Piczle Cross Adventure is mostly about following the story and playing picture crossword logic-puzzles. However, there is a little more fun and adventuring to be had outside of all that. There are some mini-games and mini-puzzles!
When deciding on what kind of mini-activities to include and where I tried to stick to a few simple rules:
1. Easy and quick to implement. There is no point spending months on a mini-game that should be a throwaway experience for the player.
2. They should be fun distractions from the overall game, not major elements.
3. They should not impede game progress for those not interested in playing them.
4. (For personal reasons) Each mini-game I put together should teach me something I’m looking to learn about coding and UE4.
Number 3 is of course the main one. I decided that some activities will be a barrier to some of the puzzles or secrets, so that completionists will want to play them at least, but players not interested in clearing the game 100% can just skip by them. Not that any of the mini-games offer a significant challenge, but still.
Only one significant non-logic-puzzle puzzle will be part of the main story arc and must be passed by every player. I am making sure there are enough hints to point the players in the right direction so it won’t be a game-ending hurdle for anybody.
Lastly, there are several more mini-games planned out but put in the folder “nice to have”. I have a period in development planned for general polish and redoing certain things to improve quality. During this time, if time can be found, maybe one or two more mini-games could be squeezed in.
Some progress in the game relies on the player having certain items in their inventory. These will mostly be automatic as the player progresses through the game. However they are paced in such a way that, hopefully, the player can link the obstacle and the object together in their brain. “A fish and a hungry bear”, “a lantern and a dark cave”, they should all kind of make sense. But also, usage is automatic, so you can’t miss a solution by not checking every item in your inventory everywhere. Walk into a dark cave with a lantern in your inventory and hey presto, let there be light!
Much like the mobile version of Piczle Lines DX’s Gig sticker hunt, there will be a few well hidden secret items spread around the world of Piczle Cross Adventure. If you uncover this little Easter egg hunt you’ll be rewarded with something cool but optional; unless you’re a completist though. This time I decided to tie it to a trophy. So if you want that 100% clear status be prepared to sniff out these secrets!
To stay in the tradition of RPG-py gameplay of course Piczle Cross Adventure has a fishing mini-game. It is a simple game based on reaction time, and leads to an inventory item required for the player to pass into an area of puzzles elsewhere. That entire area is optional, but definitely one for the completists to want to reach. Outside of that, there are “high scores” for each fish caught in the way of bronze/silver/gold ratings. If people want to prove they are the best fisherperson they can, but it is entirely optional.
I’ve not programmed in a TTC (Time To Crate) but obviously, as this is a videogame, there are crates. In this case a small crate pushing puzzle that allows the player into a small area for a few more optional puzzles. If the player messes up and accidentally blocks their path, they can leave and return to the area to reset the puzzle.
Zen rock garden
For just a tiny splash of Piczle Lines in this game there is a Zen rock garden where the player has to draw a single, continuous line that covers the entire garden but doesn’t go over itself to open a gate. Beyond the gate are a few optional puzzles and a secret, so again, if the puzzle befuddles the player they can ignore it.
The riddles needed to progress
As this should be a fun reveal for players I’m not posting any screenshots of this part. At some point in the game the player will have to answer a set of riddles. It will be made very clear how these riddles work, because I don’t want any player to be stuck at this stage.
There will be a set of (randomly chosen) punny riddles to which the answers are based on puzzles in the game. Each puzzle has an ID code, which can be seen in the log-book. So all the player has to do is to have finished enough puzzles and have gotten the puzzle logbook to figure out which codes to fill in.
Even so, I have decided that I won’t check whether or not the player has actually cleared those puzzles. This way players could look for the answers on-line at some point. Perhaps I will check and make a comment about it in-game but I won’t block the player’s progress if they look up the answers. After all, they should be having fun and playing logic-puzzles. That, beyond anything else, the the main focus of Piczle Cross Adventure!