The puzzle game genre is one of the most diverse out there, offering something for just about every gamer. My three puzzling picks for summer gaming fun are quite different from each other, but all of them provide brain-teasing fun without being unfair.
Ilomilo earned a special place in my heart with its charm and well-made puzzles. Each puzzle asks players to reunite ilo and milo, two little thumb-creatures who are trying to get together for their daily picnic and chat. They start out on different sides of a gravity-defying three-dimensional pathway made of blocks, and the player must switch between the two in order to create a pathway that will allow them to meet face to face.
Many of ilomilo's puzzles require a bit of lateral thinking, but it's the good kind in which one suddenly realizes the solution to the puzzle and feels so very clever inside. There's a nice selection of puzzles in each of the game's worlds, so players will never get stuck on a single puzzle and be unable to progress through the game.
ilomilo sports colorful graphics in an absurdist style that features everything from improbable fish to a giant unicyclist in space. The heartwarming and slightly melancholy story of ilo and milo provides a nice background, and there are plenty of collectables to seek out, providing replay value for the game's puzzles. It's a lovely game for a quiet afternoon at home that offers some good challenges but rarely frustrates.
Remember Puzzle Quest? Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes takes the puzzle-RPG concept to a new level with a battle system that's more strategic and interesting than PQ's Bejeweled-style gameplay. In the single-player campaign, the player experiences the stories of five young heroes, each of whom must command a different kind of army to victory in order to save themselves and the world from a demonic plot.
Clash of Heroes' main gameplay involves two armies facing off against each other. The player must move troops around, lining up troops of the same color in order to make a match. A vertical match sets up attackers and a horizontal match builds a wall that defends against the enemy's attacks. Special units are particularly powerful and require a number of less-powerful troops lined up behind them in order to charge attacks. As unmatched troops are easily mowed down by enemy fire, the game's strategy involves balancing your troops' charge times against the enemy, making the best matches you can with the limited number of moves you have per turn. It's addictive, and the game changes things up with battles that involve taking out specific targets and fighting bosses.
The five single-player campaigns can be a bit repetitive, but each starts off with a slightly more built-up army than the last and features increasingly difficult challenges. HD versions of the game feature meaty local and online multiplayer modes as well, making this one fun for a little friendly competition in the family living room.
World of Goo is a physics playground in which the player must get a group of sticky goo balls from one end of a puzzle to the other. The balls connect to each other and are used to build structures that allow the goo to traverse the game's levels. The concept is simple, but indie developer 2D Boy throws a ton of different kinds of goo balls into the mix and offers a wide array of challenges for players.
Between building a tower of goo up a narrow gap to flying around by attaching balloons to gooey cubes, there's plenty of creative fun to be had while solving the game's puzzles. On top of that, the game features a cheerfully bizarre sensibility that will keep you wondering what weird thing you'll encounter on the next level. It's good, gooey fun that can be found at a very cheap price on various digital download services.
By Becky Cunningham
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*