Puzzle gaming is undergoing quite the comeback thanks to the mobile uprising. Once the territory of '90s PC gaming, puzzlers fell out of prominence as computers got better and realistic action became the new design goal. Now that games are on our phones, there's a renewed demand for simpler experiences. Puzzlers are the perfect solution to that demand, as they offer quick hits of challenge that you can pause at any time. Unfortunately, the prominence of the genre has led to a lot of games that play the same. Enter Patrick's Parabox, a game that uses space to redefine puzzlers.
Patrick's Parabox looks like your average puzzle game at first glance. You control a small square who must make its way through a series of bigger square worlds. To advance through each square, you must push one or more boxes to their designated spots. Once all the boxes are properly put away, you must put your square in its own spot. Of course, walls and box placement stand in your way. But, and here's where the entire game opens up, you can go inside some of the boxes. As a result, some of the boxes become mini-puzzles of their own. Just watch the video:
Patrick's Parabox is a puzzle game about boxes within boxes, and exploring its recursive, mind-bending consequences. I've been working on it for about a year and a half. I'm nervous and excited to start sharing it more publicly! #screenshotsaturday #gamedev pic.twitter.com/9qTVvY3kpu— Patrick (@clockworkpat) May 17, 2019
That video comes from Patrick Traynor, the very Patrick the game is named for. He's the creator and sole developer of Patrick's Parabox, and he just won an award at IndieCade for his work. It's well-deserved. Going into the game without prior knowledge, the first experience of going into a box is mind-blowing. Later levels only build upon the concept, cleverly placing boxes within boxes within boxes to make the player really consider their moves.
Traynor also makes for a good follow on Twitter and Twitch. He's open about his development process and will often stream his work on Patrick's Parabox or I Wanna Maker, a level editor based on the popular I Wanna Be The Guy. Anyone interested in game development could learn from his streams, where he himself learns from fellow developers in the audience.
Patrick's Parabox doesn't have a release date at the moment. But the demo available at Indiecade seemed quite polish. Hopefully it will be finished soon, and more of the world can see this inventive twist on a common genre.