I was annoyed by nearly all the puzzles but I could not stop playing because I wanted to see what the next region is going to be.

Some of them are so captivatingly pretty with an amazing atmosphere, you're just glad to be there. Also each new region adds a new puzzle mechanic and I was curious what the next one is going to be.

The regions all have problems though: they are very messy and hard to navigate without a minimap; so I just really follow signs and the compass.

The narrative was completely ignored my me, I was not into it but also not really open to it. Whatever.

But designing lots of puzzles myself for Supraland I want to talk about those.



1. Way too many lasers!! Coming into a puzzle room in region 1 is the same as in region 12. Laser stuff everywhere. The king of the genre, Portal 2, always refreshes what the puzzles are about, always keeping them exciting. The few non-laser puzzles in Talos 2 were mostly my highlights.


2. You're supposed to think "inside the box" using the same principles. The puzzles are shielded off from the rest of the world, the elements of the puzzle are obvious.

The puzzles are never about what you need to accomplish; that's always clear: for example you need to connect a red laser to a red receiver to open a force field and step through.

The goal is always opening a door of some sort or to get verticality. There are no exceptions.

I would enjoy it more if the approach was about getting the player to question what the way to the goal even is, to surprise the player with something in the world being part of the puzzle, make them look forward to executing it and to make that execution really smooth and easy once you got the right idea (without complicated setups and skill involvement).

The rare optional star puzzles were clearly the best to me because they pull these principles off very well for the most part. They are about interconnecting stuff outside of puzzles and between puzzles. There I am actually engaged in exploration and feel proud when I figured it out. There you literally think "outside the box" unlike in all regular levels.


3. Maybe 10-15% of the puzzles use interesting principles where I leave excited after solving them.

Another 25% to me are annoying filler material without any particularly interesting idea at all.

The remaining majority of puzzles introduce some sort of a new idea to the mechanics that is mostly not very interesting, sometimes obscure. I would describe it as using weird edge cases of the known game mechanics as the base for new puzzles. My problem is how weird they often are instead of exciting.

I think the puzzle creation process should be basically this: find some mechanism that is cool and then try to force the player with a puzzle setup to find out about it and then use that mechanism by themselves. The challenge is to make the puzzle as small and effective as possible without getting convoluted (I failed a lot with that, especially in the Crash DLC for Supraland). And here lies my biggest problem:


4. There is too much noise around the core idea. Most of it is swapping objects all the time: for example

- you have an object on this side of the force field first and need to manage to get it onto the other side

- you swap them in a swapping machine (the most uninspired and uncool puzzle mechanic of the entire game)

- you need to replace the object on a button with another

- ...

Swippity swappity swapping stuff _all _ the _ time_. It's a constant struggle of "how do I get this thing over here" and "if I just had one more object!" while you already resorted to putting a fan grid onto a button.

With all the noise around the core ideas of the puzzles, they often feel tedious and overwhelming instead of exciting to play.

I wanna pull off a cool move, because I figured out the main idea of the puzzle already, but all I do is move prisms, boxes, jammers and stuff back and forth in the right order and it needs to be absolutely perfect or you're stuck.


5. Meta elements like the purple force fields should not be part of puzzles IMO. Portal 2 also wisely keeps them out of puzzles (except for rare exceptions).

The issue becomes worse when you have 2 different kinds of force fields with a slightly different color but lots of different specs. The purple force fields are basically object-blockers. But if you want the player to be able to go through something, but not an object, then come up with a proper reason, not magic.

A ladder is a way to make sure the player carries nothing. A narrow gap could do it. For the special requirements of a puzzle it can be wind, water, magnets, fire and more... there are endless options to make sure only certain things can pass certain places at certain moments without involving random purple magic walls.


6. Building tetris bridges from first person view is sooo meh.

But I spent 30 hours in it and often couldn't wait to get back to it. I would say this is because the world is the star of the game and trying to complete percentages.