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Friday, 1 February 2019

Pepper's Puzzles - #discoverindies


Discover Indies is an initiative devised by Indie Gamer Chick.  Content creators are urged to play a small indie game without a large media footprint which they have never heard of, and produce content on the first Friday of each month through 2019.  I will be using this as an opportunity to possibly try out some different genres, and games I generally wouldn't normally play.

This month, we are taking a look at Pepper's Puzzles by Emad.  The game released in August of 2017, and even had a recent patch, and features a variety of logic puzzles.  

Pepper guiding us through our first puzzle
The game is split into three game modes: Classic, with over 200 puzzles to test your grey matter; Time Trial, where you need to solve procedurally generated puzzles as fast as possible; and Mosaic, where each puzzle represents a tile in a mosaic.  There is also a level editor bundled with the game, allowing you to make your own puzzles which you can then share to the Steam Workshop, currently with over 60 additional puzzles.

The puzzle of choice for this game is the Nonogram, or Picross, puzzle.  These puzzles hail from Japan, and were invented in the mid-1980s, with the first book of these puzzles being published in 1993, and the first electronic versions a couple of years later.  These puzzles present you with a blank grid and numbers by each row and column.  Using these numbers, you must deduce which squares need to be shaded with the end goal being to reveal a picture.

Puzzle selection menu in Classic Mode
If you are unfamiliar with these puzzles, the games has a really good, in-depth tutorial.  This walks you through 4 increasingly difficult puzzles before letting you solve the fifth on your own.  Then you are unleashed onto the 'meat' of the game.  Unsurprisingly this game isn't going to be a hardcore game, however will eat up your time.  It's very much a case of 'one more puzzle' and it's suddenly 2am!

The puzzles are split into categories, such as warm-up, food, animals, science fiction etc. with each category getting progressively more difficult.  The puzzles in the categories are also listed by difficulty.  There is no 'progression' system however, with all puzzles being unlocked.  This means that if you are a veteran of these games, you can dive in at the deep end to get a challenge, or you can start with the simpler ones an work your way through them if you are less experienced, or just need a quick puzzle fix.  For newer puzzlers, there is also a hint system, however this is only available in the first two categories whilst you are still learning the ropes.

In the process of solving a puzzle
The controls are extremely simple, with a left click marking a cell you wish to colour.  As you fill in the grid, some of the clues become greyed out as you complete them.  This can also allow you to mark cells you know which must be empty by using right click.  If you make a mistake, you simply left click on the call the clear it - very much like minesweeper.

Whilst not something I would usually play, even though I have played them on paper before, I had really enjoyed this game.  It has been a nice change of pace where you challenge yourself in a different way.  The gameplay is solid with no bugs experienced in the couple of hours I've played it recently.  The soundtrack, with over 1 hour of relaxing music, is also wonderful and helps with escaping into the game.

Starting to uncover an image in Mosaic mode by solving puzzles to fill each square
Overall, I cannot fault the game in any way - it has great art, a great difficulty balance and wonderful music.  I have no hesitations recommending this game.  Whilst it won't become your next 500+ hour game, it's a nice addition to your library when you either want something different, or only have a short time available to play.


You can buy Pepper's Puzzles for £4.99 on Steam.

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