Category Archives: Puzzlers

The most interesting, unusual or otherwise noteworthy games in the underappreciated puzzle game genre.

Fairune Origin and Blast: Beginning and End

Fairune and Fairune 2 were originally available as separate games for mobile devices and Nintendo 3DS, but in more recent releases for Switch and Windows PC, you’ll find them packaged as part of the Fairune Collection alongside two pleasant little extras: Fairune Origin and Fairune Blast.

The two titles are fairly self-explanatory — Fairune Origin is essentially the prototype for what would become the first Fairune, while Fairune Blast is a shoot ’em up themed after the series — but they’re both well worth playing in their own right.

Plus they’re pretty interesting in that they essentially represent both the genesis of and the conclusion to the series as a whole — well, that is unless creator Yuumi “Skipmore” Kimura decides to give us any more, of course — so let’s take a closer look at both.

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Fairune 2: It’s Exactly What It Looks Like

After the first Fairune successfully proved that you can make something that looks convincingly like an action RPG into a two-hour puzzle adventure, the natural next step for creator Yuumi “Skipmore” Kimura was to go bigger.

With that in mind, Fairune 2 is a considerably expanded affair over its predecessor, but maintains the same compelling, enjoyable and oddly relaxing blend of light action RPG elements, item-based puzzle solving and mind-bending navigation brainteasers.

If you’re coming straight from the first one, it might not subvert quite as many expectations as that one did — in that it’s a lot more of “the same” — but it is similarly delightful, and a pleasure to explore. Let’s take a closer look.

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Fairune: It’s Not What It Looks Like

Fairune is a game that, at first glance, could be mistaken for an homage to the original The Legend of Zelda, the early Ys games or perhaps even Hydlide if you’re a real hipster.

It’s a top-down open-world game presented in chunky pixel art, in which you defeat enemies by simply running into them. You collect items which allow you to access new areas or provide you with new abilities, and your ultimate aim is to explore the whole world thoroughly until you locate three plot-critical doohickeys, at which point you descend into the final dungeon, rescue the three equally plot-critical fairies, kick the snot out of the Big Bad and then relax, safe in the knowledge of a Job Well Done.

However, it does just a few things a little bit differently to what you might expect from that description. And those little differences are enough to make it a unique experience well worth your time.

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Columns II: The Most Passive-Aggressive Puzzle Game Ever

Remember Columns? Remember how we talked about how chilled out it was, and how it didn’t want to stress you out? Yeah, you can forget all that with its direct follow-up.

Columns II is an example of an approach to sequels that was popular for a short while in the late ’80s and early ’90s: the provision of an experience clearly geared towards expert players, and a distinct case of “the same, but more so, and way harder“.

While Columns wanted everyone to relax and have a fun old time matching coloured gems, Columns II does everything in its power to stress you out at every opportunity. And I both love it and hate it for that!

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Ichidant-R: Minigame Mayhem

Say the words “minigame collection” to a modern-day gamer and chances are they will roll their eyes and say something about shovelware, perhaps the Wii.

But we’re not about that sort of negativity here on MoeGamer, particularly because I know that minigame compilations can be an absolute ton of fun, and there are numerous great examples from throughout the years.

One such example is Ichidant-R, the sequel to Tant-R, which in turn was a bizarre spinoff of Bonanza Bros. And wouldn’t you know it? Sega just happens to have released Ichidant-R as part of its excellent Sega Ages collection on Nintendo Switch. Let’s take a closer look.

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Cubixx: White Lines Blowin’ Through My Mind

Over the years, numerous classic arcade games have been remade, recycled and reimagined in various different ways. Some get this treatment more than others.

While Taito’s line-drawing action puzzler Qix has been by no means immune to this phenomenon — indeed, on more than one occasion by Taito themselves — it’s not a formula we see experimented with quite as much as, say, the classic space shooters of yore — or the twin-stick blasting of Robotron 2084 in particular.

It’s even rarer that we see a reimagining quite as inventive as what we have in Laughing Jackal’s Cubixx, a game that began its life as a PlayStation Mini in 2009, subsequently got HD-ified in 2011, and which has now been resurrected once again for everyone’s favourite “I wish every game was on this platform” console, the Nintendo Switch. Let’s take a look.

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Crawlco Block Knockers: A Game That Indeed Contains Both Blocks and Knockers

If you were to tell me a couple of weeks ago that one of the most addictive, satisfying games of the summer would be a peculiar combination of venerable (but largely forgotten) Sega arcade title Pengo and ’90s Japanese arcade eroge I’d… have probably believed you, to be honest, but here we are anyway.

Yes, the aptly named Crawlco Block Knockers is a deliberate homage to dank, smoky, sleazy Japanese arcades in the ’90s and the games you would find therein. Drawing particular inspiration from Kaneko’s Gals Panic series and Mitchell Corporation’s Gonta the Diver duology, the game combines strategic thinking, arcade action, ’80s inspired vaporwave music and the opportunity to gradually reveal images of attractive, curvy women not wearing very much.

Sounds like a party, right? Let’s take a look. Some mildly NSFW shenanigans after the jump!

Continue reading Crawlco Block Knockers: A Game That Indeed Contains Both Blocks and Knockers