Puzzle games

There are many different types of puzzles, some of which are better suited for organic incorporation into stories than others. Here are a few examples of the more popular sorts of puzzles:

Inventory puzzles entail building up a stockpile of goods that are then used to solve riddles. Some are as easy as putting one object on top of another in the environment, while others are significantly more complicated. Return to Mysterious Island allows you to combine five or six objects into one new thing before using it.

Interacting with side characters to get clues and directions, or persuade them to aid your purpose, is a dialogue-based puzzle. To defeat the most quick-witted, sharp-tongued opponents, The Secret of Monkey Island’s famous insult swordfighting requires learning all of the best quips.

Environmental puzzles: analysing and changing your surroundings directly in the game, whether in Machinarium or by overflowing Flood Control Dam #3 in Zork Grand Inquisitor.

Non-contextual logic puzzles: stand-alone challenges can range from sliders to chess to jigsaw puzzles. This type of challenge is usually unrelated to the game’s plot, serving primarily as a mental diversion in puzzle games like Professor Layton or casual games like Drawn: The Painted Tower.

While many adventure games include basic inventory and logic puzzles, others offer more unusual challenges. In Bad Mojo, for example, you play as a scientist trapped inside the body of a tiny cockroach, whereas in Stacking, you gain new abilities by leaping into new and larger stacking dolls and absorbing their identities. The puzzles in Loom are based on music. Regardless of genre, the best adventures ingeniously use puzzles to advance the storey rather of merely acting as arbitrary roadblocks.

Research and development

Depending on the style of interface, adventure games usually involve some exploring. You had to traverse early text parser adventures by putting in directions like “GO NORTH.” Modern adventures offer more intuitive navigation, frequently requiring the player to drag the pointer around the screen to locate “hotspots” (objects that can be looked at or manipulated). Others still allow for more direct interactions, highlighting objects of interest just by bringing your characters closer to them. Some escape-the-room games, such as Samorost 2, are more streamlined than others, requiring you to finish all actions on one screen before going on to the next, albeit you must still carefully examine your immediate surroundings.

After that, there are various graphic styles to consider.

Identifying them

The majority of modern adventure games fall into one of two categories. (We’re going to make a few broad generalisations here to make things easier.)

Graphically immersive environments full of brain-teasing puzzles, such as Myst, are common in first-person exploration games, but there is generally little storyline development and few NPCs to chat to. Puzzles are frequently mechanical or slightly mathematical in character, and non-contextual problems are more common in this genre of game.

Character connection and storytelling are more important in third-person adventures like Sam & Max and King’s Quest. Inventory and conversational puzzles are the most common types of puzzles. The third-person perspective is usually an important part of the experience because it allows you to view and identify with the primary character on screen.

Some games, such as the character- and story-driven first-person Tex Murphy titles and Syberia’s third-person quest for live mammoths, buck these patterns, but they are the exception rather than the rule.