shirow miwa: kimi no shiranai monogatari

toastifer.

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THIS REMINDS ME OF A PUZZLE.
shirow miwa: kimi no shiranai monogatari
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HELLO F-LIST.  I realize I am terrible at this "make time to actually write things" thing, but I assure you, I still lurk your posts and occasionally pop up to comment.  (To which you wonder, "Who's this chick?  Was she on my flist?" And to which I reply, "singing_robots friending meme."  Just in case.)  But, I actually have a question to ask.

SO F-LIST, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF PUZZLE GAMES?

Specifically I'm asking about what difficulty you like your puzzle games to be and at what point do you get frustrated and stop playing/look up a guide. 

I'm currently in the process of creating a puzzle game, but I'm REALLY REALLY worried about it's difficulty level.  (Considering it's really hard for me to make the levels solvable as it is, I highly doubt it will be much easier for players to find the correct answer.)  

To narrate the problem's I'm facing, I'm going to use a puzzle game that is rather similar to what I have in mind: Braid.  If you haven't played Braid and you love puzzle platformers, GO PLAY IT NOW.  The innovation and thought put into each level astounds me and is part of the inspiration of the game I'm creating. (Why am I being so vague about the game I'm making?  Because my idea is anything but fully fleshed out and I'd rather not throw it out there without it having some more substance.  And, you know, it sounds really dumb on paper.  I assure you, I tried.)  ANYWAY, Braid is basically a puzzle platformer that centers around the ability to go back in time.  Most of the puzzles are relatively intuitive with just the right amount of challenge, but other times, you just want to headbutt a wall.  However, Braid gives you the option of just not solving that puzzle right then, you can keep going, do some other puzzles and come back to it later when you're a little less I'MMA KILL THIS GAME.  Other games that are like this are Odin Sphere (though not a puzzle game, if you're not up to fighting that 5 star stage, you can usually go around it/avoid it.), and some parts of the Mario series.

In contrast to this, we have linear puzzle games such as the Professor Layton series and 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors.  These games don't allow you to skip a puzzle and come back later, you have to finish the puzzle before the game will proceed.  (P.S. PLAY BOTH OF THESE.  They are both amazing games.)  Generally, these games are more plot-based, and your motivation for solving the puzzle is to see what happens next.  (Okay, Layton plot isn't always the best, but the charm of the games is enough to make me want to keep playing.  999 though, THAT PLOT. ♥)  Braid on the other hand, while having a plot, is not why I keep playing, I just want to see what next devilishly well-thought out puzzle they have for me.  (YEAH I OBSESS OVER PUZZLES GAMES.  <<;)  

Actually, I realized a better example for that last category is Portal, (also amazing, but I assume most people have played it...), but I kind of just wanted to pimp Layton and 999.  I REGRET NOTHING.

The game I want to make has the linearity of the second set of games, minus the amazing plot (me making amazing plot? pshaw), but with Braid-style puzzles.  My question is, would this make you want to throw things?  Would not being able to skip the puzzle frustrate you enough to make you stop playing?  And do you find challenging puzzles fun?  How about devilishly challenging puzzles?  Puzzles with only one answer? 

Or, TLDR: It'd really help me out if you'd answer these questions:
  1. Do you like puzzle games?
  2. Is plot important to you in a mainly puzzle game?  What if it's a very subtle plot?
  3. When do you give up on a puzzle game?
  4. Does not being able to skip a puzzle frustrate you?
  5. Do you find challenging puzzles fun?  Devilishly challenging puzzles?
  6. Do you prefer you puzzle games to have only one answer or multiple answers.  (Really only applicable to platforming puzzle games)
And uh... hi, how are you f-list?

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1. Do you like puzzle games?
Yeah! I mean, not good enough at it, but yeah.

2. Is plot important to you in a mainly puzzle game? What if it's a very subtle plot?
Yeah, plot is usually my motivation-- like said, like them, but not great at them. Subtle plot? That just leaves me wanting MOAR. I LOVE Braid to pieces.

