Get in the mood for a spring clean with a new zen puzzler

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Empty (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android) By DustyRoom It’s almost time for the big spring clean this year, which might mean you need something to get you in the appropriate head space. Empty could be that something. It’s a zen puzzler that has you clearing out all the objects inside a series of rooms that look like they were decorated by Mark Rothko. You achieve your goal by rotating your view around the room to match each object’s color to the blocks of color on the…

Night Lights

Night Lights hides a whole other world behind its shadows

“Things are different at night.” A game based on this small sentence could go in any direction, really, but the most obvious path is probably towards horror. Not for Moscow-based game maker Artem Cheranev. He went with making a 2D puzzle game that uses light and shadow so you can move between different dimensions. Called Night Lights, each level in Cheranev’s upcoming game contains one or more spotlights that illuminate a small area in golden rays. Everything else is in darkness; a contrasting blue to the light’s beam. Sometimes you can use levers or pressure switches to turn the lights off, at…

Euclidean Lands

Get ready for the twisty geometry of Euclidean Lands to arrive this year

One videogame that should be on your list of ones to watch in 2017 is, without a doubt, Euclidean Lands. It’s the work of Miro Straka, a Slovenian architecture student at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, who decided to make a puzzle game in his spare time. After a few years he’s coming to a close and is looking to get it out on mobile soon. You can immediately see the benefits of Straka making a videogame alongside his studies. Each level in Euclidean Lands is a diorama of shifting geometry; impossible feats of architectural complexity. A line…

Escape the Loop

Videogames are finally experimenting with the time loop of Groundhog Day

Before I had even watched Groundhog Day (1993), my childhood was fringed with the fantasy of alternate experiences of time due to a British children’s TV series called Bernard’s Watch (1995-2005). Bernard, the lucky bugger, had a stopwatch that could freeze time. Each episode he’d perform this miraculous feat, usually to enact some good deed, or at least get himself out of trouble. Thank god it was good boy Bernard that had the watch and not someone more perverse, eh? The image that sticks with me the most from that show is Bernard running across a grassy field as someone frozen…

Mirror of Spirits

The independent studio behind some of Lara Croft GO’s best levels

Lara Croft GO came out for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita on December 3rd this year and brought with it a time-exclusive set of levels. Called “Mirror of Spirits,” these levels take the grid-based puzzles of the game’s dioramas in a radically new direction than the main levels and the first expansion, “The Shard of Life.” Whereas before Lara was dodge-rolling through jungle and underground caverns, concerned with the paths of rolling boulders and pursuing lizards, in “Mirror of Spirits” she enters a new reality through the titular mirror, where a completely new set of rules change the makeup of…


KAMI 2 will let you create your own origami puzzles in 2017

State of Play is known for creating videogames out of physical materials. Their biggest to date is Lumino City (2014), an adventure game set across a mechanical metropolis that the team actually constructed out of paper, card, wood, miniature lights, and motors. Outside of that are smaller titles like INKS, which turns pinball into a form of painting, and KAMI (2013), a puzzle game made out of origami squares. The next game from State of Play is going to be KAMI 2, which once again is built from tiny pieces of colored paper, scalpels, and glue. Patience was also a crucial ingredient that went…


Paintings literally change the world in upcoming puzzler FRESCO

The years after Portal came out in 2007 were tiring. An influx of first-person puzzle games broke like a tidal wave over the horizon. All of them flaunting what their creators deemed to be the next big “mind-bending” idea. They simply hoped to wow people. But many of these games were were dull, uninspired rehashes. The genre was quickly saturated to the point that it became unbearable. I’m hit with surprise, then, that upon seeing FRESCO, an upcoming first-person puzzle game, I haven’t held my hands to my face and screamed until my throat was hoarse. Maybe the fallout of 2007 has…


SHENZEN I/O is here to make you code like it’s the 1980s

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. SHENZEN I/O (Windows, Mac) BY ZACHTRONICS Some games and educational apps try to ease you into the art of writing code. SHENZEN I/O isn’t so soft. It’s a throwback to the 1980s, when there wasn’t much so media geared towards teaching people how to code. Hence, it begins its lessons by throwing a hefty manual (which you can print out) and a number of circuit-based challenges at you, and then leaves you to figure it out. There’s a little bit of guidance at first but…


Balthazar’s Dream reveals what good boys dream of, and it’s ruff

A soft whimper causes you to look up from your work. It’s your dog, who is sleeping peacefully in bed. Is she dreaming? Her legs twitch slightly. Maybe she’s running around in a field, chasing a squirrel. She’s too old to do that now, but you like to think that the tiny mammal stood no chance in the dreamscape. “Wow.” You think to yourself. “She’s doing such a great job laying there.” You rouse yourself from the couch and tiptoe over to the sleeping dog and carefully drop to your knees and place your face mere inches from her nose.…