The PC has long been a bastion for independent video game design. From people selling floppy disks in envelopes to todays high speed broadband internet downloads, it has always been there. And even with the App Store and PSN and Xbox Live, the PC is often the first port of call for the bedroom game coder. Which is how we get to Puzzle Moppet.
Puzzle Moppet, as the name suggests, is a puzzle game where you play as the Moppet. The Moppet is in a desolate world and is sad and depressed. You have to help the moppet escape by pushing blocks around in order to get to the exit, you also then get ice blocks and balloons and lifts brought into it to make everything a bit more interesting.
The game is at it’s heart a pretty simple logic puzzle but with the different elements it does become pretty complex, pretty quickly. The game also uses it’s 3D environment quite well, with different levels that really test your spatial awareness. This is all well and good but the game lacks something that keeps the puzzles fun; that “ah-ha!” moment when you complete a puzzle and the positive reinforcement that keeps you coming back for more.
It’s difficult to say why it’s not there. The Moppet you control looks nice in a Lemmings kind of way but the surreal surroundings aren’t quite pushed enough. It looks nice but always feels like you’re pushing blocks around to get to an exit, the game could look like anything and it wouldn’t necessarily matter.
The sound is also a sticking point. When playing Puzzle Moppet you get some wind noises that very quickly started grating (this reviewers cheese) and a few sound effects. Or you could select a speedcore soundtrack from the option menu which, lets be honest, couldn’t be a worse choice for a game described as a “a serenely peaceful” 3D puzzle game.
It’s not a bad game. Everything works nicely although the controls occasionally let the side down; being able to move the viewpoint around and zoom out sometimes means that you forget which way is left so you accidentally walk off the edge of the platform and fall into the nothingness below the levels. It also feels like a game that should be on an iPhone or the Nintendo DS, the kind of game that you play for five minutes, closing it for a while before going back to it.
Puzzle Moppet is a decent distraction. It doesn’t do anything new or out of the ordinary but does give you a fair amount of tough to crack logic puzzles. Is that enough? It’s hard to say. You should always support your independent games companies but you would have to be a really really big fan of block pushing puzzles in order to pick this up as that is pretty much all you get.