The puzzle genre has come a long way since the days of Tetris. Following the success Braid, we have been seeing more games designed around very creative puzzle design. With Recursed, we have a simple looking game with one very tricky curve-ball of a design.
Worlds within Worlds:
The story is that you appear to be trapped in some strange world with the only way out is through magic crystals. Each puzzle is made up of one or multiple rooms with a purple crystal you have to reach. You can pick up objects and carry or throw them around. Part of the challenge is that you cannot jump as high while carrying something.
There are no threats in the game, and if you make the puzzle unsolvable, it will let you know. The game’s simplistic look hides the main challenge that’s going to get in your way.
Inside each room are chests that link to other rooms. You can transport one item with you when entering or leaving a chest. Leaving a room will reset the room back to its current condition. What you can do is carry chests into chests and start creating pocket dimensions within pocket dimensions. It’s hard to actually articulate some of the solutions to the game due to the trippy-like design.
Similar to Braid, each world of Recursed will introduce some additional mechanic on top of the base system. Later on, you’ll be able to alter the properties of a room and all subsequent chests within. The puzzles are all designed around one solution given the limited nature of the rules.
Just like other puzzle-based titles, Recursed has the same negatives regarding progression to talk about.
Stuck in a Loop:
Recursed, outside of the puzzle mechanics is pretty bare-bones. Don’t expect to find an elaborate story or completely new systems throughout the play. Just like other puzzle games don’t expect any hints if you get stuck at any of the game’s puzzles. The game makes use of organic tutorials to try and teach you the rules of the game, and then tasks you with taking that knowledge further.
It’s hard to talk about the difficulty of a game like Recursed. There were some puzzles that I blazed through later on, to get stuck on an earlier puzzle. I do like how you don’t need to beat every puzzle in a world before unlocking the next. Ultimately if you enjoy puzzle games like The Swapper or Braid, Recursed is another great game in that vein. For more on Recursed, you can watch my video spotlight: