Elemental Challenge Day Twenty-Two: Puzzle



What are our brains for if we don’t use them? Video games are often associated with “vegging out”, an insult to vegetables everywhere, but today belongs to a genre that’s meant to exercise that soggy, salty bit of gray matter upstairs: the Puzzle genre. Conundrums, riddlers, brainteasers, puzzle games are all about solving limited problems with easy rules and easy controls. These games will put your problem solving skills to the test and stretch your ability to reason, use logic, recognize patterns or sequences, or make leaps of intuition. Impress your friends! Be the talk of the party! Play more puzzle games for a smarter gaming community!

Here are the enigmas of our partiality. *pushes up glasses*


FF3-NES-Summoner2.png  The Green Screen Mage

Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle was my white whale. It took me years to beat this game. I recently came across a stickynote I had full of all of the codes for the different levels as you beat them. I was in so deep, collecting carrots, avoiding Will E. Coyote, Sylvester, Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck…. I wonder if I still have it?



blackmage  The Black Humor Mage

There’s a lot of fun puzzle games, but the Puyo Puyo series is the one that gets me most excited. I was introduced to this game through family friends. These three siblings live in Mexico, and staying with them is always awesome. Their dad is Mexican and they’re mom is Japanese, so they were into a lot of cool video games I never even heard of. They all had a version of Puyo Puyo for each of their DS’s, so it was like competitive Tetris. Puyo Puyo games are quirky and have really good music. I’ve emulated the games a few times, but with the new Puyo Puyo Tetris game out for Switch and PS4, it’s definitely one I want to pick up.



mystic_knight1 The Midnight Mystic Mage (Sublime Reviews)

Peggle. Ok so very recently Peggle grabbed me by the manhood and would straight up not let go until I finished the story mode in its entirety. This is the Xbox version and I do think it makes a difference because I tried on phone and it wasn’t the same amazing experience as on console. I started playing it to try and find something my wife might play with me, the whole weekend later, yeppppp that’s a good game. (Honorable Mentions – Portal, Pokémon Puzzle League, Tetris)



spoonybardmageright.jpg  The Spoony Bard Mage (Nerd Speaker)

Dr. Mario taught me all about the pharmaceutical industry and how to cure my illnesses using bi-colored pills. It also has really catchy music.



HandheldMage1  The Hopeful Handheld Mage (Retro Redress)

Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (Master System). My Tetris variant of choice…I’m a SEGA kid, remember? It’s the western version of Puyo Puyo with characters from the Sonic cartoon of the time (but no Sonic). It’s colourful and addictive, yet difficult too. There probably isn’t much between this and other puzzle games I’ve played, but I like Mean Bean Machine’s personality and bouncy tune so that’s my choice.



EKkbAqWy  The Brave Blue Mage (924COLLECTIVE)

On the eve of the annual Moon Festival, the moon is nowhere to be found! It is up to Cookie & Cream to set off on an adventure of epic proportions. This game has it all, dynamic puzzles, 2 player co-op, a quirky unique story, epic boss fights, & free for all multiplayer cherry on top. This game originally for the PS2 captures the imagination & in 2007 was ported over to the Nintendo DS,with 9 bonus mini games so if you have a change give Cookie & Cream a spin.




Kx18GL1dNEW  The Dapper Zaffre Mage (Save File 02)

My favorite by far was a little Game Boy puzzle shooter called Quarth, which I can only describe as Tetris crossed with Space Invaders. Blocks descend at a steady pace from above, and it’s Game Over the moment they hit the bottom of the screen (where your trusty little avatar is stationed.) You would shoot blocks at these pieces to form a complete square or rectangle, which would halt the advancing blocks and also clear away the ones you formed the shape with. For such a simple concept, it got challenging in the later stages as the speed of the falling blocks increased, and the patterns that showed up were much less forgiving about bad accuracy- you could just as easily kill yourself by misplacing enough shots that they stacked up beyond your boundaries. The music was great, too, particularly the track that played on the final stage of a level. It’s a nice puzzle game to come back to every so often, and it was only recently that I managed to beat it without level select. I always hoped there’d be a modern release someday.



nostalgiamage  The Over-Caffeinated Nostalgia Mage (Nostalgia Trigger)

Portal (2007). Puzzle games were definitely not my thing growing up. Personally, I much preferred Mario and platformers of that nature. However, the Portal series definitely stole the show as far as puzzles go. I will never forget the first time I used my momentum from falling from the ceiling to propel me horizontally across the room. It was simply mind-blowing to put myself in a world where those physics were actually possible. I vote for the original Portal, because although Portal 2 absolutely robbed the crown from the first installment with the far improved narrative element, the first one got the world into thinking about puzzle games upside down. It definitely stirred the puzzle game pot!


  The Rage Mage

We all know the N64 was a failure. Games like Wheel of Fortune are just the letters on its tombstone. “I’d like to buy a vowel: Hatred!”



rmage2.jpg  The Well-Red Mage

This one is an easy pick for me, finally! The only puzzle game I got hooked on harder than Tetris has got to be Katamari Damacy. Labeled as a puzzle-action game, this bizarre Japanese delight involves rolling a giant katamarball and sticking things to it: toys, cars, people, buildings, until it grows to massive proportions and your dad (who just so happens to be the King of All Cosmos) can turn it into a star. Yeah, that’s pretty dark the more you think about it but the game is more whimsical, quirky, hilarious, and stupid than you might expect. There’s an incredibly complex sense of physics there, too. The first game had that magical sense of surprise before sequelitis set in and the series became a set of running gags. I say that Katamari Damacy is a game which every gamer needs to play at least once.

