fall from the top of the screen. When 2 or more of the same color are adjacent, you can choose to remove them from the screen. You might choose to not remove them in order to add more of that color to the stack and rack up more points but, of course, you’re tempting fate by doing so.

Unlike Tetris which had multiple shapes floating down, Shibuya’s blocks are all one size and all stack neatly in one column. I know, this doesn’t make any sense. You really need to see it in action to believe it, but be ready for the urge to give it a go yourself. To help you do just that, developer Nevercenter has made Shibuya Grandmaster a free-to-play game. Before you run off screaming, realize that it’s not just any free-to-play system. This one is entirely free with no catches: no timers, currencies or ads. In fact, the only thing to spend money on are customizations of the backgrounds and color schemes. Each new background or visual change will run you $1, but they’re all completely optional. You can spend $5 to get the “forever” mode which will buy you everything now and everything that’s released for the life of the game. Again, however, completely unnecessary.

After the break, check out a trailer for Shibuya Grandmaster and then head over to the App Store to pick it up for iOS Universal or Android.

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