Author Topic: Summer Game Fest Preview: Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure  (Read 270 times)

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Offline Oronalex

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A puzzlingly beautiful RPG has a lot of promise

I had the opportunity to play Arranger: A “Role Puzzling” RPG at Summer Game Fest and the debut game of Furniture and Mattress LLC. You play as Jemma, a quirky young orphan who goes on a quest to learn about her mysterious past, and how she has a powerfully different way of interacting with the world. I only got to play the first 30 minutes but I was left hooked by its whimsical soundtrack and perfect a-ha moment inducing puzzles.

   The game itself is hard to describe as when it comes to Jemma, the entire world is a sliding puzzle. The world is isometric but instead of moving along the tiles, Jemma stands still and the strip of tiles she's on is what moves. Think of it like this: every path is a strip on a Rubik’s cube. Once she gets to the edge of the land she's on, much like a Rubik’s cube, she will come around to the other side, and while the rest of the world behaves like normal, this is the chaos that surrounds Jemma.

The sliding ground effect is used for a good amount of clever writing as well as puzzle design. Characters are constantly referencing how everything falls apart around Jemma, including characters on ladders who fall to the ground because paths move around when she’s nearby. As far as puzzle design, the demo showcased the charm and chemistry of the environment and characters, but also the thought provoking puzzle design that had me scratching my head at moments, but then figuring it out right at the cusp of frustration.

Arranger really excelled at finding that perfect balance, to make you feel real dumb but follow it up with a feeling of being the smartest person ever. In one of the simpler puzzles, you are in a room where there’s a wall and locked door in the center, and you solve it by going to the edge of the room, and off the map, making you come back on the other side of the locked door. It’s a wild concept but once you’ve wrapped your head around it, the whole world of puzzles opens up to you. I was drawn in and couldn’t wait to see what was next. I wanted to see how it all worked, and the different ways they would use this mechanic.

Another key take away from Arranger was the fantastic art, from the same artist behind Braid, and the fantastic music scores that accompanied the world you explored. I found myself tapping along to the tunes as I progressed, and I was so excited that I inquired if the soundtrack would hit Spotify, and it absolutely will. It also had a special mode that if you were struggling on a puzzle, there was an accessibility option to skip forward, so you can still experience the story. The demo ended as you entered the outside world, but boy was I ready for more. Arranger is one I’ll be keeping an eye out for come July.