Puzznic, Arcade

Puzznic is a one or two-player, puzzle-based, tile-matching arcade game, released by Taito in 1989.

And, while it might not look like much, it is actually a very clever and compelling game.

On the surface Puzznic looks a bit like Tetris, or Sokoban, but it’s more simple, and more interesting than both those classic games, in my humble opinion. It reminds me more of Mahjong.

The aim in Puzznic is to move blocks around so that the same kind touch each other, and thus disappear from the board. If two or more of the same kind of blocks are touching, they disintegrate. An on-screen cursor allows you to grab a block and move it left and right, with gravity making blocks fall downwards if nothing is stopping them. You can’t move blocks upwards, which means that once they’ve dropped down – that’s it.

You’re not allowed to leave any blocks on the board either, so if there’s one block left – or two, of two different types – then you’ll have no option but to quit and try again. You have a limited number of retries and also – if you do retry – the timer continues to tick down from where it was before; it doesn’t reset. Which adds an urgency to the gameplay.

To make things interesting, some platforms move around, which means that you can push blocks onto them and subsequently push them off into specific places. It might not seem like much, but this single element adds a huge amount of variety to the gameplay.

Puzznic is not particularly original, nor is it very well known, but it is almost certainly still worth playing now and has lost little of its potency over the years. A brilliant party game too. One that takes little brain power to understand how to play.

More: Puzznic on Wikipedia

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