Puzzle

Torr of Thor

NES-ish Navigational Puzzle Game

Type:
Free Download
Developer:
Daniel Fuller

Torr of Thor is a game that feels very much of the NES era, but with a fairly novel central mechanic: puzzle solving through changing the seasons.

You play as Thor, but you are in Midgard and your powers have been stolen by fairies. You can regain them by collecting runes, which are visible on the map, but getting to each rune is a navigational puzzle. Also on the map are fixed "stones" that, when struck by your hammer, change the season. Thus, for example, by striking a white stone, you bring on winter; this freezes whirlpools, making them navigable, but "bubbles in the water", which you can swim through in other seasons, become "thin ice," which you cannot traverse. A blue stone brings on spring, which melts ice, fills spiky pits with water to make them traversable, but turns sand into quicksand. And so on.


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The Cat and the Coup

Type:
Free Download
Developer:
Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad

An award-winner at least year's IndieCade and a 2011 IGF Nuovo Award Finalist, The Cat and the Coup is a small physics puzzler.

Each level represents a stage in the career of Mohammad Mossadegh, the democratically elected prime minister of Iran who was overthrown in a CIA-orchestrated coup in 1953. Or rather, each level is a small physics puzzle in which you, as Mossadegh's cat, must do something to advance the game to the next level; the actions you take, their effect on the scene, and the response of Mossadegh is wholly unrelated to the supposed nature of the events that the scene ostensibly represents.


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KenKen

Tabletop, um, Wednesday: CrystalMATH Addiction

4x4 puzzle
Type:
Tabletop
System Requirements:
Pencil and Eraser
Developer:
Tetsuya Miyamoto

Tetsuya Miyamoto has done the impossible: He has made math addictive. Miyamoto believes in "The Art of Teaching Without Teaching" and created KenKen, ("wisdom squared" in Japanese), to fool children into solving unnecessary math problems. KenKen raises math abilities: Miyamoto's students enter Japan's top middle schools and dominate national math competitions. The rules are simple. As stated on kenken.com:


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These Robot Hearts of Mine

Love, Loss, and Robots

Type:
Flash
Developer:
Draknek
Suggested By:
Narushima

I often mock game stories, because they are so mockable: generally totally irrelevant to gameplay, and often egregiously badly written, full of thud and blunder, signifying nothing. The story in These Robot Hearts is, objectively, irrelevant to gameplay; yet it is curiously affecting, a science fictional story of love and loss, carried in thirty-one lines between each of thirty-one levels. It's a little bit of narrative triumph, really, a succinct little poem.

The game itself does not suck either; positioned in the screen are a number of gears, with hearts about them. Clicking a gear rotates it 90 degrees. A heart positioned between two gears is carried by whichever rotates first. The objective is simply to bring all hearts to an upright position, at which point they turn red, and the level completes.


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Puzzle Moppet

Sokoban-Style Puzzles in 3D

Type:
Demo Download
Developer:
Daniel Frith

Puzzle Moppet is a 3D puzzle game inspired by Sokoban-style puzzles -- puzzles where you push blocks in a maze to traverse it, but cannot pull them, so solving the puzzle requires careful planning and spatial reasoning.

Adding the third dimension makes a big difference, however, since it considerably increases the complexity of possible puzzles. Additionally, new elements are added over the course of the game; ice blocks that slide infinitely until stopped by an obstacle, levitators that lift boxes up to a predefined level, elevators to allow your character (the eponymous moppet) to move between levels, and so on.


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A to B

Physics Minimalism

Type:
Other Web-playable
Developer:
Russell Goldenberg
Suggested By:
yakman23

A to B is a minimalist physics puzzler in which (as you might expect) your goal is to get something from A to B -- in this case a ball. Each level gives you one or a set of tools to place in space: walls, trampoline walls, a speed booster or reducer, and a thingie that flips the direction of gravity.

Despite the stark, empty nature of the environment, it's tricky to solve each level, but by no means brain-curdling. The one bit that seems a bit counter-intuitive is that when you start the system moving, the ball launches as if tossed up in the air -- and you have no control over direction or power. Your only means of manipulating the system is the placement of tools, which is okay, but it's not always feasible to anticipate the direction or power of the ball's initial launch. You pretty much have to do a first try to gauge this before solving.


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The Machine

Type:
Free Download
Developer:
Bumpkin Brothers
Suggested By:
Bumpkin Brothers

The Machine is not, as you might expect, an Incredible Machine style game, despite the claim that it is "physics-based;" rather, it is a logic puzzle game. That is, there is really no opportunity for inventive solutions using Rube Goldberg-like mechanical contraptions that were not the designer's preferred solution (a specialty of Fantastic Contraption). Rather, there is a planned solution for each puzzle, and minor details of positioning will not (as they will in true physics games) defeat you.

The game is played in a square (or rather, cube) grid; you have to deliver some mixture of differently-colored and differently-sized cubes to one location in the grid. You place various items on the grid to 'fill the order,' some pre-placed by the level and some up to you to figure out how to place. You can remove and edit placements, and 'turn on' the mechanism to see what happens.


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Laserbrain

Circle-Shooting Puzzler

Type:
Demo Download
Developer:
Paradoxys
Suggested By:
ParadoxysGames

Laserbrain has many of the external indicia of a casual downloadable title, including an 'adventure' mode and a 'puzzle' mode, a wholly irrelevant story bolted onto gameplay with which it meshes in no logical way, and straightforward and intuitive UI. What makes it of interest to us, however, are not the ways in which it is like a typical casual downloadable, but the ways in which it is wholly unsuited to that market.


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Station 38

Lunar Lander Puzzle

Type:
Flash
Developer:
Pat Kemp

Pat Kemp is a mainstream game developer who creates indie games in his spare time; Station 38 is a level-based puzzle game based on the "power and direction" mechanic, but in an unusual way. The mechanic is normally used for things like golf or bowling games, but here it is used in a sort of platformer; each level, you must get a little LEM-like space vehicle from its starting location to a "teleporter" exit. You press LMB and drag the mouse to indicate the direction in which the LEM will launch; a longer line indicates more power. Typically, there are obstacles in the level's geography you must get over and around; sometimes, in fact, a single 'launch' won't do it, but as long as your vehicle has 'power' remaining (indicated by the length of a blue line above it), you can draw another line while in mid-air to alter its trajectory.
More...


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Toys

Perspective Puzzle

Type:
Other Web-playable
System Requirements:
Unity Plug-In
Developer:
Christoffer Hedborg

Each level of Toys provides a set of colored blocks arranged in space. You move the mouse to control perspective, circling the arrangement of blocks, which remain at the center of a sphere. It's a perspective puzzle; before you enter the level, the game shows you how the blocks are supposed to appear, and your purpose is simply to find the right angle to view them in so that they appear in this arrangement. As a visual cue, the proper arrangement is displayed at center screen as pastels, while the block themselves are solid color, so that as you alter the view, you can see when some or all are properly arranged.

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