Jelly no Puzzle

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Jelly no Puzzle is a free puzzle game for Windows (works under Wine on Linux).

Some observations:

  • there is not much text (vow of silence) which is good, but I think the game could have probably eliminated words entirely by adding slightly simpler levels to introduce mechanics. For example, the controls could be introduced in an easy level with signs in the background highlighting left and right mouse clicks. Joining can be introduced via a simple level in which there are three jellys and one pit of unit size, arranged like [red] [pit] [red] [red]. The only way to solve this is to join the two red jellys on the right side of the pit, and the player learns that mechanic. One thing that particularly annoys me is that the tutorial text appears every time you enter a level, rather than just the first time.
    • Left and right clicking could also be introduced by levels where a certain kind of click is required to solve it. e.g. if a red jelly is on a hill with a second red jelly below, then by putting the bottom jelly on the left or right, you can create a simple level in which the puzzle must be solved by moving the top jelly to the left or right.
  • many puzzles can be divided into "big picture strategy" part, and "low level tactics" part (level 17 is the clearest example of this). Getting the big picture strategy right can take you most of the way, but then sometimes getting the low level tactics right can be quite difficult even after you figure out the high level strategy. Some puzzles are just low level tactics.
  • I like that there is no timing aspect (something that made Braid frustrating for no good reason)
  • even later in the game, it feels like I am not really gaining a generic ability to solve puzzles better. It feels like a brute force search almost. I think this contrasts to games like Braid where you are sort of "doing science" -- trying to understand the reality in the game better.
  • i think jelly no puzzle is a good way to train your intuition about which things are possible vs impossible, in particular, at shifting more of the things that seem 'impossible' into the possible realm. this is sort of riffing off Eliezer's post about doing the impossible. once you do enough of these puzzles, your brain's native 'this is impossible' reaction gets converted into 'let me see how to do this'. A similar thing happens when one first starts programming: you are routinely confronted with the fact that your mental model of an algorithm does not match the output you see on the screen, so you being to get skeptical of your ability to do machine-like thought.

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