Future Unfolding

Future Unfolding’s team wants to randomly generate hand-designed puzzles

In his recent book Spelunky, Derek Yu writes about the process of designing his 2008 (and 2012 remake) game of the same name, and often refers to the difficulties introduced by the decision to generate levels randomly. He describes trying to make sure that every time a level is generated, it is new, challenging, and solvable: “The game’s first priority,” he says, “is to make sure that there is a path from the entrance to the exit that is traversable without the use of bombs, rope, or other special equipment.” Spelunky generates its levels with templates for rooms and patterns for smaller…


Test your inventory management skills in a new puzzle game

Inventory management is a tedious part of videogames. I’ve never found myself daydreaming of the minuscule inventory in Resident Evil (1996) (though I do remember that opting for playing as Jill netted you two more slots). Nor have I ever found myself enjoying the meticulous disposal of items over-encumbering Geralt of The Witcher 3 (2015). Even with the largest saddlebags hanging onto my dear steed Roach in that game, I often had to spend minutes at a time digging through and tossing out the most unnecessary junk to make room for something new and shiny. And in Witcher 3-time those minutes eventually became hours…

Soft Body

Soft Body brings colorful elegance to bullet-dodging on May 17th

According to a new post over on the PlayStation Blog, bullet-dodging puzzle game Soft Body will be releasing on May 17th for both PlayStation 4 and Windows, with PS Vita and Mac versions to follow soon after. It’s also got a new trailer to go along with the announcement, as well as a sneak preview of some of the game’s levels from creator Zeke Virant, during which he discusses how the game’s soft presentation works together with its nonetheless hard challenges. For the uninitiated, Soft Body is about controlling two “beautiful, gooey” snakes in tandem with each other, all while…

Stephens Sausage Roll

Stephen’s Sausage Roll and the blue collar heroes of puzzledom

I’m a clunky Fisher Price toy on an island made of rough patches. My body, hands, and clothes are probably toxic, blistered and greasy, as I have spent hours pushing and shoving big honkin’ sausages across pipin’ hot grills in taxing and inconvenient ways. I’m not wearing an apron. I am wielding a big fork; a mighty claw that swings in heaves. When raw, these sausages are wormy and pink. Halfway done they look like stogies. Upon being cooked you can smell the continental breakfast through the screen.They are easily the biggest sausages you’ve ever seen in a puzzle game.…


The Turing Test will have you question your humanity

UK-based studio Bulkhead Interactive has released an announcement trailer for their upcoming game The Turing Test, slated for release on Xbox One and Steam in August 2016. It’ll have you playing as Ava Turing, an engineer for the International Space Agency (ISA), as she investigates the truth behind the ISA research base on Jupiter’s moon Europa. As you dig deeper into the moon’s frozen core, the game aims to explore the phenomena of consciousness and challenge the meaning of human intuition. How it will manage this is through the format of a first-person puzzle shooter that features obstacles designed in a way…


An upcoming puzzle game tasks you with decoding classic literature

In the world of Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451, books have been outlawed and are burned en masse by the state, only kept in small collections by the occasional revolutionary. Instead of reading, the majority of people spend their free time in “entertainment parlors,” rooms lined with massive screens that constantly broadcast Dora the Explorer-style call-and-response programs meant to elicit the illusion of interactivity. It’s a pointed premise, conceived during the early years of the television’s rise to prominence in the American household. It also reflects a constant theme in Bradbury’s work: that with advances in technology, culture tends…

Exit Berlin

The strange appeal of being locked in a room for an hour with friends

It is Saturday night, February 27th, and I am trapped in a submarine. Moments ago I was dancing on my tip-toes across the sidewalk, oddly gallant amid the bitter air of the Bristol harborside. Now there’s a tall man in a yellow jacket bent-double in the corner, sick from weeks of tinned peaches—I try to stare through his facade before shying away as his eyes turn towards mine. I am not really on a submarine. We are pretending. Five adults fumbling around a concealed wooden cube for printed cards and hidden cabinets. A digital timer counts down from 60 minutes to…


Exploring the mind-bending science of 4D in Miegakure

Videogames have always existed as multidimensional. Whether we were bouncing a ball from side-to-side in the perpetually flat, 2D Pong (1972), or playing as fully-realized 3D people, queueing up to learn how to shoot one another. It has always been us: 3D humans, observing multi-dimensional projections from a 2D screen. In a recent development update from Marc ten Bosch’s highly-anticipated puzzle game Miegakure, Bosch speaks of the science behind his foray into the unknown dimension of 4D. In Miegakure, the player bends reality in order to solve puzzles. In the developer’s scientific-based vlog update on the game, Bosch said, “What you…

Death's Life

Make murder look like an accident in Death’s Life

If you were to rap your knuckles across Death’s wooden door you might expect a black hooded cloak wielding a scythe to welcome you in. This is the most well-known image of Death over here in the contemporary west. But the personification of our greatest fear has a rich history and comes in many forms. In Slavic mythology, a female demon called Marzanna is known to bring death, winter, and nightmares. In East Asian mythology, Yama is the wrathful male god that judges the dead and oversees hell (Spelunky players will be familiar with this). In Latin America, festivals are held to…