Puzzle

Wayward Manor review

Christopher Livingston at

If you love puzzle games and Neil Gaiman, I have some great news for you: there are a lot of great puzzle games and Neil Gaiman books out there for you to enjoy! I also have some bad news.

Wayward Manor sounds like fun: a creepy old mansion is full mean, tacky people, and it's your ghostly duty to haunt them until they flee in fright. Throw in a Neil Gaiman story and hand it to The Odd Gentlemen, the studio behind the highly enjoyable The Misadventures Of P.B. Winterbottom, and it sounds like a great game. The only problem is: everything.


Clever chemistry puzzler Sokobond comes to Steam next week

Phil Savage at

Sokobond is coming to Steam. I know this because I've just watched a video called "Did you know? Sokobond is coming to Steam on July 21st", (the answer to that question being, "I do now"). If you like the sound of chemistry-based, molecule-pushing puzzling, you don't have to sit at the Steam page, waiting for that date to arrive. Sokobond can be bought directly from its creators, and all who purchase will receive a Steam key after it's launched on Valve's service next week.


MouseCraft review

Philippa Warr at

A cross between Lemmings and Tetris - that's how puzzle game MouseCraft is described by its developers, Crunching Koalas.

Playing the first level, what it's taken from classic puzzlers is clear. In terms of Lemmings, you're getting the A to B nature of the levels and the determination of the little mice to march in one direction until they hit an obstacle. In terms of Tetris you're getting the tetrominos reimagined as building blocks and stepping stones.


Smart puzzle roguelike The Nightmare Cooperative releasing on Steam next week

Tom Sykes at

The Nightmare Cooperative has come a long way since its clever browser-based prototype back in March. It's still clever, but now it's gorgeous too, boasting a lovely angular art style that fits the turn-based puzzling like a glove. This new version of the single-player co-op roguelike (I'll get to that in a moment) now has a trailer, along with a release date: Wednesday July 16th. Thoughts and moving images after the break.

A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build trailer introduces the charming, chilly puzzler

Phil Savage at

Take a short break from slowly toasting in the Summer heat to appreciate this trailer for the snow-filled puzzle game A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build. It's a Sokoban-style block-pushing game, in which you must create a snowman by rolling and stacking snowballs of descending size. It's as close to the Winter months as most of us will get without resting our head in a freezer.


Fleish and Cherry sets a puzzle-filled adventure in a 1930s cartoon

Omri Petitte at

Most of us weren't born early enough to witness the pioneering of American animation during the early 1900s. Classics such as Steamboat Willie, Betty Boop, and Felix the Cat brightened many faces troubled by the Great Depression with a distinctive, bouncy style—a humble hand-drawn origin for the richly colored CGI of today's films. As games reflect the kind of art we enjoy in our culture, I'm glad for the extra attention given to Fleish & Cherry, a Greenlit puzzler themed after Fleischer-esque cartoons with a tale of rescue, jealousy, and obligatory slapstick humor.


Fract OSC review

Cory Banks at

I love music. I love the way it makes me feel, how a few simple notes strung together in a pattern can fill me with joy. Move the notes in just the right way and that joy becomes sadness. It’s a kind of magic, one that should be fertile ground to explore in a game. That’s what Fract OSC attempts to do, and I really wanted it to succeed. But after spending some time in the game’s world, I don’t find myself feeling much of anything at all.


Life Goes On review

Tyler Wilde at

I love how death is such a versatile tool in games. It can mean failure, total defeat, or be the first of many; it can be tragic, it can reveal new information, it can be funny. In Life Goes On, collapsing into a heap of silly limbs is the only way forward. Using death as a puzzle solving tool is a smart and inventive subversion of the usual fail state, and I’m surprised I haven’t seen it done like this before. I'm also disappointed that it was executed so weakly.


Source SDK mod Estranged: Act I now on Steam for free

Omri Petitte at

It's always nice to see a mod progress from humble beginnings to its own Steam product page, and Estranged is fully deserving of the achievement. Alan Edwardes' spooky, puzzle-filled FPS plays and looks like a first-person Alan Wake, and it's an excellent deviation from standard run-and-gun zombie-fragging with its supernatural twists and an atmospheric sense of foreboding. The first act is available on Steam as a free download independent of any Source-based game, so you won't need Half-Life 2 to jump in and start exploring.


