Posts Tagged puzzles

Golden Sun: Dark Dawn Bits


Description: A typical JRPG with a strong emphasis on environmental puzzles.

Conveniences: An in-game encyclopedia is constantly referenced in conversations via underlined words. When tapped, these links open up entries in the top of the screen of the DS while leaving the action in the bottom largely uninterrupted.

Annoyances: Unskipable verbal diarrhea that’s only exasperated by animating emoticons.

Standouts: Fantastic variety and level design in numerous locations that rely on magic for puzzle-solving.

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Deductive Puzzles

Adventure games are filled with their fair share of sleuthing, so why do they often turn into a parody of MacGyver?

Well, gameplay, of course. Browsing the scenery for usable objects — whether they can be picked up or not, and whether they can be used by themselves or in conjunction with other objects — is the interactive cause-and-effect bit.


Way too many designers have asked themselves that very question.

Considering how many adventure games revolve around solving mysteries, though, it’s surprising that so few of them rely on the player’s deductive skills. Instead, the audience is often stuck doing all sorts of illogical things, especially on a micro level. There’s usually a clear goal, but getting there is a matter of figuring out the logistics, not the mystery.

Now relying on the player’s deductive skills can be a big challenge. It’s not the most casual concept, it can be difficult to keep all the details of the “big picture” in one’s head, and even small discrepancies between the player’s conclusions and the designer’s intentions can result in an impasse.

Still, it’s not impossible.

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