I wanted to love Memoranda. It comes across as a quirky, slightly dark, and fun little point-and-click game. While the story was a little strange, it was also fun and interesting without being too long. The graphics and sound design were spot-on for the tone of the game, instilling a subtle sense of unease all the way through. Unfortunately, the obscure nature of the puzzle solutions lowered my enjoyment a lot. They were just too bizarre, and as a lover of logic puzzles this went completely against what I enjoy in a puzzle. All in all, a nice little experience, but expect to be scratching your head more often than not!
The Last Days was a huge disappointment. A sorely lacklustre story, complete lack of characters, sadly limited variation of puzzles, and utterly average graphics and sound resulted in a very neutral experience. It also only lasted an hour, and while I normally hate to make this statement, I have to call the price too high considering the length and enjoyability. I’m a huge fan of the point-and-click puzzle genre, but The Last Days was just an unfortunate waste of time as far as I’m concerned.
Paradise Killer is everything I wanted from an open-world detective game; complete freedom to interrogate and investigate, not having to worry about missing a clue because you can always go back to that location, secrets hidden both in plain sight and tucked away, and the ability to decide for yourself who is guilty. Throw in a likeable protagonist, a liberal sprinkling of inappropriate humor and swearing (pay attention to that age rating!), and a truly mind-boggling cast of characters; Paradise Killer is a bizarre but wondrous experience that you’d be remiss to miss out on – I’m just praying for a collector’s edition release!
While the stat-raising portion was sometimes frustrating, and the background music did occasionally become annoying, I found Roommates an enjoyable experience on the whole. I’m looking forward to replaying the game and hopefully reaching the ideal ending with every character. The progressive stories are fun to follow and the characters are oddly compelling. I’m not sure I’d have paid £20 for it, but at the time of writing it’s on sale, so I’d still recommend giving it a go if you’re a fan of the visual novel/simulation genre!
I wanted to love Manifold Garden. It has a gorgeous design, thoroughly unique concept, and is wonderfully challenging despite being frustrating at times. Unfortunately, it just makes me too ill to play in the type of bursts I’d like to. If you’re unaffected by motion sickness then there’s a real gem of a puzzler here, but I’d recommend watching some gameplay first to make sure that you’ll be ok – I’ve heard multiple counts of it negatively affecting people who normally have no issues.
It was a fun game while it lasted, and the variation between the characters was lovely to experience. While I wasn’t a huge fan of Standard mode, I can appreciate a lot of people will enjoy that style of gameplay. The inclusion of visual novel mode is something that I wish I’d see more of in games like this, so that people can enjoy the story without needing to be good at the balancing act. I’d have liked the game to be longer because it didn’t take me that long to go through every story in visual novel mode – I understand and appreciate that it was an experimental add-on, but it should’ve been carefully tested and potentially expanded before being included in the final product. That said, if there happened to be a fully-fledged visual novel version I can see myself double-dipping without much hesitation! I had a lot of fun with Nicole, and would definitely recommend it for any visual novel fan.
I also managed to pick up all but one of the collectable objects on my first pass without really looking for them, so they can’t be that difficult to complete. Some of the puzzles made me pause for a while, which was nice, but the majority I just breezed through. This isn’t unusual in this type of game, but I’m sure someone less accustomed could get quite a bit more time out of each puzzle. I spent most of my time playing annoyed at either the off-track story, dodgy controls, or lacklustre animations, which is a shame because with a refresh (which really, should be done as standard when porting such an old game to such a new system) it could be a pretty decent bit of fun. As it is, I’d have been sadly disappointed at paying for this short, badly-ported adventure. However, if you’re looking for a game to sink a few hours in to and exercise your brain while you’re at it, it’ll fill that need nicely.
Despite some noticeable performance issues, utterly frustrating controls at times, and sometimes ridiculously hard sections, I actually found Biped an enjoyable game. I wouldn’t recommend it for a young audience though; it’s too demoralising, as just holding a direction for a fraction of a second too long or sometimes even the game itself flinging you too far off a ramp can mean death. It’s cute, quirky, and I love the idea, but it needs some tweaks and polishing before I’d go back and try for the optional challenges.
While the idea is very simple, the game itself is anything but. Some levels are nice and easy, others are considerably more difficult, and the difficulty progression doesn’t seem to be linear. I’ll barely pass a level, then the following few will be a piece of cake – it keeps me on my toes! I wouldn’t call Pack Master a child-friendly game from a difficulty perspective, but I’m sure it’d help develop logical thinking abilities in older children. Pack Master is a very basic puzzle game that doesn’t try to push harder than it should. There’s an excellent balance between design and difficulty, and something wonderfully relaxing about the simple nature of the game. There’s not much to say about it due to its simplicity, but I’d definitely put it on the recommended list for a younger audience!
