PuzzleScript is a simple, open-source game engine by Stephen “increpare” Lavelle that allows you to easily create turn-based puzzle games using a unique scripting language. The engine is HTML5-based and games can be built and shared (along with their source code) straight from your browser. The graphics, which are composed of 5×5 tiles, are also designed within the editor, in the same manner that levels are defined.
There are already quite a few clever games in the burgeoning PuzzleScript gallery, showing off the flexibility of the engine, as well as its ease-of-use – although some of the developers are seasoned indies (like Terry Cavanagh, Joseph White, and Stephen himself), quite a few of them are from first-time creators (like Jonah Ostroff, who made Heroes of Sokoban, shown above).
After celebrating an 11th anniversary, Eyezmaze has released a new game: Grow Maze. If you persevere ardently, you’ll be able to discover all its charms and whims.
I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of puzzle platformers (or even puzzle games, to be honest), but when they’re good, they’re good. With The Swapper, Finnish studio Facepalm Games has not only uncovered a fun new mechanic but also crafted an extremely intriguing science fiction tale around it. Though the central themes may not be completely original to sci-fi, the way they come into focus as you solve puzzles and explore the beautiful claymation world is deftly executed. This is a great example of how to tell a story with a challenging game.
IGF 2013 Excellence in Design nominee Starseed Pilgrim was released on Steam today (Steam releases were offered to all the nominees this year). This unassuming and enigmatic puzzle platformer has become a hit with a number of indie game developers, including Bennett Foddy (QWOP) and Braid creator Jonathan Blow, who called it his game of the year for 2012. Since so much of the enjoyment from Starseed comes from figuring out how the game works, it’s hard to describe even the basic goals without spoiling it. If that sounds fun to you in and of itself, you should probably give it a go.
Jelly no Puzzle is the latest difficult puzzle game from Qrostar. It shares some similarities with his earlier Hanano Puzzle but has enough changes in the gameplay to make it a new challenge. Mainly, the jelly blocks push each other instead of being switchable.
Qrostar is still making tweaks to the game before finalizing it, but I found the current version very playable. The latest improvement-in-progress should help to compensate for colorblindness through adjustments made to the color values. So, if you have something to report or a comment to share with him, you can head over to his diary to post it. That’s also were you can find a link to download alternate versions of levels 38, 39 and 40 that were replaced during development.
This is the first official trailer for The Witness, a first-person puzzle game by Jonathan Blow and his new team. It was shown today at a Sony press event where they unveiled the PS4, the only console that the game will launch on. The other two launch platforms for The Witness are PC and iOS.
It’s maybe easiest to compare Antichamber to Portal, but it actually reminds me more of The Manhole, an old children’s adventure game where a boat ride down a river might take you into the teacup of a character you were chatting with earlier. Like that game, Antichamber is constantly subverting your expectations about what is possible, especially with regards to physical space, and gives you a relatively large amount of freedom to explore its interconnected world. However, whereas The Manhole was goalless and sometimes completely random, Antichamber has a logic behind it – a method to its madness – that makes it such an interesting puzzler (and a technical marvel, as well).
There’s no story to speak of in the game and barely even any text. Instead, proverbs are found on posters as you play, encouraging outside and inside the box thinking in life and acting as simple metaphors for the game’s puzzles. Antichamber is almost self-referential in this sense, since, according to its press page, the development got its start 7 years ago through “a series of naive programming mistakes” made by its creator, Alexander Bruce. And just as Bruce must have undoubtedly felt surprised, frustrated, and ultimately elated during his development of the game, so should fans of puzzle games that end up playing this terrific title.
What’s in the Box? is a clever puzzler from Finlay Costello, aka “finc”. The goal of the game is to carry a red box out of each level using your snake-like arm, a task complicated by the fact that the box is stopped by the red X’s and your hand is stopped by blue ones. Winning involves timing as well as puzzle-solving, and you’ll have to play perfectly (zero errors) to find out what’s in the box.
It should be mentioned that this is the first video game finc has ever made, using Game Maker 8. Congratulations!
Colin Northway’s physics puzzler Incredipede came out last week. In this unique game you guide a little cyclopean creature named Quozzle to the sunbeam at the end of 60 pre-made levels or a potentially infinite number of user-made levels (currently there are over a hundred in the in-game level browser). The challenge arises from controlling Quozzle’s legs, which are built out of long bones and squishy muscles. Some levels will give you a pre-made body and task you with the movement only, whereas others will let you place musculature or even bones. Needless to say, solutions to Incredipede’s levels can be quite varied and the free-form nature of the puzzles are a big part of the game’s appeal.
Overall, the production values are quite good, with attractive woodblock-style visuals by Thomas Shahan and sound effects by Super Meat Boy’s Jordan Fehr. Perhaps most impressive, however, is the game’s interface, which is quite intuitive, whether you’re adding legs to Quozzle or developing your own level to share with other players online. This is especially important given how often you’ll be tweaking your creations, which, if you’re anything like me, will veer toward the break-dancing, as-many-legs-as-possible variety.
Fans of Colin’s first title, Fantastic Contraption, will feel at home with Incredipede, as they are similar games at heart. Incredipede is available for $15 direct or from GOG.com. An 11-level demo is playable on the game’s website but does not include any of levels where you get to design your own Quozzle.
Steam Greenlight: Incredipede
This is a new trailer for Colin and Sarah Northway’s Incredipede, which features artwork by Thomas Shahan. Slated for a late October release, Incredipede is a physics-based platformer where you control Quozzle, a little creature that can be built and rebuilt using jointed limbs and muscles. According to the game’s website, it will come with 60 levels and a level editor.