After dabbling in developing a multitude of game mechanics, I would assert that designing a good puzzle is one of the most challenging. Don’t get me wrong, all mechanics present their challenges in design and balance, but puzzles are a unique blend of difficulty and rule communication that’s tough to get right.
- In the Scout Act 2 we introduce our sliding box puzzle on a clear stretch where a player gets to the solution in a single click. Teaching 1) crates on ice travel in a straight line until they hit an obstacle and 2) a crate can be used as a leg up
- In our example, our second sliding box puzzle is the same, except the ledge you want to grab is an overhang and not a flat wall, reinforcing the importance of placement on the crates. If the crate is flush against the wall, the overhang blocks your boost, but if it is aligned with the ledge, you may proceed.
- Our third and fourth crate puzzles introduce short scented crates. Showing that the scents can be used as lures but aren’t always tall enough to help reach a ledge. We also introduce the interaction of multiple boxes, and how they can become an obstacle to help with getting boxes where you want/need them.
- The level in Act 2 caps this by requiring a short scented crate be used as a lure. There are larger crates that you need to use for positioning, and the twist in thinking is not to use the box as a leg up, but to use its small size to pass through a gap.