Category Archives: Puzzlers

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

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!

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Puzzler Essentials: Money Puzzle Exchanger

If there’s one thing the Neo Geo is good at, it’s… well, it’s fighting games, but if there’s more than one thing the Neo Geo is good at, puzzle games are definitely in the mix too.

Money Puzzle Exchanger is a 1997 release from Japanese developer Face that began its life on the Neo Geo MVS system before later being ported to Game Boy and PlayStation. These days, it’s pretty easy to get hold of in its initial incarnation thanks to it being part of Hamster’s Arcade Archives series, whose various releases have found their way to numerous platforms over the last few years.

And that’s fortunate, because Money Puzzle Exchanger is a great game that is well worth your time and… well, money.

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Puzzler Essentials: Take It Easy

I don’t play a lot of games on my phone these days, because a lot of them are touchscreen-controlled garbage, bad knockoffs of games that I didn’t really want to play in the first place or microtransaction-infested pits of misery and despair.

However, once in a while a game comes along with none of those issues. A game where you can pay once and just play it; a game where you’ll never see an ad, never be asked to pay again and not be bugged every ten minutes to “rate 5 stars on the App Store”.

And sometimes that game is even good! Here’s Take It Easy, by Ravensburger.

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Shmup Essentials: Murasaki

As we’ve discussed on numerous previous occasions, the shoot ’em up genre is a lot more diverse than you might think.

Over the years, we’ve seen this initially straightforward genre blossom into something that encompasses a wide variety of distinct mechanics: the precise navigation of danmaku games, the pattern recognition and twitch reflexes of twin-stick shooters, the emphasis on memorisation and “risk versus reward” of Gradius-style games and plenty more besides.

One of the most interesting ways in which developers have experimented with the genre as a whole is through combining it with other genres. To date we’ve seen attempts to blend it with fighting games (such as the Suguri series), platform games (such as Rabi-Ribi) and even puzzle games. Murasaki, a 2014 release from Japanese doujin circle Katatema, falls into the latter category.

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