Certainly one of the highlights of the two Casual Gameplay design competitions we have held so far has been the original new gameplay ideas that have come from them. Rising to the occasion of a call for entries and a deadline, Flash game designers from around the world embraced the challenge and rewarded us with their efforts. It really is amazing to see such creativity sprout from a simple word, as with the recent competition and its "grow" theme.
Beginning with a very simple premise of expanding rectangles on a grid to connect them, Wouter Visser creates a unique and enjoyable puzzle game entry with PLANned.
In this 18-level game, there are only but a few rules that you need to know to get started: (1) Click on a rectangle to expand it; (2) No rectangle may be clicked twice in succession; (3) Each rectangle may be expanded only 3 times; (4) All rectangles must connect to advance to the next level. It's as simple as that.
With the first couple levels starting off easy, the challenge comes in later levels when planning your moves carefully becomes necessary and more difficult. A nice musical riff and impressive red paint drip reward you after each success.
Analysis: With one of the stronger entries in the competition, Wouter shows that great things can grow from simple ideas. In fact, a simple idea is often the impetus behind games with a more universal appeal. A successful game designer is someone that can transcend language and cultural differences to deliver an enjoyable game play experience in a package everyone can understand.
This particular implementation of the game design, however, is lacking a couple of features that could improve the depth and quality of the overall experience: random levels, and a save mechanism, both of which might have been outside the scope of the relatively short development period for the competition. Additional gameplay elements thrown into the mix in later levels could even serve to extend and enrich the core concept. Still, PLANned is a solid puzzle game design with plenty of potential for future iterations. I am personally looking forward to the DS version of the game. ;)
Another neat idea that incorporates the Grow theme as an integral part of the gameplay mechanism. Plus, the music you get to hear after solving each level is a nice incentive. Not quite as appealing to me as Rings and Sticks, but still makes you think and plan each move carefully. Even more than Rings and Sticks, the later levels suffer from guess-and-check syndrome, and I think that the "can't click twice in a row" rule adds more frustration than strategy. Still, technically awesome and refreshingly unique.
Good overall design and heavy on the "plan ten moves ahead" element. The visual and audio extras make the game feel quite polished, and the gameplay couldn't be easier. Just like zxo said above, I felt the later levels suffered from guess-and-check syndrome. When my PLANning wasn't spot-on, frustration set in every time I had to start over from square one. It doesn't detract from the overall deliciousness of the game, though.
Oooh, I am sorry, but for the first time in my life, I can get this oppertunity, maybe, and I can't resist the urge!!!!1!1!1one one eleven!!11
First post.... yay! ok, actually gonna play the game now. And sorry for this nonsense.
Ok, a more constructive post. I quite like this game, even though I don't really have the calm of mind to go around and think about every move, and consider what to do. I end up clicking random patterns and resetting if it doesn't play out.
But, it's a logic game, and I like logic games, so yes, quite like it. The grow theme is taken quite literal, but still a nice implimentation of it. Gateway, so far, is still my favorite though. :)
I liked this, but... it didn't hold my attention long.
I love this game. while Gateway II had a nice plot to it which moved the game along nicely, I don't think this game needs one, and I absolutely can't stop playing this.
... There is logic behind it.. I know it!.. And when I find out what that is.. World, beware!
the level transitions kinda creep me out cause it looked like blood
I have to say, I really love the music that plays once you've completed a level. It's really what has motivated me to finish some of the levels hah
For me, level 5 was the first interesting level, but level 6 felt tedious, and at level 7, I didn't really feel like continuing it. But I did finish all the levels.
At level 6 I figured out an answer, but had to restart because of the restriction against clicking twice in a row, which was annoying. By level 9, I realized that once I knew how large a square should be, I should stop one step before the final size, so that I always have somewhere else to click if I need to grow something twice.
At level 15, I thought I ran into a bug. I had everything connected, but the level didn't end. After looking at it for a bit, I realized that making edges meet wasn't enough, I had to connect the corners. Maybe this would be clearer if the corners were marked with dots, and the instructions said to connect at the dots.
It seems to me that the click-twice restriction doesn't really add much to the game. I'd like this more if it were just "adjust the sizes (up or down) until everything's connected", maybe with a few additional shapes.
I'm stuck on level 4. I'm sure I'll get it though. Another nice game. I notice that the 1st 3 contest entries are really slick & clean....well, except for this bath of blood at the end of this current games' levels.
It makes me feel so....implicated. (shifty eyes)
Cool game - took me a while to complete all 18 levels but did successfully and enjoyed it - liked the music too. Might just play it again.
