Well, it's happened again. You've gone and gotten yourself stranded in the middle of enemy territory, surrounded by mines, turrets, and electrified Tesla gates. As usual, your only hope is to get to that little flag, even though all it ever seems to do is take you to another enemy-filled battlefield. Hmmm... Your steering mechanism also seems to be stuck, so you'll have to let the terrain dictate your path. Still, you have to keep trying, because otherwise this game has no background story!
Welcome to the world of Mindfields, a pair of puzzle games brought to us by the people over at GameSheep. The recently released Mindfields 2: The Russian Tundra is essentially a continuation of the original Mindfields 2204, although a few extra elements are added to enhance the gameplay. Both work in essentially the same way: you place arrows, weapons, and shields around the level and click "Start Engine." Then you sit back and let your tank run its course, which if done correctly will lead you to your goal. There are of course enemies, but they are stationary and can be defeated by your weapons—if you are granted any. The main difficulty for these games comes from the limited supply of arrows you receive. You must place them carefully to be sure that your tank is able to visit every spot that it needs to in order to reach the goal
Analysis: When I first played Mindfields, I immediately thought of two of my favorite puzzle games: Puzzled Sheep and Warp Forest. Mindfields is more closely related to Puzzled Sheep in terms of game mechanics, but Warp Forest fans will appreciate the puzzle design of many of the levels, especially in Mindfields 2, where teleports are added and greatly increase the complexity potential.
I use the word potential because I feel like there's a lot more puzzles out there just waiting to be implemented into Mindfields. Both the original and the sequel leave you wanting more after just 18 levels apiece. Especially in the anticlimactic fashion in which the game ends: it just does. I actually had to go back and check to see that it was the end, and not just a bug that prevented me from going to the next level.
Though they can sometimes be tricky, the puzzles are in general easier to solve than those of Warp Forest, due in no small part to the "let it run its course" nature of the game. However, they should still pose enough of a challenge to give even expert puzzle-gamers a pleasant experience.
The soundtrack is nice, but it loops so often (every 24 seconds) that I ended up turning it off after a while. The sound effects are also nice, with the exception of the "damaged Tesla gates," whose repeated buzzing was so irritating and overpowering that I turned off the sound effects for the levels that contained them. And while I'm venting my complaints, I might as well grouse about the levels with more than two teleport spaces: it's impossible to tell which teleport takes you where without using a trial-and-error approach.
Minor quibbles aside, Mindfields has to be one of the best puzzle games to be featured on Jayisgames in quite a while. You definitely don't want to miss this one.
Cheers to Teebor, Nabhan, and Gabriel for suggesting this one! =)