Remember the old days? You know, green fields, jumpers for goalposts? Everything back then in that mystical time was more of a challenge.
No emails, so written communication took days to arrive. No calculators in exams so you had to do complicated sums in your head and certainly no save points in games - you mess up, you start again.
Puzzled? reminds me of an old-fashioned puzzler, the sort that will frustrate people who don’t like puzzle games (if that makes sense.) But while it may possess that older-generation feel in both graphics and difficulty, it also manages to add features that make it less frustrating than its forebears and, subsequently, more fun.
Unbreak my block
The aim of the game is to match up two or more blocks with the same coloured gemstone inside. Any block can be selected and moved freely left to right, but can’t be raised up as, shockingly, gravity pulls them down.
The first problem then is that moving blocks randomly about just won’t work. With the exception of the first few levels, it’s very easy to find yourself in an unwinnable position - one block left on its own, or trapped within the mazy walls for instance.
Unlike the ‘bad old days’, however, Maturas has helpfully included an 'undo' button that allows you to step back however many times you want.
It’s a feature that also appeared in the excellent Go! Go! Rescue Squad last year (albeit in a slicker fashion), and really helps to remove the frustration from a logic-based puzzle game.
Naturally, the limitless undo feature would be fairly pointless without some level of difficulty, and Puzzled? lives up to its name in this regard.
Over the course of the 260 (yes, 260) levels, the challenge ramps up quickly, with a majority of the levels requiring a good deal of thought and planning before the answer reveals itself.
It also introduces new features and obstacles almost with abandon during the first 80 or so levels so that it never feels like you’ve seen all there is to offer.
There are, however, a few annoyances with the game. The difficulty can suddenly spike on occasions, which is frustrating due to the game requiring you to complete levels in blocks of ten. Likewise, there’s no help given if you’re stuck, so if you do hit a brick wall, tough. Work it out.
It’s also a rather dull looking game, with the graphics being drab and characterless while possessing practically no animations to speak of.
If you’re a puzzle game fan longing for the days when they actually featured puzzles, though, these drawbacks shouldn’t dissuade you from taking a look.