“Jelly no Puzzle” wants to beat you.
It hides this fact well at first. You boot up the video game and it bleats out a catchy digital tune that sounds like it’s promising something like an adventure, a journey of some sort.
Continuing onto the first of many levels of the game, you’re greeted by smiling cubes of jelly. You’re informed that you can move them left and right by clicking on them with the left and right mouse button. You need to make all the little cubes of the same color touch each other. When a cube or group of cubes of the same color touch, they merge together into one amalgam blob of jelly.
When you push a jelly of one color against one of a different color, it will push it if none of the jellies are blocked by anything solid. This seems nice, and you push jellies around.
Somewhere around this time, you realize you’ve blocked off some of the jellies in such a way that makes it impossible for you to move the other jellies where they need to be. You undo your move and reset the puzzle.
And now you begin to see this game wants to beat you.
Sticking with it, you’ll eventually figure out what series of steps it takes to make the jellies gel together the way they should. Good.
Then you discover that there are 19 more puzzles, and each seems more impossible at first glance than the last.
But don’t let this description scare you. You should play this game.
It’s probably the most rewarding puzzle game in terms of pure brain exercise I’ve played in quite some time. The puzzles make you do things you think are impossible at first, and then you discover how to do that impossible thing.
Solving a puzzle in this game is like performing a magic trick. Much like a magic trick, it’s easier than you thought when you finally figure it out. This game feels fair; it’s difficult not because the game is obscure, but because it’s so clever. Because the mind behind the game is so smart.
This is all presented with the lovely aesthetics of pastoral, surreal landscapes and, of course, the immaculately animated shake of the jellies themselves as they slide back and forth.
Jelly no Puzzle makes you feel good when you do figure out one of its riddles because you did what you thought was impossible and lived to tell of it. It wants to beat you, and you beat it at its own game.
And best of all, it takes no obscure knowledge or fast reflexes to play; it’s pure brainpower.
Jelly no Puzzle is for anyone who wants a good brainteaser and takes on all comers equally, be they a long-time gamer or someone who’s barely touched a computer.
Jelly no Puzzle is a computer game for computers running Microsoft Windows. It was developed by Qrostar, and can be downloaded for free at bit.ly/12mtvPm .
Noah Hinz is an art and game design enthusiast living in Walla Walla. Contact him with questions, game suggestions, playing, or anything else related to games at firstname.lastname@example.org