I was warned people would think it's a james-bondish-blood-drainage, it was meant to be a silk-screen-printing effect :).
I really enjoyed this game. I was pleased that you could see the outline of the next larger square when you hover over one of the existing squares. If anything, I think it was a little too easy for a puzzle game, but a great way to spend twenty minutes. I love it when there is a puzzle game on JIG, and this is a good example. Thanks Wouter.
"At level 6 I figured out an answer, but had to restart because of the restriction against clicking twice in a row, which was annoying."
Felix, it's not just an arbitrary restriction, I think that is an integral part of the strategy ;)
this is a great, short casual game. tricky enough to keep me interested, but easy enough to avoid serious, keyboard bashing frustration lol
and thank you Rulz for posting about the music. I had my speakers off, and it was a very fun little riff.
Great game, loved it.
Being able to click two time in a row would make the game too easy, but that's really all it brings.
I would have liked more unique solution puzzle, but maybe i'm asking too much... :-)
Thanks a lot
I loved this game. I wish there were 2-3 times as many levels because I want to keep playing.
cute game... once you figure out necessary principles, puzzle solving is easy and satisfying.
I thought it a clever idea, and something unique, but after the first 7 or 8 levels I started to find it tedious and repetetive. I quit before I reached the end.
It's a good idea and a little fun, but I thought it was a bit too easy and simple to hold my attention all the way through. There's only one trick to it and once you qork that out there's nothing else to do.
Wow, I really really like this game!
Without the happy little riff at the end of a level, completion would be far less satisfying.
I really like that there are definite solutions on an actual grid in this game, unlike in Sticks 'n Rings where the ring placement seems somewhat arbitrary and it's possible to get super close to the rings without accomplishing anything.
Though I must say, Sticks 'n Rings had a much more cheerful atmosphere.
That's just my two cents.
Great game. Actually, all three in the competition so far are really well done.
I was hoping for the levels to change up a bit more as I went along... not sure how much that's possible with these basic rules, but it was definitely a 5 minutes well spent.
Nice little puzzler; the rules are simple and the tools are easy to use. There's even a decent learning curve.
A suggestion for further levels - have different shapes, and maybe make each shape rotate a notch when you click on them (in addition to their growing). Don't know how hard that would be to set up, but I'm guessing it's be a pig to play...hehehe
This game is great. MORE!
I like this game, but without a save feature it's hard for me to finish it all in a sitting. Cute concept anyway.
Great concept, fun game. You might add in the initial rules that once you connect a square, you can't enlarge it anymore. I know this becomes obvious once you play it a few times but...something to consider. Also, perhaps you could use colors (maybe the squares turn a darker shade of red) to indicate how many times the square has been clicked. Right now there is no way to track if a square has been clicked once, twice, or three times...
Great game wouter, thanks....
I really liked this game. Great idea, great implementation.
I loved the transitional music... actually, that is the only reason I finished the game, was so I could hear that music just one more time. I would suggest having the ending of the game play that tune :-D
Great game. Tricky, but not too tricky. Long, but not too long. I give it a 9/10
love it love it love it.
Thought this was a fun game. I am partial to games with spatial relationships. Don't know if it was just me, but level 5 had me stumped more than any of the other levels, even the second time I did it. I liked the puzzle turning fat when you got the right answer. More puzzle games like this one!!!!
I love this game, good job.
Good puzzle game. I do feel a random generation of fields to play would be a great addition to this already great puzzle, though.
Wow, another great one. Where are these great puzzle-makers when Jay isn't having a contest?
Absolutely adore the music at the end of each level, makes all the frustration worth it. Great game. The grow element was fully incorporated... more the style of the game Jay is looking for. (I think) However, I have to say I like Gateway II better. (Sorry, Wouter)
Boy, when competition time comes around, great games pour in. Jay, you should buy these games from their writers and sell them to Nintendo so I can play them on my DS all day. With so many excellent games, where could I go wrong? (Be sure to include both competitions, by the way) The other games on your site I would be forced to not have with me in the car... sigh. oh, well, they are still excellent online. (I am drowning in games to play by the way)
Re: level 15. It looks like there is a bug.
The top two squares only seem to link if you click them in a certain order... which seems inconsistent with the rest of the game.
This is my favourite so far!
I finished all of the levels! It was challenging enough that I had to try mostlevels more than once. Perhaps the levels could go from easiest to most difficult. I found some of the later levels quite easy compared to level 5.