3. When do you give up on a puzzle game?
Basically, when it's not fun anymore. If I can skip it, I will, but if not, I'll just look up the answer.

4. Does not being able to skip a puzzle frustrate you?
Yes, but if the game's genre is indeed puzzles, can't really blame it. However, if a game isn't motivating enough to overcome frustration and there's no solution on the internet somewhere, I'll honestly just quit.

5. Do you find challenging puzzles fun? Devilishly challenging puzzles?
Oh yes, hopefully not too early on though. The level of difficulty I could handle was like... Portal level-of-difficulty, and like all those little indie puzzle games on steam. Most of the time, there will be like 1 or 2 puzzles where I end up like boiling my head over and end up looking up the answer, but that's fine. However, Braid, I'm ashamed to say, almost all the puzzles later on I ended up looking up the solution to.

6. Do you prefer you puzzle games to have only one answer or multiple answers. (Really only applicable to platforming puzzle games)
Umm, one, but I dunno, most puzzles I've seen are this way..

Ah~ thanks so much for replying. AND BRIAD LOVE. I cannot get over how wonderful that game is. (And I was watching my friend getting all the secrets and all I had to say was: what...? WAIT WHAT.)

One example of multiple answer puzzles I was thinking about is Atlus' Catherine. From the gameplay videos I've seen, it's rather hard, but there are multiple ways to solve the puzzles, so those who are especially good can get more points.

It looks like I'm going to have to beef up the plot a bit. I wanted to do something like Shadow of the Colossus in terms of plot... but I'm not sure that's going to be enough motivation to play.

Well, it doesn't have to be too story-like-- something like Portal honestly kept me motivated to play too, whether it be the snarky dialogue or simply wondering "is there really cake?" Braid's plot was mostly awesome for the crazy abstract plot it had, but not many games did that in the first place.

1. Do you like puzzle games?

Yes!

2. Is plot important to you in a mainly puzzle game? What if it's a very subtle plot?

I like plot in general, but as long as the puzzles are fun I don't mind if it's a bit thin. Subtle is fine, too. Although you mention Portal as an example of a plot-driven puzzle game, I actually think it balanced gameplay and plot quite well, perhaps the most evenly of all the games you mention (well, I haven't played 999, so I can't speak for that one). It also integrated them a bit better than do the Layton games, where the puzzles and the plot largely have nothing whatsoever to do with each other, it's just that they're both so charming that you don't really mind.

3. When do you give up on a puzzle game?

I don't give up on them much, but if I get extremely stuck and frustrated I do look up the answers.

4. Does not being able to skip a puzzle frustrate you?

No, not really. Most puzzle games I'm familiar with don't allow you to skip puzzles, so it's never really occurred to me as a thing to look for.

5. Do you find challenging puzzles fun? Devilishly challenging puzzles?

Challenging is good! What matters to me is that there's a logical way to figure out what to do — i.e. that I don't feel like there was no way I could've known to do that without reading your mind or a walkthrough. Which is not to say that if I ever have to consult a walkthrough it's a bad game, more that when I do I'd rather go "oh, duh, why didn't I think of that?" than "... christ, how was I supposed to know that?"

6. Do you prefer you puzzle games to have only one answer or multiple answers. (Really only applicable to platforming puzzle games)

I always think it's neat when there are multiple solutions, but it's not a must-have thing.

First off, thanks for replying! It's so great to see puzzle-game love.

Well, actually that's true about Portal. While the plot of Portal wasn't the heaviest part of the game, the feeling and personality of the game really kept me motivated. As I mentioned in a previous comment, I was thinking something more like Shadow of the Colossus (where the majority of the plot is at the beginning and end with practically nothing in the middle.)

Actually yeah, I guess the most important part is going to be pacing or letting the player get used to the game so that the puzzles aren't so out there.

Oh yes, you put that perfectly when it comes to difficulty! I'd rather go "oh, duh, why didn't I think of that?" than "... christ, how was I supposed to know that?"

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