Critical Play: Puzzles

I played Factory Balls. It is an interesting game where you have to “build” specific products by applying specific industrial procedures. The game will show you the requested final product, and the player will have to figure out the order to construct that product based on buttons they are given for that particular puzzle.

With such a simple concept, it is surprising to me how many variations they have and how they are able to keep such a simple idea fresh and interesting for so long. The game heavily relies on new mechanics, always requiring the player to learn the innerworkings of a new process. For example, the game starts with just painting balls and evolves to more advanced concepts like growing grass and flowers on balls. The game is interesting in that many puzzles have multiple routes to get to the correct solution.

The design feels very minimal and early 2000s. The simple UI and minimal stimuli allow the player to focus on the puzzle. After each puzzle’s completion, an animation plays of the ball being packed up into a box and shipped away. This animation begins to feel immensely satisfying the more you play. It is also really gratifying to see the different procedures being applied to the ball such as belts and paint – to see a completed ball when you take everything

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