Puzzle games are a special breed. Rather than shooting, jumping, strategizing, or managing your way out of situations, you apply lateral thinking and hope no one saw you googling the answer. Summer game party 22 promises some interesting future releases for the genre. It’s not an exhaustive list, but here are some puzzle games that stood out at the event.
A little to the left [Steam Link]
Some puzzle games seem to want you to feel like you’ve inherited the Gordian knot (and not arrogant Alexander to cut it). But A Little To The Left is quite the opposite, a very zen puzzle game where you tidy up a house. There are dozens of puzzles where you search for special arrangements and interesting combinations, taking your time to find the best flow. To add a little spice, the house cat will take care of your arrangements.
The center of entropy [Steam Link]
The Entropy Center takes after the Portal games. It’s first person and uses a special gun to manipulate the environment. But instead of portals, this particular gun reverses time. Navigate your way through a maze of rooms by building, deconstructing and inverting objects, and determining the sequences of solutions. It looks mesmerizing and will appeal to all Portal fans.
Birth [Steam Link]
Exploration and side-scrolling puzzles meet lovely hand-drawn visuals in this surreal puzzle game. Your character wants to make a companion creature, collecting coins from the town it is staying in. Explore different locations and solve many divergent puzzles as you get closer to your goal. It sounds a bit scary, but the birth looks very interesting and inviting.
The unity of God [Steam Link]
This game is also reminiscent of Portal in that it’s first-person. But The God Unit takes a different approach, emphasizing physics-based puzzles. You can deploy different objects that alter the physical nature of an area, such as creating gravity, removing mass, or even bending time.
Tinykin [Steam Link]
I wonder if the title Tinykin is a subtle nod to Pikmin, the puzzle game that was all the rage on Nintendo’s Gamecube? Its concept is similar: you collect and control dozens of tiny creatures, using their abilities to overcome obstacles in the game world. But it’s more than a tribute: the creatures and puzzles seem more complex, and the mix of 3D environments and 2D characters gives this a unique feel.
Railway [Steam Link]
Some puzzle games take a simple concept and then elaborate on it without going overboard. Railbound is very much like that kind of experience: elegantly build railroads to connect different points and move carriages in sequence. With over 100 puzzles and a very nice visual design, it looks like a safe bet.
lab rat [Steam Link]
Portal’s influence is also very evident in Lab Rat, as you’re tortured through puzzles by a sneaky passive-aggressive AI. But that’s where the similarity ends – Lab Rat is an isometric grid puzzle game where you move objects around, although things start to get weird when an accident happens and later stages feel anything but conventional.