Posts Tagged ‘Puzzle Games’

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #51, and today’s game is “Hexothermic”.

Hexothermic offers chain-reaction-based puzzle gameplay. You introduce electrons to a grid of unstable atoms, hoping to create a chain reaction to clear the board. For 240 Microsoft Points, you get four modes of play (marathon, timed, puzzle, and survival) and a lot of play value.

The soundtrack is partly generated by player action, with actions and reactions triggering guitar chords, creating a unique ambiance. Any puzzle gamer should at least consider the trial, this game is not the same-old, same-old.

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I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #11, and today’s game is “What The?!”.

I must admit, I bought this in part because there’s still a “1 Vs. 100”-sized hole in my heart, after two great seasons of Microsoft’s online game show on Xbox Live. But whereas 1 Vs. 100 had a very glitzy and modern aesthetic, What The?! is an homage to 1970s game shows. Anyone who grew up with them, or has seen them in repeats, will feel right at home here from the sideburns on the host to tiles with dollar values being slotted into place by an unseen person behind the set. The game has a great sense of humour that didn’t wear on me. The game is fully voiced by two voice actors who play the host and the narrator respectively, with a reasonable lack of repetition (at least as far in as I’ve played thus far).

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I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #10, and today’s game is “WordWise”.

In WordWise you spell words with tiles to clear tiles from the board. The challenge comes in trying to clear as much of the board as possible, with as few words left over as possible. The tiles are stacked several layers deep, so clearing a tile will reveal the one underneath it, until they’re all gone. Similar to Mahjong, for a tile to be in play it must have an open side. The trial mode of the game arrays the tiles only one way, but once you buy the game many more open up, some of which are quite a bit more challenging. When you spell a word, its definition is provided.

I’ve played computer versions of Mahjong for years, but this appeals to me more. The game is much more open-ended because there are a lot more possible combinations, and more strategic options too. (more…)

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #9, and today’s game is “Soul”.

Soul is a visually striking game, with a dark and moody graphical aesthetic. You play as a soul, just escaped from a dying hospital patient’s body. Monsters are everywhere trying to devour you. Your only escape is to carefuly navigate your way to safety, avoiding walls and monsters as you slip around or through air ducts, elevator shafts, enemies, and any other obstacles in your way.

First off, you have to understand that this game is *hard*. It’s not trying to be easy. This game gleefully harkens back to a bygone era when trial-and-error was required to get through games, and it was rare that you would ever “beat” one. Back then, without the aid of online walkthroughs, gamers often weren’t even sure exactly what we were supposed to do in a given level to complete it. Soul feels a lot like that. Make no mistake: if you thought Super Meat Boy was hard, or something you didn’t have the patience for, then this likely isn’t your game either. For the rest of us, though, this game is a triumph that will keep you coming back for more.

This game is a merging of a bunch of genres. At its heart is a maze game, as you try to thread the needle through unforgiving corridors avoiding walls and, well, everything else in your path. Even so much as the slightest touch against anything means instant death, and a return to the beginning of the level. Thankfully, the collision detection is very good, and I never once felt that I had died when I should have been safe. There’s a touch of survival horror here, with monsters suddenly popping up from floors, and other things that were actually able to generate real chills with me. This game has atmosphere to spare, and the spooky sounds of the environments you have to navigate complement the game perfectly. There’s a bit of puzzle solving to the game too, such as in one level where you (more…)

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #7, and today’s game is “Philip Muwanga’s Hexy Trench”.

This game reminded me of a board game I played as a child, where you attempted to block your opponent by building trenches across a board. Anyone familiar with the road-building mechanic in the Settlers of Catan boardgame will see some similarities here. You start with a headquarters and build a trench system away from it. You create bases along your trench system to build soldiers that march towards opposing installations. Simple enough? It’s complicated by the fact that (more…)

]I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #6, and today’s game is “Word Duelist”.

Today’s game is Word Duelist. What I liked about this game was that it offered a lot of variety in word games, but it also wove it into a narrative. You chat with characters who tell you facts, sometimes useful, sometimes amusing (such as the history teacher who insists, among other things, that the dinosaurs were killed the by U.S. civil war, and that Abraham Lincoln felt so guilty that he created robot/dinosaur hybrids and sent them back in time millions of years resulting in the dinosaurs we read about in history books). After being introduced to the campus, you are encouraged to explore, talking to characters, and challenging them in word game duels. The faculty at this university will only (more…)

Game #8 was “Puzzwords”.

I bought this game because I was looking for something like Bookworm, but I found something rather different (and arguably better). This is like Sega’s classic gem shifting puzzle game Columns, except with letters rather than precious stones. You are given three letters and the ability to spin them and shift them. Anyone who has played Tetris or Columns will be familiar with the “drop the piece in the play area” mechanic, but rather than filling in lines (ala Tetris) or a series of colour (ala Columns) here you attempt to put together words. When you get a combination of letters that spells the word a definition is provided in the upper left-hand corner. Impressively, the game includes 7000 word definitions. The presentation is solid and the gameplay is fantastic, all the more so because it supports multiplayer. Puzzwords is recommended for anyone who likes Columns, anyone who likes word games, and is highly recommended for anyone who likes both. It’s insanely good value for 80 Microsoft Points.