Katamari Damacy


Thanks for teasing your brains with us, NPCs! Next… you know those people who have no rhythm, like they can’t clap on a beat to save their lives? If that’s you, don’t come back for the Challenge tomorrow. Take your T-rex arms somewhere else.

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28 replies »

  1. Wowzers! I had a copy of that Bugs Bunny thing.. Weirdly.. also a Taz the Tasmanian devil game that was way harder, (but that was a side acrollin platformer) on my OG GB back in’t day! Never finished either of them! Memories are odd huh!? 😀
    More recently: still angry bout the ending of Statik!!! *Growls* but lookin forward to playin Portal & 2! Yay!
    Lord C’s choice is Tetris Worlds for PS2 as it added Alien Planets to it & was awesome!!!
    Also, another memory nudge was Wetrix for N64, another Bangin game!!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. !!!!!! WHERE CAN I FIND THAT RUBIK’S CUBE 😳😳😳😱😱😱❤️❤️❤️😫😫😫😍😍😍

    Sorry for the yelling, but ack!! I wasn’t expecting my favorite character on a post about my (nearly) favorite game genre. This is a tough question, because I like so many puzzle games.

    I’m going to have to go with The Adventures of Lolo 3, which is a game a can credit to giving me much of my problem solving skills. It’s simple in theory, but can be complex in execution with you often having to “cheat” by doing half steps. I’ve played the other two, but 3 will always be my favorite.

    Honorable mention for Dr. Mario and Tetris. I don’t know if mini-games within other games count, but Triple Triad in FFVIII is definitely my favorite of that bunch.

    I need to add Katamari Damaci. I’ve heard of it, but I always forgot to look for it! And I’ll have to look at Peggle, too.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I played this with a family friend back when we were kids. I can’t remember if we beat it, but we got quite far. It was one of the only things both of us could actually do together without getting in a fight. Its a suprisingly good pair play game… just taking turns and getting through the levels. Cell phone puzzle games are surprisingly similar to Lolo’s design of increasing difficulty and challenge.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh man, you have included Katamari Damacy. That was such an awesome and unique game. In a strange way it was so relaxing as well. Perfect for just releasing a bit of stress after a very busy day 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Puzzle games have to be awesome to grab me. Some of the mentions certainly have, Portal, Tetris, Peggle (Most of the PopCap stuff is great), are all great. But I think one that should be in everyone’s collection is Tetrisphere for the mighty Nintendo 64. If you thought Tetris was a cool game (it is.) this game sees you using the same block dropping principals on a sphere, hence the name. There are different modes but the main one centers around freeing weird, geometric creatures from the sphere by clearing away enough blocks. Like any good puzzler, it starts out easy, but soon becomes a game of thinking on your feet. It’s also dirt cheap, so there’s no excuse not to pick it up.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Although I love a good point-and-click adventure game, where solving puzzles is half the experience, I don’t really get into pure puzzle games like Tetris or Dr. Mario. It’s probably my least favorite genre overall, next to RTS and sim games. Using logic under pressure isn’t my strong point, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great games today!
    I love puzzle games! They’re one of my favorite genre because they’re usually no-stress games, and they challenge you to solve some intense puzzles! (Most of the time)
    My favorite has to be Portal 2. The puzzles in this game were outstanding, and I loved what the co-op mode brought to the table as well. It was a treat playing with my brother and telling one another “I think I solved the puzzle but I don’t know, just jump when I say to and hope we don’t die!”
    Of course, the first game is great, and I absolutely love it too. The way that the narrative uses shifts in tone to direct the player’s attention to what is happening…. Incredible. The second game only stole this category because it had more in-depth puzzles that took me long periods of trial and error (some requiring a save and a rest) to figure out.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. OMG it’s Sephiroth on a Rubik’s Cube!! That puzzle game would be awesome! Wow… I don’t know where that came from. I think a certain other blogger around here is a bad influence on me. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I nominate Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine on the Game Gear. I agree that it was colourful and addictive with memorable music. The dynamics of the game were also interesting. The game was similar to Tetris, except the beans disappeared when four or more form a group. This means that the game was more unpredictable, as forming a group can cause parts of the pile of beans to fall and form new groups, which causes the pile to decrease in size more. I can remember trying to find somewhere to place falling beans, only to find a group had inadvertently being formed and watching as, within seconds, a huge pile of beans disappeared. I also liked the competitive element by playing against an opponent and the puzzle mode, which required the player to complete some specific objectives. The graphics of the game also used a combination of dark backgrounds and vivid colours, which gave the game an interesting aesthetic. I was thinking of suggesting Baku Baku Animal, which is similar (except it features 3D graphics more prominently), but I am not very familiar with that game.
    Was Katamari Damarcy released globally? How is the difficulty increased in the game? What made the sequels worse than the original?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing! To answer your questions, Katamari Damacy was released globally. The original is on PS2. I suggest you play it. The game gets harder by decreasing the time limits and by requiring you to build the ball to bigger and bigger sizes. The sequels were just more predictable and relied on running gags too much.


  9. Reblogged this on Sublime Reviews and commented:

    It’s day 22 of the Elemental Challenge and we are talking Puzzle games. I chose Peggle because of how addicted the XBOX version had me recently but Portal I still right there at the top of my list with it. What is your favorite Puzzle game of all time? Come let us know at The Well-Red Mage!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Whoa, that Cookie & Cream game looks awesome! Is it playable with only one player, with no prospects of having a second?

    Also, Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle was the WORST. Someone else I follow recently wrote about that game, and I just had to fire up my copy to see if it was as bad as I remember. Not that it was bad, but insanely difficult would be a more accurate way to describe it. Those Gameboy memories are best left in the past, unless we’re talking about Link’s Awakening or Pokemon!

    Liked by 2 people

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