I feel like I get to use my brian with this one! I'd play this over an 'escape' point and click game anytime!
I am consistenly amazed at the level of talent brought to these contests. A wonderful little game that kept me occupied. I appreciated that it was not too difficult yet still gave you a feeling of accomplishment when you finished a level. Lots of fun.
I can only echo some of the other commenters in my suggestions. I agree that the level end wipe is a bit "blood-like" and creepy, and I also think it would be nice to note in the original instructions that you can't enlarge a square once it is connected.
I was very disconcerted at first, but this game is so simple and so smart. It really deserves to catch a prize here. Well done wouter!
excellent. Didn't grab me straight away, but I went back for seconds and have to say - my first impressions were off the mark.
I'm excited to see what this designer comes out with next: he's clearly talented.
This is the first game I've played from this batch of entries, and I can only say, if all the games are of this quality, then it will be very hard to pick a winner. I loved this game, as it's exactly the kind of brain-teasing puzzle I like. I do think that the levels increased in complexity in some respects towards the end -- I certainly used the reset button more often as the game progressed. But extremely satisfying to solve each level and move on to the next. I would give it a prize anyway!
Thank you for all the nice comments :)
I'm glad to hear that the people that find it easy still think it's nice to play, when I found out the concept was actually too easy to be a challenging puzzle, I hoped people would pick it up as a satisfying low-level brain-activity, and it seems you do :).
I like the suggestions for improvement (really must do something with different shapes), they're really worthful if I decide to go on with this project.
Personally I think it's quite natural that the connected square doesn't grow, but your comments were not in vain: they gave me the idea to grow a connected square and it has to shift itself a place to fit in the space. I don't know if that's clear, but I think it could make the puzzles more challenging. Thanks!
I loved this game! It was easy enough to keep me from getting frustrated and difficult enough to keep me playing. I want more levels! Would random generation of puzzles be possible? I am thinking of NET and gamedesign's Maze, both of which are randomly generated and make connections. I play those games a lot, since the are never the same (or if they were, I certainly wouldn't know it).
I disagree with Talps about there being only one trick to the game - I thought I had that figured out, too, until I got to the later levels (17 and 18, I think), which Talps didn't play.
Great job, wouter!
Nice one, Wouter! I enjoyed this game, and found it compelling enough that i put off foraging for food in order to finish it. It reminds me of soko-bahn (sp?) in that the sequence of moves is dictated by the available space.
What i really wanted to say though is that i love the basic concept of this game. I'm not sure how many more levels of the same could hold my interest without variation, but that's not really important. I look forward to seeing what other nifty concepts you come up with.^^
I love the fact that you need to figure out the right order to click so that if you start off on the wrong foot, you end up missing.
That said, there seems to be more than one way of finishing a level (at least for the more complex ones) which is also a nice touch.
Some items for a wish list:
1) Different shapes that grow at different rates
2) A level editor so that others can try to develop more challenges
3) A save game feature
Along with the different shapes idea, just have new elements added to the game in general. The new elements should build on old ones.
Mmm, puzzley goodness. This game rocks. It requires some thinking but never becomes frustrating. And the end of level music makes my day. Lovely.
cool game. I love it!
I love the music when you pass a level :)
I like the game very much!!
Great game, maybe a bit too easy IMHO.
very nice plot, its not to hard, not to easy.
now do it in 3D...
I liked the game very much. But I don't think I would have wanted more levels. I thought that level 17 and 18 were the most difficult ones.
I had my speakers off so I didn't hear the awesome music:(
great game, albeit I thought it was rather easy after getting the hang of it. How are people getting to lvl 16 and 17? I have the same bug (or glitch) that Jacob found on lvl 15.
Or... maybe I'm doing it wrong! However, I've spent some time now trying to just get the two problem boxes connected and can't seem to find a solution.
Great job, can't wait for more!!
Oops, sorry for the double post... I figured out that there is a correct solution to lvl 15 after all, Jacob. I'm not sure if the author intentionally wrote in the problem you were encountering, but I just did the puzzle a different way and it certainly works!
Really good game but I hate it when i make a mistake and heave to start over :P
But I think it's a very good game for those who have the guts to sit in front of the computer many hours !!
That is vay I didn't go haiger then 5th level :S
But can't vait for the next game cya :* byebye
I personally do not think that this game is that bad when you have to restart a level, because it was not that hard to see where i went wrong and to remember what moves i had done to get to that point. This was one of my favorite games-- especially the gloss added to the end of the puzzle when it was completed...
can you say "same riff"?
