Puzzles are at the core of Adventure gameplay, they provide challenges for you to overcome with brains rather than brawn. For Action Adventures, they offer a break from the hacky-slashy-stabby-shooty element of title.
Every week I’ll bring you a new puzzle, drawn from some of the best and worst adventure or puzzle games I’ve ever played. Every once in a while I’ll even leave you one of my own for you to solve. If you do, I’ll find a way to reward you!
For this week’s puzzle, I go to one of my favourite Point & Click adventure series, Broken Sword. This series has had its highs and dear lord has it had its lows, but it came back in its oddly episodic Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse with really cool and strong puzzles and this one was one of my favourites.
Late in the game, you’re in a small monastery, trying to access a secret room behind a shrine to the Virgin Mary. But there’s a problem, of course, just not the one you’d expect. It’s not an ancient guardian or some enemy forces barring your path or even an archaic yet effective security system. No, it’s Duane and Pearl, your long-time friends (and probably CIA agents). They came to the monastery for their latest vacation, because Pearl had read you could have real religious experiences there. Sadly, what they found was a shrine in the middle of remodeling, the scaffolding, paint buckets and tools interfering with the religious ambience Pearl wanted so much.
So to get them out of the shrine so you can get to the secret cave, you need to help Pearl have her Christian inspiration moment. You have to cobble together all the parts for a spiritual event, from playing music by banging together paint buckets, burn potpourri as ‘incense’ and even add a few lighting effects. It’s a multipart puzzle, one big challenge comprised of smaller pieces and they are each brilliant.
The cynic in me likes this puzzle the best because I could honestly think, “So that’s how they do it, isn’t it?” But the puzzle itself, its design is fantastic and it helped me discover my second puzzling weakness: music. I pretty much tone-deaf and if you make a puzzle where I have to play a tune, I’m going to have to find a guide, because it is physically impossible for me to make sense of a set of notes. If you add colour to those notes, I’m cool, but just sound alone and no, just no. Also, Pearl’s reaction is priceless, and even though you’re tricking her, it does warm the heart to see the look on her face.
Better yet, there is actual smoke and a mirror in the puzzle and that just cracked me the hell up!
The Broken Sword series has tons of interesting puzzles and fun moments. Any one in particular you’d like to share? Hit me up in the comments!