Looking to take a break from those two hundred-hour stories and oceans of drawn-out achievements? In the mood for taking it down a couple of notches and sinking into something a little less demanding? Well, you're in luck — because we've got just the ticket. In fact, we've got enough puzzle platformers to fill your entire weekend, with no two games even remotely alike. And the best part is — you can pretty much mop up each journey in under four or five hours. So, if you're having a quiet one this weekend and are in serious need of a toned-down break — then these are the five games you'll want to put in the pipeline.
Whether you're invested in the world of puzzle platformers or not, there's no denying the fact that each of the following entries makes art breathe and creativity flourish. And while they're galaxies apart from some of the biggest games on the current market, there are still plenty of reasons to divert the course and give them the love they deserve. So, without further ado, here are the games you'll want to sift through this weekend.
If you enjoyed playing through Limbo, then you'll definitely enjoy rifling through Playdead's follow-up game, INSIDE. Just like the first epic journey that brought the unique developer to unimaginable altitudes, INSIDE follows a similar style of gameplay, with another blank canvas of a protagonist lighting the way for heart-pounding, nerve-wracking adventure, packed with all the bells and whistles one would come to expect from a puzzle platforming chapter.
INSIDE puts you in the shoes of an unnamed boy, out on a quest to traverse a monochromatic world while avoiding the surrealism that laps the winding environment. Through a series of bleak rooms and shadowy crevices, you must work to navigate obstacles, overthrow sinister foes, and disguise yourself among a community riddled with ominous citizens. You know, all the things you'd expect from Playdead's barrel of unorthodox creations.
4. Sackboy: A Big Adventure
One of PlayStation's biggest icons is back at the helm for another wave of platforming perfection, with all the LittleBigPlanet influences one could possibly want trickling over it. Mind you, it is worth pointing out that Sackboy: A Big Adventure doesn't fall within our relatively short puzzle platforming games — seeing as it's a few hours longer than the earlier chapters in the series. But having said that, you can still expect to clean house and reap all the rewards the little guy has to offer in less than ten hours. So that's something.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure takes you back to the roots of classic 3D platform gaming, with a series of obstacle courses to conquer, flashy loot to hoard, and a band of weird and wonderful characters to barter with. Of course, there's plenty more to it than that, what with the series antagonist, Vex, back to his old ways and a boatload of sackfolk desperate for a woollen hero to save the day. But it's probably best you dive into the beloved Craftworld and unveil the wacky antics for yourself, to be honest. You're in for a few surprises with this BAFTA-winning family sensation.
3. Little Nightmares
On the hunt for something a little more grotesque? As luck would have it — Little Nightmares might just be the thing you're after, providing you don't mind sinking into a narrative that refuses to hold your hand the entire way, of course. But with that said, it's still easy to make the assumption right off the bat that Tarsier Studios' gentle pixie puzzler isn't all that challenging. However, buried deep within the world that Little Nightmares brings to life, twists, turns and trials lay in wait with an impending sense of hopelessness attached to every action.
Take on the role of Six, the yellow raincoat-wearing child with a rifling hunger for anything that dares breathe. As the flesh-deprived minor, you must traverse some of the most ominous and downright terrifying landmarks in search of not only a course for survival — but also an escape from the impending doom that lurks over your tiny shoulders. With distorted creatures wallowing in the shadows of every nook and cranny of the treacherous ship, you must use a combination of stealth and strategy in order to survive the long and woefully wicked night and touch sunrise.
EA definitely surprised us when unravelling this artistic puzzle-platformer back in 2016. And, unlike the other frontrunners that dominated the yearly portfolio, their needle and thread puzzler rifled through a whole other series of emotions — ones we didn't quite come to expect from such a peculiar protagonist. And yet, Unravel did something rather beautiful with its relatively short but inexplicably elegant story. It shocked us, and for all the right reasons.
EA put aside, we do have to give credit where it's due, and, in this case, Coldwood Interactive definitely deserves a standing ovation for the world they forged from such a basic spool of wool. Without the creative team carrying the torch over the artistic process, Unravel never would've made it to the benchmark it rests on today. But you'll have to see for yourself the wonders that idle within the haystack. Let's just say it's a needle you'll definitely want to find and keep a firm hold of.
1. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
We'll stand by our guns and say that Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is still the best puzzle platformer on the market. Even after eight years since its launch, this absolutely beautiful work of art still stands strong and bears the crown for being one of the most loved video games ever created. And if you haven't given it a go yet — then now's your chance. Just be ready to roll out the red carpet to the waves of emotions that will come coursing through over its short but bittersweet journey.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is nestled with near-perfect storytelling and unbeatable snippets of challenging gameplay, and the overall concept has yet to be given a run for its money in such a thriving domain. Plot-wise, Starbreeze Studios‘ gaming phenomenon is relatively simple, yet astonishingly effective. Overall, it's an absolute masterpiece that any gamer should experience at least twice in their gaming careers.