Puzzle games ought to make you feel smart for conquering them, but developer Might and Delight’s Pid is one of the first puzzle games to make me feel wonder, despair, and bliss along with that sense of triumph.
The game begins as a simple platformer with excellent music and visuals, only to slope gently upwards into an incredibly hard environmental puzzle game. The increase in difficulty feels very natural, and it never seems like you’re being challenged unfairly without being given the tools and lessons you need to progress. By the end of the game, the precise controls will be demanding quick reflexes as the arrays of enemies, spikes, and lasers ramps up. Adding variety to the challenge, the game also has a ton of switch and pressure plate puzzles, a dark underground maze, and some surprises that make use of the underlying space motif.
Where even some of the best puzzle games are content to present obstacles with the motivation of “hey, here’s some stuff, I guess. Go solve it,” Pid interlaces narrative with its gameplay. Whether it’s the despondent residents of the doomed planet lamenting their inability to pass through the obstacles that the game’s antagonist has given them, or the bosses character flaws being puzzles themselves, Pid stands above other puzzle contenders to make it the puzzle game of the year.
Click here for our developer interview and full review of Pid.
-Kyle Baron, Editor in Chief
Runner-up: Lumines: Electronic Symphony
The Vita has had something of a rough first year on the market and while there are some truly wonderful games to play on it, the one that has kept me coming back to it over and over since its release is Lumines: Electronic Symphony. Amazingly simple in nature, Lumines takes classic block matching and matches its speed and difficulty to the background music. Each new level presents new challenges as players attempt to clear as many blocks as they can and as quickly as they can for the max amount of points. The rhythmic pacing allows for players to get completely lost inside the game, finding a welcome groove away from the intensity of every other game on the market.
-Chris Scott, Reviews Editor