If you get a kick out of the sliding ice block puzzles that are commonplace in the 3D Legend of Zelda games, grab a rag to mop up your drool; The Voxel Agents has one heck of a game for you. Puzzle Retreat is a unique puzzle game that involves sliding ice cubes around weirdly-shaped trays until each piece of ice fits snugly in its own cubby. It’s a plain-looking game and it’s not for everyone, but if you fall for it, you’re going to fall hard (pun intended).
There isn’t much of a story behind Puzzle Retreat. The only thing that’s important is the fact that empty slots need to be stuffed with some ice cubes, and by gum, you’re going to do just that. The cubes lay on the side of each slot-pocked board, and flicking them sends them flying. When every block on the board has been used and each hole is filled, the puzzle is solved.
In fact, while many puzzle boards involve filling all the holes with ice, you also need to utilize every single block that lines each board. This is an important point because you have more than ice to contend with: You also need to correctly utilize stopper blocks, as well as fire blocks that melt the cold stuff.
A Song of Ice and Fire
Puzzle Retreat sounds complicated, and some of the puzzles can be real brain-breakers. However, the game itself is incredibly simple to pick up and play with minimal instruction. It’s perfect three-minute distraction.
There’s tons of content, too. The initial cost of entry nets you a large chunk of puzzles, and you can purchase additional packs. You can jump from pack to pack and level to level without penalty. There are no time limits, no stars, no goal beyond “Solve this stupid thing.” If you get frustrated with one board, you can move on.
Skating on the thin ice of modern life
If you don’t enjoy Puzzle Retreat from the word “go,” however, you’re not going to like it at all. This breed of visual/logic puzzle is understandably infuriating for some folk. Also, the game’s presentation is pretty bare-bones. The wood-style visuals are nice enough to look at, but there’s little variation between level packs, and there’s no background music at all. The swish and click of the moving ice is admittedly nice to listen to, though. It sounds like progress.
If you’re looking for a puzzle game that’s a little different and a little chill (ha!), it’s definitely worth your time to do a little slippin’ and slidin’ with Puzzle Retreat.
Puzzle Retreat developer trailer