Now you know I have to mention game story at least once a month. It is sort of an unwritten rule at this point. At least it was until a few seconds ago. Now I am not going to pretend that every puzzle game needs a good story. That would be a bit unreasonable of me to ask. However, a little bit of context can go a long away. Nothing motivates you to work harder in solving a puzzle than getting closer to an actual resolution. At least in the longer puzzle games where I have spent a decent amount of time doing similar puzzles for hours on end. Look, my brain is like a hamster. It needs a little bit of stimulation to get the wheel turning. However, I want to focus on a particular part of the game and that is the payoff. The thing about having a story in a puzzle game is that there has to be some sort of closure for going through all of that. And yet, some games have the AUDACITY to have multiple different endings. Now just hear me out for a minute on why I have mixed feelings towards this concept.
Now I do like the idea of multiple endings as a concept. It adds to the game by allowing you to experience the game differently each time you play. That means that there is a lot of different ways you can approach the same problem, which is nice. I happen to like flexibility in videogames, especially when it comes to difficult problems. However, the flipside is that when completing a puzzle game and you only get one ending, that means that you still have yet to solve all the puzzles. Now when I try and solve puzzles I tend to have a certain amount of pride, useless as it may be, to try and solve every puzzle that the game has to offer. I may not do it efficiently. It may take me forever to accomplish. I may not necessarily do it correctly and the game will constantly remind me of that fact. However, I will do my best to bulldoze my way forward. Usually this is spurred on by my desire to see how it all ends since despite most puzzles requiring complex solutions, I tend to have a one-track mind. Why do you think I compared my brain to a hamster wheel? So naturally, i can be kind of annoyed when finding out that I haven’t necessarily gotten the best ending because I haven’t puzzled hard enough. I agree that the ending should be the reward for your efforts, but I think I worked pretty hard so why can’t I figure out what I missed? Maybe the hamster needs to refuel. Okay I will stop with that analogy for today. Moving on.
Now I should make it clear that there is a distinction in the different ways multiple endings can be achieved. The first way is when you are acting in a intricately woven puzzle in order to accomplish some sort of goal and the goal you end up at is determined by how you acted at certain key points leading up to the ending. The second way is when there are separate optional puzzles that lead you to tools you need so that you can get a better ending. The first one I can forgive because I feel like I am playing a different game each time. Okay maybe not that dramatic (most of the time), but at least the experience feels different enough to justify another playthrough. The second one though, makes me feel as though I have completed everything. Other games may not matter in that sense, but this is a puzzle game. You are in this for the puzzles right? So, naturally it only feels right to do all of the puzzles. Especially if the story leads you down this path and you can get a better ending through doing more puzzles. However, they like to hide those puzzles from you. You have to work even harder for them and man can that be exhausting. I am already mentally taxed enough going through the main campaign so and least throw me a bone here. Listen, it isn’t really a deal breaker or anything. It just feels like when you get a 99% completion rate and part of your brain is telling you that you can get that last percent without having any clue where to start. It’s not the best feeling, but hey maybe it doesn’t bother you that much and I have thoroughly wasted your time. Thanks for hearing me out anyway.