Tomb of the Mummy
Here are a couple of devious point-and-click puzzle games by Alessandro Cima and available on the CandleLightStories website. The first was created as a Halloween treat, and now a second puzzle game in the series has been released. So far, according to the website, not a single person has solved it. This sounds like a challenge the JIG community can come together on and crack in no time.
Before jumping right into the unsolved mystery, however, puzzle solvers may first want to take a look at the original, Tomb of the Mummy, to get an idea of what kind of trickery the author is capable of.
In this puzzle, the objective is simply to release the mummy from its tomb. Not a simple task by any means since audible clues and timing are necessary to accomplish the goal. The puzzle also comes with a warning that it may not be suitable for younger children nor people with any health conditions that may be affected by a sudden scare. Yes, it ends with the mummy jumping out at you, but don't let that stop you from trying to solve the puzzle, as there is nothing scary about that and it is a well-designed puzzle. If you do scare easily, once the door is opened, simply look away from the screen.
Several of us banded together in our IRC chatroom earlier today and we were able to tackle the first one without too much trouble. The second puzzle, however, we have been unable to solve, so far. You are given this clue: You are cursed. You can move but one finger. To break free, make the golden bird. And then inside the game help continues: With bottles, words, and water from the Nile, make something dark. Set it boiling. Then find the emerald eye.
Analysis: High production values makes this series of puzzles excellent, with both audio visual elements being of commercial quality. We will have to keep watch of any other offerings to come from the CandleLightStories site. Unfortunately, these are not the most accessible of games, since at least the first puzzle mentions that listening to game audio is required to solve it, and there is one part that depends on color recognition as well. However, it may be possible to use only visual cues without audio, but there are important clues that are provided within the mummy's dialog as he pleads with you to free him. Perhaps someone will offer those up in the comments in a spoiler.
What I enjoyed most about these puzzles was the fact that they were unlike most point-and-click games I have played. They force you to think differently and to be very, very observant. Especially puzzle #2, a game that can be solved using two buttons only. Maddening, yes, but also brilliant and beautiful. An elegant mix of puzzle and panache.
When playing through these puzzles I couldn't help but think that these are exactly the kind of "simple puzzle game" we are looking for in our second Flash game design competition: Simple, beautiful, and elegantly designed. And devious. Did I mention that you will have to be very resourceful in your pursuit of the solution?
Cheers to William for suggesting the games. =)
Update: Thanks to a bunch of us all playing together in our IRC chatroom, both puzzles have been solved! Cheers to Thomas for getting us over the "1/3" hurdle of the first one, and for being the first from this site to solve it. And many thanks to NohWoman, Valarauka, W00tMa5ter, Vertigon, and Larry for pooling our collective room-jostling skills and helping to release the curse of the second puzzle! For the record, NohWoman was actually the first to solve that one.
However, at the very end, after the curse is released, you are given this clue:
"Behind this puzzle lies a single word. Can you guess what word it is?"
None of us could guess the word. Can you?
Update #2: Congratulations to SimJai for being first to decipher the word of the puzzle! =)