Too bad the digg-community doesn't link to JIG:
pretty much :)
Thanks for the review! I achieved my intended ultimate goal in game-design now, a JIG-review :)
Really awesome game!
I beat all the levels.. I even got stuck at level 1 when I didnt know how to play LOL
The thing where you cant grow the same shape twice in a row was a bit frustrating, but it would be too easy and boring without it.
I love that ending music with the other colours zooming through the completion shape.. :D
Great way to spend about 20 minutes, but it could use some improvements, like these:
1) 50 more levels :D
2) Save button
3) Different shapes (triangles etc)
4) Different shapes grow at different rates
Great game :D
how do you beat level 4 >=[
i need help on level 17 PLEASE ive been playing for 3 hours
lvl 4 is insane... lol i know that sounds sad but i cant beat it..
great game, i'm sure i would enjoy all 18 levels...if i could just get past level 4....sad but true.
im stuck on level 17!! ahh someone put a guide up!!
I beat it, no cheats, no help finally after two days or so.
Loved it. . . played multiple times. i thought the last level was not difficult, 17 was the hardest?!?! but a great game, i would like a second. also good music, maybe play it throughout. but really, loved it, simple idea, but (lol) it was fun.
Great game. It really is challenging at some points. I beat all 18 levels, level 18 surprisingly wasn't that hard. A new version would be awesome!
=[ I cant get past the 4th level...
meh a little on the easy side but then again i think most people that are playing this game don't play puzzle games 24/7 ever couple of days
well that was easy enough it only took me about 20 minutes to finish the whole thing that was a piece of cake and it took me two tries on # 15 and 16 was a bit harder but 17 and 18 were really easy well bye
fun game took about half hour i got lucky on the last level beat it in like 3 tries
Wow this game is really fun! I (along with tons of others) love the music when you finish. I think that the first levels seem harder if it's your first time since you don't really get into the game until around 8.
Can anyone give me hints or clues to pass level 15 I have it as close as this:
My computer is really mean. I got to level 18 and my computer froze and closed out all the windows I had up. I was so mad I didn't play it again for a week
Joe, you're almost there for level 15. Forget trying to connect those squares that aren't perfectly aligned. You just need to expand that one square in the very center to the max, in order to connect from there.
Hope this is clear enough :)
how in the world do you complete level 17?!
At the and i would've expected something in the words of congrats or something but 'FIN'?
very nice mind cracker though
There are only three things you need to know about all 18 levels,
Grow the furthest cells first and in pairs or threes
Look at all cell corners that line up, those are your threads to joining all cells. Ignore non linear corners, as they will never join.
You can't connect edges of cells like you connect corners. Once two sides touch, neither cell may get any larger, but they are NOT connected.
The last rule only comes into play in two stages I'm aware of.
Can the creator tell me where he got the sound and music for this game
easy and fun ^_^ i enjoy it
I have a great, simple way to get through the levels fast
Figure out which squares have to be BIG!
Just in case anyone reads these after the fact ;)
Seems kind of off compared to all these big solutions though...
level 13 is too hard... i can't solved it ;;
Hmmm - No recent posts, few spoilers & no walkthru - arrggghhhh!! Love the game, but Level 17 is major grief.
After hours & shameful hours I finally got the pattern down. I'll try & post a Spoiler for any future masochists who can't leave a puzzle unsolved.
Despite (or because of) Level 17, PLANned really was FUN. Wish there were new levels to play. Ones with Spoilers of course!
Level 17 (Hope this makes sense) Starting square:
Start in the bottom, right corner
Go up to 2nd row & click 4 squares RIGHT to LEFT
Go to 3rd row & click square furthest to the right
Step 4 (completes top right corner)
Return to 2nd row & enlarge the square furthest to the left, then the one next to it, then back to the 1st one (now fully expanded); Enlarge square 2nd from the right.
4th Row - Click on square furthest to the right
Bottom Row - Enlarge square furthest to the right (starting square)
4th Row - Enlarge square furthest to the right, then click square just to the left of it
Step 8 (completes right side)
Bottom row - Fully enlarge square furthest to the right (starting square)
Bottom row - Click left square, then square next to it, then expand left square.
3rd row (1 up from bottom) - Click on 3rd square from the left
Bottom row - Expand 2nd square from the left
3rd row - Click on 1st square on left
Bottom row - Fully expand 2nd square from the left
The rest should be set up to finish
I really enjoy the simplicity of this game's graphics and play :)