PEGBRJE: Adjacency and Roguescape
Adjacency is a small puzzle title made by the indie dev sleepy macaw out of the United States. Within this grid of shapes, players must find a way to place the soft colours within the same outlined shape for the entire board to move on to the next level.
Players are given an alignment of shapes with a few that are coloured in to start, with the goal of filling its entirety with colour. To do this, players must click on a filled shape to spread its colour to all surrounding shapes that align with its axis. This leads to a new conundrum: how to keep all of the colours alive without accidentally covering them over when going from side to side? There is no ‘base’ for each colour, they are all able to be painted over at the click of a button, only to be saved by an undo or a restart. This area denial-style truly made my brain spin once the ‘training wheels’ of the early levels came off, as puzzles appeared to be more simple yet had less room for error because of it. Getting a singular colour across a large shape where hexagons would spill the colour over many others would become the norm, and fighting to figure out a preservation tactic for that colour was imperative. To add some ‘artificial’ difficulty to the mix, players can click on the “par?” on the top to reveal how the number of turns that it should take, making all of my attempts look somewhat pathetic when I realize I’m averaging at least 4–5 over each time. This doesn’t cover the introduction of newer mechanics later on — which don’t have explanations, so a few attempts are usually utilizing the clue in the name to figure it out.
Adjacency is minimalistic and simple, yet can become brutally hard once new mechanics and brain teasers slowly begin to be added, and that doesn’t account for the new mechanics that can be added along the way. It can take a few hours, or longer depending on your puzzling capabilities, but you’ll be entertained throughout.
Roguescape is a small rogue-like dungeon crawler made by UK game dev MSSNG. In this title, players are a small hooded figure doing what they do best; crawl through dungeons forever.
If that sounds like there’s not much to go off of, well then dear player that would be correct; the only advertised item is the objective, which changes every level and every death. Players instead will rely on doing what rogue-likes did from the past and just trying it out and seeing what happens. It’s back to basics, as they’d say, as the best way to find out what something does is to interact with it and find out. There’s wall jumping, coins to grab to purchase items that may/may not show up at a vendor, enemies all over and items with no descriptions outside of the helpful tips on the itch.io page. Players can only carry one item at a time, and if the item has an effect it will be applied immediately upon adding it to the inventory. Potions, on the other hand, so nothing while in the inventory and simply heal the player upon touching them. They can be saved for later in case of emergencies, but they need to be dropped to be used. Talismans are the big items in my opinion, for they augment innate abilities such as increasing the jump height and can alter how one might approach each level.
Speaking of which, there’s another ability that nearly went under my radar for 75% of the game simply because I forgot to check the keybindings: the ground attack. Upon reading this, I thought it was a nice ground pound, but instead it allows for the terrain to be destroyed underfoot. This completely changed how I played, for now I could get to those corridors that I thought were a waste of time, or attack those pesky monsters that normally would take a heart off my life when I jumped on their heads. It was quite the change, but it’s also one of the best abilities in the game just because it allows players to question the procedurally generated paths. Don’t like a direction? Go down instead and see if there’s something better below.
Roguescape is a return to the roots of rogue-likes, with feeling lost being the first hurdle that players need to get over before the game truly begins. Information is scarce at best, so experimenting is necessary if one wishes to continue as far as possible. The few twists to the formula — especially the digging/destruction — are great to keep things fresh. If you’re looking for somethign small to tackle, or want to pair up with a friend and do it co-operatively (yay), then try this one out for a bit.
Adjacency is an abstract puzzle game about colors and shapes. Minimal yet challenging, for the casual or perfectionist…