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There’s hardly anyone who doesn’t love puzzle games. You can find several games based on puzzles. But not everything is intriguing. Some developers just create such games for namesake and bombard them on their website. The adrenaline pump when you solve a puzzle only comes when it is good. It is long gone, right? What makes a puzzle good?
Traits of a good puzzle game
Whenever you are trying to make or find a puzzle game, some aspects can help land on a good one. Millions of games are available online but, you can still choose the right one for you. Consider these aspects to catch the appropriate game with all the enthrall you are looking at.
First things first, the immediate thing catching everyone’s eye is how a puzzle presents itself. As I said before, there are several games based on a similar genre. Why is it that only a few games host millions of users and the others fail miserably? Any game should be welcoming and rewarding. Let’s delineate it:
Consider a game with poor graphics and a similar game with stunning metaphors. Since the games are similar, they come with the same rules. But players usually find the latter easy and understandable. The second game presents itself better, letting people understand easily. Simply put, a player would want to know what happens when they make a move before actually taking it. This is where you can play around with graphics and design.
Another crucial aspect of a puzzle game’s presentability is disclosing all the pieces of a puzzle. Let’s take the above examples again. When a game is clearly explained, it is laying the entire puzzle before the player. Understanding the holistic picture often attracts players, as they can decode the puzzles easily!
A good puzzle is something that wants to be solved by a player. So, presenting the whole puzzle with relevant metaphors can encourage more people towards it.
A puzzle game becomes interesting when you make the best use of the space. As in, you can use the slightest of gaps to create intrigue. Or, you can play around with useless puzzle pieces to create a lead. Such unexpected delights have a lot of impact on puzzle games.
· Possibility Space:
Take a lengthy puzzle. Every move you make will have a different possibility and open a new dimension of the game. But at last, you either solve the puzzle or end up messing with the whole thing. So, you can use the puzzle’s possibility space to create as much intrigue as possible.
Usually, large puzzles have more possibility space. That is not at all an advantage. Players wouldn’t want to get stuck with the same thing for hours, right? Moreover, people mistake lengthy puzzles to be hard. Well, that depends on a player’s perspective. I can take hours but, you can solve the same thing in hours!
So, a minimal game can still be interesting if the possibility space is used in the right way. The opposite can happen too!
Puzzles are mysterious. When you add a little more, people would always be excited. Well, making it clumsy is not what we are talking about. The game should have its originality intact while adding these little elements. Wonder why most puzzle games happen in fantasy and mysterious lands? They add the element of surprise and make the puzzles exciting.
Letting that aspect of unpredictability drives people more to such games. Of course, the game has to be simple. But you can add these surprises between the levels! So, let the games be simple to the core. But the tweaks in the form of mystery are a game-changer too.
Remember we were talking about the enthrall and the adrenaline rush? They are like a breakthrough for puzzles. Usually, you can find two different aspects in these games. Have a look:
The game has the same puzzle, and you do nothing but solve the same thing again.
The game presents different versions of the same puzzle opening different dimensions. It opens the gates to a new aspect in each level and adds to the interest.
Which one would you choose among these games? The second one, right? Designers can play around with these interactions and line them up differently before the players. These little interlinks always have the edge and grab everyone’s attention.
There is always a natural progression linked to these games. For example, consider a jigsaw puzzle game. A novice player cannot solve the super hard levels, right? So, the mechanics and ideas used to create the game need to start from the beginning. As in, the difficulty levels increase as the levels progress but a good puzzle game is not something that starts with a challenging level.
This aspect is interlinked to the game’s presentability. As I said before, designers use different metaphors to introduce the game, right? Using them too much is also a problem. The options run out, and the game might come up with the same things for all the levels, leaving the players bored. There is usually a hidden line of the extent of using these ideas. Using the appropriate number leaves more options for upcoming levels and keeps the game’s intrigue intact.
7. Player Restrictions
Any player would want to do everything with a puzzle. So, restricting their actions is not a good thing. Say puzzle gives you limited access to moving the pieces or objects. What if you wanted to try a different possibility? So, a good puzzle game lets the players use their creativity and doesn’t restrict their moves.
These aspects usually make any puzzle game exciting. The whole idea here is to generate re-playability. The game should provide a dimension for the players to explore its features often. That is possible by considering these aspects. Designers can also add different ideas to enhance the fun. Irrespective of it all, a good puzzle isn’t boring!