The puzzles are fun up to a point, then it just gets bothersome

#1 Edited by BBAlpert (1265 posts) -

Maybe it's just me, but I kind of feel like this game (like a lot of other puzzle games) falls victim to its core puzzle's complexity scaling too quickly for the number of levels you play. The problem isn't that the puzzles get too intricate, too soon, but that they run out of 'twists' in the fundamental mechanics with a sizable chunk of game left. By itself, I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, but this kind of game usually maintains a steady rise in difficulty from the first level to the last. Which AVNT does... sort of.

Early on, each new level (or set of levels) adds a new, meaningful rule or ability, slowly making the puzzles more complex. At a certain point, it runs out of ways to complicate the puzzles themselves, so it compensates by throwing more enemies at you or giving you less time. In other words, the puzzles stop getting harder, the game just makes it harder to actually implement the solution. This is by far the most apparent in the last level.

The last puzzle in the game is also probably the easiest to solve. It requires you to rotate 2 blocks. But good luck rotating those 2 blocks while evading 12 drones in a very small level, each moving in different directions at different speeds (most of which are faster than Tom can move). Also, they can't be stunned or destroyed, and you have enough energy to survive 1, MAYBE 2 hits.

Don't get me wrong, overall the game is very enjoyable. And this isn't a problem unique to AVNT by any means. I just don't think I've seen it exemplified so clearly.

#2 Posted by jozzy (2041 posts) -

Thanks for sharing, that was exactly what I was afraid of when I saw the QL. Not a fan of twitch based gameplay in a puzzle game.

#3 Posted by BBAlpert (1265 posts) -

@jozzy said:

Thanks for sharing, that was exactly what I was afraid of when I saw the QL. Not a fan of twitch based gameplay in a puzzle game.

The game partially makes up for this by being pretty generous with skip tokens (which you get back if you beat a level that you skipped, by the way). Whenever I came across a level that looked like little more than just evading drones, I skipped right over it. The thing I noticed was that the closer I got to the end of the game, the more levels I skipped.

#4 Posted by Ravenlight (8033 posts) -

The lack of interesting during the middle part of the game is why I stopped playing Quantum Conundrum recently. It's a bummer when puzzle games blow their load early.

The Portal games were guilty of this to a (much smaller) degree but the writing was so strong that I could overlook the parts when I felt the gameplay getting stale.

#5 Posted by BBAlpert (1265 posts) -

I think the opposite extreme is a game like SpaceChem. That game is all puzzle and as far as I've gotten (the second or third to last planet), they haven't stopped getting harder. But unlike AVNT (and to AVNT's credit), it doesn't give you any "skip this level and come back to it later" points. So what happens with me fairly frequently is I'll just barely manage to beat a level, load up the next one, start swearing, and close the program.

#6 Posted by MisfitsAttic (1 posts) -

BBAlpert:

Sorry if this seems creepy, I'm the developer of AVNT and I'm a bit of a geek for game design, so when I saw an intelligent post about AVNT it piqued my interest and I thought I'd weigh in.

When developing AVNT I knew there'd be a risk inherent in combining two somewhat desperate mechanics. The game is an action-puzzler and some people that like puzzle games don't like action in them, while some whom like action don't like puzzles in them. I think I understand more what you are saying when I think of you (perhaps incorrectly) as sitting on the puzzle side of the fence. You see, from my initial reading I was confused, because while the game ramps up mechanics early, I continue to add mechanics throughout the game until the final area, where I give the player a breather from new mechanics and instead hammer them with more combinations of existing mechanics (which I think is appropriate for a final area).

Then I thought about it. The last "puzzle" mechanic is introduced at the beginning of area 4. In mid area 4 and area 5 the new mechanics are both dexterity mechanics. I tended to introduce new dexterity mechanics later because I found players struggled with them if introduced to early. So when I look at the game from a puzzle perspective what you're saying makes a lot of sense.

I also tried to vary puzzles back and forth from between heavy puzzle and heavy dexterity, with some mixtures between. These extreme ends of the pendulum are exemplified by level 6.04 and 6.10, being pure puzzle or pure dexterity levels respectively. You see the last level as exemplifying the lack of new puzzle mechanics in the game where I see it as a pure/extreme dexterity level.

So for those that love the dexterity aspects of the game, the levels you skipped may be their favorites and the levels you enjoyed they may have skipped. At the end of the day I think I'll end up with a lot of players with comments like this because they may sit on either end of the action/puzzle spectrum, and those who adore the game will most likely sit somewhere in the middle. At least that's my guess today ;) Thanks for posting some interesting insights about the game, and I'm glad that overall you found it very enjoyable :)

- Tim Keenan

#7 Posted by BBAlpert (1265 posts) -

@MisfitsAttic: It doesn't seem creepy at all. And you were right about my sitting on the puzzle side of the fence. I hadn't thought of the dexterity sections as discrete new mechanics in the same sense as the different puzzle elements, but now that you mention it, the overall structure makes a lot more sense.

In all honesty, I'm mostly just relieved that you received what I was saying as a sort of constructive criticism, rather than dismissing it entirely or taking it personally. That's always a great quality to see in developers.

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