I can’t call The Almost Gone difficult, exactly, as the puzzles were generally easy to figure out, but it wasn’t an easy game either. There’s a lot of sequential puzzling, where the outcome from one is required to solve another, and a fair amount of non-linear thinking required – one puzzle required me to obtain numbers for a key-code lock, that were scattered not only across rooms but also across perspectives. The only time I really had difficulty was my own fault; I turned off on my Lite partway through the game saving, so once I loaded on my other Switch the core piece I’d just earned was no longer collected even though I thought it was, so I spent an extra hour looking for what I’d missed! While there are a couple of minor flaws, The Almost Gone was a beautiful and enrapturing point-and-click mystery exploration adventure that I can’t recommend highly enough. Be warned that there are a number of sensitive topics covered, so it may not be one for the easily upset, but otherwise it’s a truly enjoyable yet saddening tale that deserves a spot on anyone’s download list (and shelf if a physical is released – I’m praying!)
I enjoy hidden object puzzle games, I’ve always enjoyed a game where I look at something and can go “Wait a minute… I think I know what I’m doing with this!” so I leap on every chance to review them. I like seeing the variation in the style and difficulty of the puzzles, and Myths of Orion is no exception. Some puzzles I figured out straight away, some took me a good while, and one particular zoom location took me a good hour to find which really annoyed me once I figured it out. Depending on your mindset, I imagine some of the puzzles are easier or harder for various people, but overall I would call them a low to medium difficulty, easy enough to be fun for most people. I enjoyed my time with Myths Of Orion: Light From The North. There were a few frustrations, such as the sorely lacking cutscenes and bizarre UI bug, but overall it was a fun little experience that filled a fair few hours of my time. I might call it a little steep on the pricing, as it only took me around 6 hours tops, but I definitely recommend it for any puzzle fan’s To Play list.
I wanted to love House Flipper. I’m a huge fan of the building and design aspects of The Sims 4 and was looking forward to playing a game dedicated to such, but the limited options tampered my enthusiasm considerably. While the control scheme does feel bizarre – even after a good 2-3 days of play I was still trying to use A and B instead of ZR and ZL – it does work, and it doesn’t feel too cumbersome despite my fingers not being used to trigger work. The task list bug did wind me up, but was thankfully a relatively easy fix so I’m not too upset. I wanted to love it, but in its current state, I can only say I like it. It was fun, and I’ll be redesigning my early houses for ages to come, but for the price tag, I’d expected more options and variation for replayability – even having the DLCs included would have significantly elevated the game. If you’re a more careful decorator though, you could probably sink a lot of time into House Flipper and feel like you got a bargain.
I love ZHED, and am going to keep pushing for that Level 100 completion, but it is far from an easy game. It starts out really simple, and I found some considerably easier levels mixed in as I got further into the game, but there was many a time I had to just put it down and come back the next day because I could not figure out the current level. I did notice, however, that when I came back the next morning I managed to solve it almost straight away, so maybe I was playing too much in a day and not consuming enough caffeine! ZHED is minimalist, challenging, and a thorough joy to play. It may get frustrating at times, but that never stopped me coming back and won’t stop me shooting for Level 100!
A beautiful, atmospheric puzzle game that has proven just how nice a mobile port can be. Unfortunately, it’s a lot shorter than I’d have liked; the main story took me around 3 hours and the Winterfest content took a further hour. I’d happily sit and play that game for days, but at more than a pound per hour of play, I thought it a little overpriced. However, add some more levels in there and I’d easily follow Path Of Giants until the end of its days.
A true throwback to the point-and-click adventures of days past, Black Rainbow takes a good story and decent controls, slaps some sub-par graphics and neutral sound on top, and still comes out as a quite enjoyable game. It took me around 4-5 hours to complete, and while £9 isn’t that expensive it feels a bit much for a lacklustre port. The Switch is capable of so much better, and it’s games should be too.
In the world of puzzle games, the picross/nonogram is as classic as a Sudoku or a Kakuro. The basic premise is always the same; you have a grid, with numbers assigned to each row and column that designate how many squares are filled in. Once you’ve completed the puzzle you end up with a pretty picture. The classic simplicity makes it easy to develop a nonogram game, but hard to do it in a way that impresses.
This Kickstarter project hit Steam in January 2020, then swiftly made its way onto my favourite gaming device. I wasn’t even 10 minutes in and I was already in love with this quirky little adventure platformer. I was zooming about like a madwoman delivering fridges and demolishing castles, laughing like a loon the entire time and completely ignorant of my partner warily edging further away. It was a genuine pleasure to play, and I’m looking forward to introducing my best friend to it next time we’ve had a few drinks.
A super-sweet little visual novel with some rather dark humour elements, Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet is a good way to while away an hour or two with a cup of coffee. I’m not sure how the game came under PEGI 3: I don’t want to put spoilers in here, but with the naked candy girl and the whole eating-a-sentient-being thing, the age rating is surprising. On the other hand, it’s cutesy enough that it never feels malicious.
I went into this wanting to like it. Unfortunately, while the graphics are nice, the game is just too difficult and navigationally awkward to enjoy for me. I think with a couple of navigation tweaks and more complete numbering this would be a very fun and challenging puzzler, but for me it was bit too frustrating.
Soul Axiom is a really good puzzler; there’s such a variety of challenges and hidden secrets that it really keeps you on your toes, but sometimes things were a little too hidden and I just got annoyed trying to complete a level. I did always feel a sense of satisfaction when I reached an end-of-level cutscene, but sometimes it was more of a ‘Thank goodness that’s over’ than a ‘Yes I did it!’.