Samorost 3 details revealed - will have three planets, each with their own distinct soundtracks

Tom Sykes at

Amanita Design's stunning adventure games have become inseparable from their beautifully jazzy, experimental soundtracks, provided by one of the very best in the business, Tomas Dvorak (AKA Floex). Now, a few details of the long-awaited Samorost 3 have come to light, courtesy of an Igloo Mag interview with the man himself. The full-length sequel will feature three different planets, each with their own "needs" - needs that Dvorak is meeting with a multi-part soundtrack that may be his most ambitious yet.

New indie puzzler Sokobond could be your next chemistry teacher

Patrick Carlson at

What's the difference between water and cyanide, anyway? Chemistry explains how the bits and pieces that make up the universe hold themselves together and Sokobond, a new indie puzzle game from developers Alan Hazelden and Harry Lee, wants to help you understand how all those elements, compounds, and molecules actually function.


The Swapper review

Cassandra Khaw at

Built of clay and the echoes of Stanley Kubrick’s creative ghost, sidescrolling puzzler The Swapper is superb. It’s clever, moody and forward-thinking in its disdain for conventional, permaroided protagonists, but also irrepressibly frustrating. Like the charming rapscallion you can’t help but like, The Swapper will drive you up the wall and have you coming back for more.


Magrunner: Dark Pulse review

Marsh Davies at

Magnets! How do they work?! Inquisitive rap artists will only be further confused by Magrunner: Dark Pulse, a firstperson Portal-alike in which the principle puzzle gimmick – magnetising stuff – functions in exactly the way reality doesn’t.

In Magrunner, similar charges attract one another and opposite charges repel. You can imbue selected objects with either polarity simply by clicking on them, thanks to a hand-mounted device that can also fire a magnetised robotic dog, enabling you to shunt polarised platforms hither and thither, or surf across test chambers on the back of a suddenly repelled cube.


The sinisterly cute Ittle Dew is out today on Steam

Katie Williams at

Yes, I know Ittle Dew's name may sound like something you'd mumble into a fluffy cat's belly fur, but the Zelda-inspired puzzle-adventure is a little surlier than that. Ittle Dew—in which, as Tom noted, you get to play as a complete jerk—has been released on multiple channels, opening up the smacking of innocent RPG-dwelling crystals to PC gamers everywhere.


Toki Tori 2+ flutters onto Steam with massive discount, extended till end of Summer sale

Tom Sykes at

I can't decide if it's good luck or bad for the Steam summer sale to emerge from the undergrowth just as you're about to launch your new game - though it's almost certainly bad luck if you decide not to join in. Developers Two Tribes - Rush, Edge - did join in with the festivities, slashing 34% off their new game Toki Tori 2+ from its first day of appearing on Steam. If you missed the birdy metroidvania's daily deal, however, the good news is that Two Tribes have extended the savings for the entirety of the Steam sale, which runs until the 22nd of July.


Light-and-dark platformer Contrast looks appropriately shady in these screenshots

Katie Williams at

Ah—it's good to catch up with Contrast again, especially after the swank cabaret show that was its first trailer. Now the indie platformer's venturing out of the dark again, this time with a handful of screenshots demonstrating its vaudevillian flair.


Incredipede free for Linux users, 50% off for less open-source operating systems

Phil Savage at

Animal creation puzzler Incredipede is holding an "Open Source Appreciation week", in which Linux users are being rewarded with a free copy of the game. As users of the open-source OS crawl, roll and sproing away with their newly gifted present, there's no need for other platform users to feel abandoned. You're being given a not insignificant 50% off, instead.


Oknytt explores the dark forest of Swedish folklore as a puzzle adventure game

Ian Birnbaum at

Master Reboot: a gorgeous indie horror adventure set inside the Cloud (no, not that one)

Tom Sykes at

And now for a completely different kind of Cloud to the one that's hovering all around us, keeping us from playing certain games or consoles when our internet drops out. Indie adventure/puzzle/horror Master Reboot revolves around the Soul Cloud, which lets you "upload your soul to our dedicated servers and relax knowing that a part of you will live on for eternity". Sounds like a perfectly fine scenario where nothing at all will go wrong - oh, I mentioned this had horror elements, right? The gorgeous first-person adventure has just been added to Steam Greenlight, and it's worth a look if you're a fan of Kairo or Dear Esther.


Explore 7,000 years of family history in 7 Grand Steps

Katie Williams at

7 Grand Steps looks like a beautiful, compelling, hyper-intricate game. Out today, the board-game-like historical tale will have you traversing 7,000 years as easily as dropping coins into a slot.