Venineth promises nothing but ancient alien landscapes

Venineth’s internet presence is currently composed of three narrative-less videos, a handful of screenshots, and a loose description of an exploration-based puzzle game. Besides that, what you’ll be doing in its world is unknown. Their website mentions “ancient alien technology,” but the worlds that have been shown so far are barren but for a few beams of blue light. There are no characters, at least that have been shown so far, and no words, just a pinball-esque reference point for the player—you literally play as a ball—that rolls gently around the desert. It pushes one of the blue lights to…

Return of the Obra Dinn

Stare upon the ghostly faces of Return of the Obra Dinn

One could almost consider exploring history a form of puzzle solving. Extrapolating facts and events through ruins and artifacts and documents, putting together a cohesive story through the remnants of times. Lucas Pope’s upcoming Return of the Obra Dinn, his narrative-driven follow-up to Paper’s Please (2013), is a game that encompasses that process. A mystery of a lost ship pieced together by discovered documents and flashbacks triggered by the remains on board. In Pope’s latest updates in his TIGSource devlog, those documents and artifacts are slowly taking shape. Recent GIFs show the lengthy manifest, revealing the crew names, their roles, and…


Indirect combat is all you’ll have to tackle ENYO’s labyrinth monsters

In an industry that likes to stab stuff almost as much as it likes to shoot people, an “indirect combat” game might seem a little out of place. In fact, the concept has more in common with puzzles than fighting games, as the inability to directly attack your opponent means that the player is forced to use the terrain and any abilities they might have to their advantage. It’s the same idea as forcing a spider to fall off a cracked wall in Lara Croft GO (2015): if you can’t approach them directly, lure them to another doom.   drag…

The Sexy Brutale

The creators of Rime are also working on a murderous masquerade ball game

I have never attended a fancy socialite soirée before. On the chance occasion that my mind wanders as to what such experience would be like, my imagination inevitably concocts a scenario not unlike Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death (1842) mixed with a particularly fiendish round of Clue. A grand celebratory occasion equal parts bacchanalian and cockamamie. A new puzzle adventure announced by Tequila Works, called The Sexy Brutale, does little to disabuse me of this admittedly far-fetched fantasy, instead choosing to go all in on the inherent absurdity that permeates the glossy allure of high society. Set at…


She Remembered Caterpillars turns personal grief into pretty puzzles

Red and blue make purple. Yellow and red make orange. She Remembered Caterpillars uses the basics of color theory to guide you through its puzzles. Red blobs can only pass over red caterpillar bridges. Blue blobs can only travel over blue bridges. Combine your little blobs, though, and your new purple blob can move over red or blue. It sounds simple—and it is, at the beginning. As the game moves forward, there are more blobs. More caterpillar bridges. More colors. It gets fairly complex, but the objective is always the same: get your blob to the white flower platform so…

Slayaway Camp

Slayaway Camp turns VHS horror into a cute, murderous puzzle

Slayaway Camp is a puzzle game about massacring hapless teenagers, and, perhaps fittingly, it comes from a place of aggression. “After a decade [of] making gems go clink and pegs go… Peggle at PopCap,” said Jason Kapalka, one of the founders of PopCap, and now returning to independence with Blue Wizard, “I had a lot of pent-up aggression and wanted to work on something really violent and gross.” A sliding puzzle game isn’t the most likely candidate to vent such vicious desires. And that’s entirely the point—Kapalka is looking to assault the sparkly, saccharine game genre with Slayaway Camp in action. As…

Codex Silenda

A wooden book filled with puzzles is the coolest new toy

The Codex Silenda is a set of intricate wooden puzzles that quickly reached its funding goal on Kickstarter many times over. It’s the kind of object you’d expect to be hand-carved by a slightly eccentric artisan, but it’s laser-cut, and one of the reward tiers gets you the pieces, which you would then assemble into the puzzle yourself. As it turns out, the laser-cutter can do for the mechanical wooden toy what the printing press did for books. There were books before the printing press: painstakingly hand-copied manuscripts with margins full of knights jousting snails, but hand-written and hand-bound books…


HackyZack is about living with anxiety, but you probably won’t realize

HackyZack is a “shitty metaphor” for creator Zack Bell’s thoughts and feelings on his own past. (“Shitty metaphor” is his phrasing, by the way.) It takes a Super Meat Boy (2010) approach to platforming—its meaning abstracted and then scattered among undeniably crisp platforming challenges. But where it differentiates from other platformers is in its multitasking. In HackyZack, players have to bounce around a plethora of obstacles all while maneuvering different balls to a goalpost. So let’s get to it: HackyZack is about living with social anxiety—trying to escape its grasp by imprinting it onto a person or object that simulates comfort and security. For HackyZack’s…


Relax your body, tease your mind with artful puzzle game Klocki

Maciej Targoni, the creator of Klocki, describes himself as a Polish game developer that lives in the woods, and wants his puzzle games to communicate with players using only its mechanics. His game has no score, no timer, and no tutorial—just blocks and shapes. Mostly lines. A distinct design style rooted in a minimal aesthetic is established within Klocki—but it’s not what defines it. Targoni was more interested in creating a game with sharp mechanics. It’s the simplicity and clarity of the gameplay that inspires the art, he says. it’s actually pretty calming Targoni’s early prototypes reaffirm this process. Scrolling through…