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I make games, talk about them, draw comics and post sketches.

onsdag den 6. februar 2013

Thoughts on Puzzle Retreat

In Puzzle Retreat for iOS the player slides his or her finger across blocks, which in turn slides across a board to fill out holes. The challenge is in figuring out the order. The joy is in the tactility of moving the blocks and result of sliding and solving the puzzle that each level consists of.

But a question arised after I had a brief moment to consider the mechanics. See there is little to no replay-value in each level and most levels are only a momentary challenge. Purchasing all the moderately priced level packs gives plenty of levels to invest in, but little joy comes from the puzzles themselves. Joy actualy all resides in in the tactility and the feeling of completion.

Is this a fault though? In part, yes. See though there is a good degree of content, the individual levels are not rewarding. I never feel like I achieve a sense of masterful deduction in regards to the games mechanics. I simply engage and fiddle until all the blocks fall into place. Occasionally there is the single level that lets me figure out a solution. But random sliding sadly serves just as well in most cases

Compare this to other logic-puzzle-games such as Sudoku, crosswords or Picross for the Nintendo DS. Each level in such a puzzle is a rather large deductive operation that fills me with a larger sense of joy from deducing the solution.

Perhaps it is a question of being a sellable product: If the puzzles explore the mechanic to a rewarding degree, they will probably neccesarily become more challenging and thereby alienate customers.

But the small filler-size puzzles weigh the game down and obfuscates the beauty that is possible with this concept. Perhaps investing in upcoming level packages will justify the game because the sliding mechanic truly is engaging and and nicely tactile.

As an aside, it rubs me the wrong way to a great degree that the developer talks of the game as being minimalistic, when in fact the visual side of the game is so extravagantly using skeuomorphism to achieve its tangibility.

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