Publisher: Resonance Games / Developer: Resonance Games / Platform: XBLIG

I’ll openly admit I’m not the biggest fan of puzzle games.  It’s not that I don’t like them, I would just rather pick most other genres over it.  Imagine my surprise then, while playing the aptly-named XBLIG puzzle game Puzzled, that my thoughts quickly went from “Alright, sure, I’ll give it a try,” to “Okay, one more puzzle then I’ll start the review.”

Puzzled is simple, even for a puzzle game.  It’s a scrambled picture puzzle game, where a big picture is broken up and scrambled up, and you have to fit it all back together.  However what Puzzled may lack in complexity it makes up for in presentation.  Puzzled‘s menus look sleek and flow well together.  Information is well-displayed, and the menus work logically together.  Its all presented quite well for a XBLI game, a medium generally packed with amateur coding and MS Paint visuals.

As I mentioned before, Puzzled is all about picture scramble puzzles.  There is quite a large assortment of pictures to choose from, and you can even have the game pick from which pictures you haven’t completed yet, or pick from a specific category of photos.  Difficulty setting determines how many pieces each picture is broken up into, and the game even comes with a two-sided scramble mode where two pictures are placed back-to-back and then scrambled.  In this mode not only are you solving two pictures at once, but the tiles can be flipped vertically and horizontally, meaning that the jumble you start off with might even have upside-down tiles from the opposite picture.  It’s definitely a step up from the standard picture scramble puzzles, one that more dedicated puzzle fans might get a kick out of.

Puzzled allows players to utilize their own in-Xbox playlists, but also comes with two of its own playlists, one featuring Josh Woodward (who you may remember from the excellent Apple Jack games), who is always a pleasure to hear, as well as French pianist Ehma.  While having the ability to shuffle these two playlists together would have been really nice, they both add a relaxing touch to an already stress-melting game.

Puzzled is a simple game, but it presents itself in a way that doesn’t make its simplicity seem at all lazy.  While I did find a few minor issues, like the “current playing song” graphic taking up a little too much screen space than I’d like, and the ability to “lock” pieces you already know work in place while you move others around would have made things flow better (especially at higher difficulties), the game definitely gets a recommendation to any puzzle fans out there, and I think it still worth a look for anyone else.

Just a minor note here, to the guys at Resonance Games:  Have you ever considered making this for Android?  I’d love to have it on my tablet.