Review – Obduction

Strangely enough I played the parody of Myst before I even knew the original existed, a series of postcards with brilliantly crass and surreal humour featuring John Goodman as King Mattress. I loved it, but finding Myst was a revelation I don’t think I was entirely prepared for.

The Myst series is what made Cyan Worlds what they are today, though they’ve had a few older titles that are broadly forgotten along with a smattering of mobile releases that have gone unnoticed. Myst, it’s various sequels, re-releases and spin-offs are amongst the best puzzle games ever created, due in no small part to their use of observation and deductive reasoning rather than any dependence on the Lock and Key method I spoke of last week. They created worlds by the dozen, each with their own rules and internal logic that you uncover through studying the works of others and experimenting yourself, then using that knowledge to resolve the puzzles in front of you.

The question is can Cyan recapture the magic with a new title? Obduction is a title I picked up a while back, sincerely looking forward to something fascinating, something new. And as soon as I got past the title the whole thing crashed. Ahh well, nice new computer, nice new game… Continue reading “Review – Obduction”

Puzzling Encounters: Lock & Key

The Point and Click Adventure genre leans a little too heavily on one very simple puzzle which I’ll refer to here as the Lock & Key: finding Thing A and applying to Thing B in order to proceed.

To be clear, things A and B can be a wide variety of things, a ladder and a wall, a photograph and a person, an ostrich and a sandwich toaster, or an actual key that corresponds to an actual lock. We can all thing of a few dozen examples, if pressed we could probably come up with that many from the same title. Grim Fandango, Machinarium, the Discworld game series, to an extent one could argue The Room, all make heavy use of this basic set up. Why?

Well, ignoring for a moment the fact that it is very simple and easy to put together in game, from a game design perspective it’s no bad thing either. It’s an un-failable task, you can’t get it wrong, you can only keep trying. It’s an obstacle to be overcome, to face the next obstacle, and the next one, and the next one. Occasionally you’ll see something different, I’d just like to offer a few suggestions of how we can shake up the genre.

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Monkey Wrench? Really?

Continue reading “Puzzling Encounters: Lock & Key”