Category Archives: Puzzlers

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

Boulder Dash 30th Anniversary: The Rockford Files

Boulder Dash is an all-time classic game from the early microcomputer era.

First releasing on Atari 8-bit computers in 1984, it has enjoyed numerous ports, sequels, spinoffs and unofficial level packs for a wide variety of platforms, with the latest at the time of writing being the Nintendo Switch release of Boulder Dash 30th Anniversary. The official website has a nicely comprehensive history for you to enjoy at your leisure.

The astute among you will note that there are more than 30 years between 1984 and 2020. That’s because this port in particular also goes back a few years, too. Let’s take a closer look.

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Gunbarich: It’s Flippin’ Psikyonoid

2001’s Gunbarich was one of Psikyo’s last games before they merged with X-Nauts in 2002 — and the last title in the Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravo collection for Nintendo Switch.

It wasn’t one of their last shoot ’em ups, however, because despite technically being part of the Gunbird series in the loosest possible sense (it has the word “Gun” in the title and also features a cutesified version of recurring Gunbird mascot character Marion the witch) it’s not actually a shoot ’em up at all.

Nope; Gunbarich represents Psikyo turning its hand to that most venerable of genres: the ol’ bat and ball. Let’s take a closer look!

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Madoris R: The House That Switch Built

There’s an assumption among certain quarters of the gaming community these days that for a game to be “good” it needs to be technically impressive, it needs to be challenging and it needs to have complex, deep mechanics.

Madoris R doesn’t really fulfil any of those requirements, but 1) that doesn’t stop it being enjoyable and compelling, and 2) it costs £4.50.

If you’ve been looking for a Switch game that is ideal to chill out with when you’ve got a few minutes to spare, be sure to take a look at this one. Let’s explore!

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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!

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