The connection between level design and puzzles

January 17, 2017

Puzzles have always been toughly designed games where the rules and design consistent. the same can be said to puzzle games, the design and layout is consistent and has bearing on the solution, like the layout of a level in a game play peggle. But this can go a step yonder in games which have a world that the player can move around in, games play portal where the player plays from a first-person perspective and solving puzzles using an element of physics. In this the design of the level has an impact on what the goal of the puzzle and how the player can solve it.

Another example of the relation of level design and puzzles is in the game ‘The Witness’. In ‘The Witness’ the player solves puzzles by drawing a line on small screen from the beginning to the end while having to apply to the rules that are on the puzzle. 

However, the rules of the puzzle are not always shown on the screen, and the way to solve the puzzle is located around the player in the in-game world. 

On the image above it is unclear at this point on what the player must do to solve the puzzle, until the player notices that the screen is transparent and that the rocks in the background line up with the grid, and by tracing around the rocks the puzzle will be solved.

Another example of the level having an impact on the puzzle with the puzzle below. 

In this one the player will find that by going around the shadows that is casted by the branches of the tree the puzzle will again be solved.

In this we can see that the level design can have a huge impact on a puzzle game, allowing new range of problems and solutions. Permitting different skills to be used and awarding the player for being aware of their surroundings, and in-turn teaching the player to look at the game world differently rather than just nice looking visual space and critically thinking about the space around in game and to some extent the real world.

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