Preview: Machizzle – Blocktastic Puzzling Gameplay

It’s great that big flashy videogames like Half-Life: Alyx or The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners exist to showcase the upper echelons of the virtual reality (VR) gaming industry. But for those moments when you want a simpler experience, little puzzle titles Ghost Giant or Gadgeteer are a nice alternative. Currently in development is Machizzle, a videogame which easily falls into the latter category and one that has all the makings of a good brain teaser.

In Machizzle your task is to get a ball into a goal, moving it from one location to another collecting key along the way using a selection of blocks with various functionalities. Every puzzle takes place on an 8×8 board which can be spun around to give you the best viewpoint whilst the table can be raised and lowered depending on whether you like to play seated or standing.

The demo provided to VRFocus featured 35 puzzles to complete, with all the early ones offering an easy training arc for the different block options. Some were ramps, others plain tiles or tiles with boost arrows on; there were blue walls to bounce the ball off of and pads which shot the ball into the air. Nothing too out of the ordinary but all vital small pieces of a larger whole.

Machizzle is like playing with Lego or one of those small puzzle boxes which seem to be fashionable. There’s no flashy design to it purely because the title needs to be practical and work. Blocks can be grabbed and placed almost anywhere within the board making for nice vertical 3D challenges to figure out, utilising the space to its maximum.

The first 20 or so were fairly easy to solve, almost like following building instructions for a toy; it was plain to see where the blocks naturally fitted. However, iNFINITE Production did throw in a few headscratchers to properly test VRFocus’ brain, occasionally slowing down that winning streak. And that’s where these sort of puzzle experiences really do shine. When a challenge is put in front of you which appears relatively straightforward yet becomes more perplexing as time goes on, turning a couple of minutes into thirty.

The Czech Republic-based developer says there will be over 70 puzzles in the core campaign so that should provide a good few hours of gameplay. What’s even more interesting – and crucial to keep you coming back for more – is the level editor, from which you can share your designs. Alas, this wasn’t available in the demo. From the way Machizzle is designed the editor won’t be as complex as Gadgeteer because of the table format. Even so, the possibilities should still be endless.

From what VRFocus has seen so far Machizzle is an indie title to keep an eye on. The mechanics are easy to pick up and there’s not a lot of options that you need to worry about as there’s no locomotion involved. Machizzle is expected to arrive later this summer. Before then you’ll be able to test the videogame yourself as a free demo is coming as part of the Steam Games Festival this month.

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