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Quaint Coffee-Break Puzzler
- 07/07/2012 03:23 AM
Conundrum is a light piece of coffee-break puzzling fun for anyone to enjoy.
It is a puzzle game made for the "Quest for Fun" contest on another site. The game is set in the future, where the player has to overcome a series of puzzles to avoid "deletion" of his avatar. Kray, our protagonist in this game, likes to connect to various online hosted games to complete them for rewards on his avatar. While logging into this game, something goes terribly wrong and he is stuck face-to-face with the possibility of "deletion". The game uses nothing but RTP, and is a short 15-20 minutes playthrough. This is Zortik's first completed title.
+ Simple graphics
+ Effective controls
- Not much style
- Could use more polish
The game is presented primarily with RTP graphics, BGMs, and SFX. The controls are intuitive, and it is always apparent what you are supposed to do while playing. The game is simple: navigate through several puzzles to gain a reward at the end. But saying the game is simple belittles its apparent charm: the game is a short entertaining fun ride. The story is that of an online avatar struggling for his existence, and it suffices quite well, since it's not supposed to be the focal point of the game. The main experience of the
game lies in the puzzles, which are in turns brilliant and arbitrary.
I feel that the game could be polished more, to bring out its flavour, but the developer seems insistent on using the RTP instead of custom graphics. I would suggest a futuristic windowskin, or some futuristic SFX for the opening of menus, etc. But the RTP sufficed in this way. The game has a slight sense of humour, which is revealed more so in the ending puzzle, the "bonus" puzzle. And I'll leave that to the reader to experience, since it is quite an amusing and fun level. The game draws you into its world, but I feel that certain production values could have provided a greater level of immersion into the puzzle atmosphere.
The game was very short. This is alright, though, since the contest specified that the game should be a short piece (15-30mins), but I would like to see Zortik produce another puzzle game with a longer duration, for even more fun. The pacing is smart, and the learning curve is managed sufficiently. The
interface is intuitive, and overall there is pretty good presentation that could be improved with care.
+ Simple RTP graphics
+ Mapping is simple yet effective
- Could use some more realistic detail
- Custom graphics would improve the game
It was pretty to look at, and the tileset fit the game quite well. It could be improved with more futuristic tilesets, but the current ones served well. There is little to no lag, and the mapping quality is middling-to-good. The visual style does not get in the way of the game, but it could be improved to the
point where the visuals complement the game, to make it even more impressive. For example, highly detailed or awesome mapping, and visuals. The areas could be ornamented to make them seem less bland, or dull, or boxy. The message boxes could be improved, and their timing automated, especially on the loading sequences. But on the whole, it is standard RTP used sufficiently.
+ SFX are used fittingly
+ Dialogue is believable and succinct
- Music/SFX are plain and default
- Custom futuristic sounds would benefit the game
The music is standard RTP. The SFX pretty much nailed the appropriate sounds, from the portal sounds to the boulders, etc. but nothing special. The "darkness" background sounds magnified the atmosphere a bit, but mostly it just sounded like the BGM from other RPG Maker games. The dialogue created a believable character, but it wasn't central to the game to know the character's motivations. The music is pretty consistent, except for a small flaw in the spike puzzle level, where after you have died, the spike sounds continue. I would have eliminated them before turning to black (just a small polishing issue). Other than that, it is standard stuff used sufficiently.
+ Well-designed puzzles
+ Accessible learning curve
- Not all puzzles are strong
- Puzzles are too short
The gameplay wasn't new stuff, but it was fun and challenging stuff. The gameplay felt varied and accessible to newcomers. If the length of certain puzzles was extended, it could be hopelessly addicting. Some puzzles are intelligently designed, but some could use improvement. I could see potential
for more challenging puzzles, but I don't think that was the purpose of this game, to provide intense brain-teasers. I would like to see something that has nuance and depth to keep players engaging the game for longer periods of time.
The first puzzle is a switch puzzle, which was frighteningly easy. All I had to do was pull three switches, and a portal was opened to the next arena. I would have liked to see something more challenging, even for an opener level, but this was sufficient. The second puzzle was a spike puzzle, which was infuriating, and intensely addictive. I would have liked to see this level stretched longer, since it was quite fun dodging the spikes, and the mechanics were tight and responsive. Zortik (the developer) could have added some moving
boulders, if he had had enough time before the contest deadline, but as it stands, it was a short and lovely puzzle.
The third puzzle was a sliding boulder puzzle, which was also very intuitive and challenging. I felt that this was the most well-designed puzzle of the game. It exercised my lateral thinking skills, as well as my logic. The fourth puzzle was in my opinion one of the weaker ones. It consists of teleportals leading to various locations, of which are arbitrary. A message in the game reads that the hero does not like such puzzles, and that is no exception in my case. However, the events were still responsive, even if the animations for teleporting were a tad too long.
+ Challenging and fun puzzles
+ Tight responsive mechanics
- Plain graphics/audio
- Too short
A fun puzzle game for a small coffee/lunch break that will exercise your mind, but also leave you wanting more. And I guess it's better that you leave the player wanting more, rather than them becoming sick of your game, and ragequitting. The RTP was consistently used to a satisfactory degree, but to add personality to the game, I think it needs a little spruce-up to add polish and presentation. The puzzles were fun and challenging (for the most part), and they kept me playing to the very end, even past the bonus stage.