|Game: The Architect
Genre: Indie, Puzzle
Developer: Spooky Star
Publisher: Spooky Star
Release Date: Jun 4, 2015
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating: 8/10
Level/Puzzle Design: 10/10
Replay Value: 7/10
The Architect is a puzzle game of varied difficulties by Spooky Star. In order to understand how the difficulties work, you must understand how the game is played: You find yourself on a translucent board made of blocks, all of which are on different levels. You can’t jump up but you can drop to a different level. Gathering certain objects of one color allows you to bring a block one level up per object. Gathering objects of another color allows you to bring a block down one level per object.
Difficulties, then, are based on whether you need to gather all the objects or not before you exit the level.
Larger, harder levels are labyrinth-like, so that even in the easiest difficulty you will have to consider your moves carefully – after all, you have only a limited amount of objects in the board meant to raise or lower blocks, and you might end up walking yourself into a dead end.
The puzzles themselves are pretty great if you’re into harder puzzles that make you think through each step, particularly on the higher difficulty settings.
The controls weren’t too bad but they weren’t overly good, either. I feel like they could’ve put a bit more thought in them, and while it’s hard to describe precisely why, I’ll just say the combination of mouse and keyboard felt a bit awkward sometimes.
There was an attempt to put a bit of a story on the puzzle, but I don’t feel it’s that good nor that it was needed. I do appreciate the effort in trying, though. The basic idea of it is: you’re just a mysterious object tasked with bringing a world to life. It’s interesting and gives it a nice touch, but there was no need to try and add depth to it.
The graphics were probably what bothered me the most. They weren’t bad, but they were confusing. I do understand the need to make the blocks translucent so as not to block the view of lower levels, yet at the same time this made the puzzles much harder. It’s probably also part of it – to add difficulty to the puzzles – but at some pints it was just annoying, as most of the angles on larger levels became confusing – was that at the same level or lower? – more than once I fell on a lower level because of this and locked myself out of moves, or even lowered/rose a platform thinking it was going to be at the right level when it really wasn’t – or when I was really seeing one beyond.
All in all, The Architect is a really nice puzzle game but I found it hard from relaxing, and relaxing is how I like my puzzles best.