We just updated our Games page to give you more juicy details on our upcoming game, “Karst.” As we’ve explained before, it’s a 1st person physics puzzle game. What you’ve probably gleaned is that it’s set in a cave. What you may not know is our physics-y mechanic.
In simple terms, this cave is the home to a number of unusual crystals. For one, they all seem to glow. But past that, each different colour of crystal represents a different type, all of which have different powers. Take a look at the Games page to see more – but not all – of the crystals.
Now exploring alone in the dark can be oodles and oodles of fun, but we didn’t think it’d be fun enough – so let’s just say you’re not alone the whole time. Take that to mean what you will.
As we said on our Karst page, our game will be one in a relatively new genre: first person 3D physics puzzle games. But what does that mean?
A physics puzzle game is a game where the main problem to solve isn’t a jigsaw or a riddle, it’s a puzzle where the main element is physics-based. Angry Birds is a physics puzzle game, because the solutions to the puzzles require a knowledge of physics: in this case, how far a bird will be flung with a slingshot, and where it will land based on the flight arc. Physics puzzle games are fun because a relatively simple mechanic (flinging birds, for example) can be applied to create very complex puzzles.
Angry Birds is presented as a 2D sideview game – namely, there’s a single plane being used (with no depth), and you’re looking at it directly. The genre we’re talking about, however, is first person and 3D: so you are seeing the world through the main character’s eyes, and the world has full depth. I suppose it’s theoretically possible to have a first person game in 2D, I’m really just not sure how that would work. :\
So that’s what it means to be a first person 3D physics puzzle game. As I mentioned earilier, however, this is a relatively new genre. In fact, I can only really come up with three other examples of playable games out now (if you have other examples, please let me know!)
- Against the Wall (with playable alpha)
The world is a vertical wall, and you want to get back home (further up the wall). The wall is subdivided into varying sizes of bricks, and the mechanic here is that you have a tool that can pull them out of the wall to create a stairway. The puzzle that you need to solve is to find the best route up, based on combinations of the cubes. I’m counting it as a physics puzzle because the big thing here is jumping and (hopefully not) falling, so gravity is the main opponent.
- Q.U.B.E. (Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion)
In a sterile testing environment, you awake and have to solve the puzzles to get out. The puzzles are all getting from point A to point B (to open the door that allows you to exit the room), and the mechanic is based on a series of cubes and buttons. Some cubes can be pulled out to provide stairs, others bounce you, and others can lift you. That’s the basic mechanic, though – many more are added as you go. It’s quite big and can get quite complex; it’s really worth a playthrough.
- Portal series
I would argue that Portal started this genre, and that everyone should play it. Both of them, really (Portal and Portal 2). You wake in a test chamber, and the ever-present slightly homicidal testing AI runs you through a series of tests, promising a reward of cake at the end. The mechanic is straightforward – you have a gun that can create portals – jump into one portal, come out the other. For basic idea, you can check out this 2D sidescroller version for free online. This relatively simple idea creates such fun puzzles and problems that really wrinkle your brain – it’s super well done.
So that’s what’s out there – and that’s what we mean by a first person physics puzzle game. As you might expect, we really like this genre – and so we highly recommend you go check out these awesome games, and keep us posted if you find more!