Developers have been mixing puzzle-solving elements into their action games for quite a while now, and the last few years have produced a ton of titles that fit this template. More recently, two titles have really pushed the “puzzle action” genre to new heights.
Superhot is a shooter that takes place in slow motion, while The Witness is a return to the exploratory puzzle-solving that was very popular in the mid-90s.
Both games (which are only available as digital downloads) were reviewed yesterday by M. Brandon Robbins at Library Journal:
Most video games have some puzzle elements, with many challenges calling for identifying patterns and creating cause-and-effect reactions. Puzzle games use this mechanic as its sole driving force, with little room for combat or exploration, and they have been some of the best over the past several years.
Recently, however, two games have changed the landscape of puzzle games in a very real way. They will be influential for years to come, and making them available to your patrons should be a major priority.
I’ve been playing a lot of Superhot lately, and even though you can’t add it to a circulating game collection, I agree that it’s an excellent choice if you have a PC set aside for gaming. Solving the “puzzle” of how to survive each level requires quick thinking and stringing together a series of winning moves makes you feel like a superhero. Highly recommended.