5 of the best puzzle games on Evercade
Puzzle games! It’s one of those genres that covers a pretty broad spectrum of experiences, but they have one thing in common: they get your brain working. Sometimes puzzle games involve you making your brain work hard under intense pressure, while in other cases you have time to contemplate your moves carefully before you make them. There’s no getting away from it, though: puzzle games make you think.
Puzzle games have long been associated with handheld devices ever since the Game Boy shot to stardom with its bundled copy of the classic Tetris. So while the games we’re about to discuss today play great on the big screen with Evercade VS, they’re also prime candidates for taking on the go with you thanks to the original Evercade handheld, Evercade EXP or HyperMegaTech! Super Pocket devices.
However you choose to play, get ready to engage that brain! And, as always, note that these are just five games from the complete Evercade library; there are plenty more puzzlers where these came from! Why not chat with us on Twitter, Facebook and Discord and let us know your own favourites?
Although Namco Museum Collection 2 is now a Legacy cartridge, meaning that it’s no longer in active production, there are still plenty of copies out there, making it fairly readily available for those who don’t already have it in their collection. And puzzle game fans would do well to snap this one up, because Pac-Attack is one of the best puzzle games on Evercade.
In Pac-Attack, you drop L-shaped pieces into a well in an attempt to make complete lines of solid blocks. The more lines you complete simultaneously, the more points you get. But there’s a twist: some of the pieces you drop have ghosts or Pac-Men instead of the regular solid blocks. Having a ghost in a line doesn’t count as making a complete line, so you need to clear them out of there — which is where the Pac-Men come in. Drop a Pac-Man block and the Pac-Man will toddle off in the direction he’s facing, dropping down levels as if they were “platforms” and eventually disappearing when he reaches a dead end. Along the way, he’ll eat all the ghosts, clearing spaces and causing anything that was above the ghosts to drop into the gap.
Effectively, what you want to be doing in Pac-Attack is using the pieces you drop to create a coherent “maze” for Pac-Man to follow. To that end, be careful not to trap ghosts with solid blocks above them, because they then become quite difficult to dig out!
Pac-Attack may initially seem complex, but once you get the basic rules down it’s a lot of fun. Try the Puzzle mode for some examples of the setups you might want to try and create in the main game mode, then take aim for a high score at one of several different difficulty levels! Also fun fact: this wasn’t originally a Pac-Man game; in Japan it was part of the “Cosmo Gang” series, which is largely unknown in the west, so the Pac-Man theming was added to make it more globally recognisable.
Note that due to licensing restrictions, Namco Museum Collection 2 (and by extension Pac-Attack) will only work on handheld Evercade and Evercade-compatible devices and thus is not playable on Evercade VS.
Romeow and Julicat
A firm favourite from among our growing collection of new games for classic platforms, Romeow and Julicat from Mega Cat Studios Collection 2 is a great shape puzzler. Swapping the usual falling block formula for a top-down grid-based arrangement, your aim in Romeow and Julicat is, like Pac-Attack, to make complete lines — this time either horizontally or vertically stretching across the entire width or height of the grid.
You’ll be repeatedly presented with pieces made of varying numbers of blocks, and can position them where you like on the playfield. There are a couple of twists on the format you might expect though: firstly, you have a palette of three pieces to choose from, and secondly, you cannot rotate the pieces, so they must be used as is. Choose which pieces from your “hand” to lay down carefully and try to save precious single-tile pieces to fill in awkward gaps!
Your goal in Romeow and Julicat is simply to place a set number of pieces on the board to complete each stage — however, you’ll find that you’ll need to clear lines off the board in order to make enough space for you to do that. It’s a fun twist on the usual block-placing, shape-sorting formula, and its charming 16-bit presentation makes it a fun game to watch as well as play.
The Gruniożerca Trilogy
How about three games for the price of one? That’s what you get with The Gruniożerca Trilogy from Indie Heroes Collection 2. Based on a beloved pet who sadly left this world in 2019, The Gruniożerca Trilogy consists of three very different puzzle experiences.
In the first, you’ll switch Grunio’s colour to catch falling carrots of the corresponding colours. In the second, you’ll use puzzle pieces to complete platformer stages and help Grunio reach his destination. And in the third, you’ll have to carefully plan out Grunio’s moves across collapsing floor tiles to ensure he can clear each stage and safely reach the exit.
Master all three games and you can truly say you’ve honoured Grunio’s legacy by becoming a Gruniożerca master.
Super Bubble Pop
Coming to us from Piko Interactive Collection 3, Super Bubble Pop is a 32-bit puzzler that has its origins as an “advergame” — a game specifically designed to promote a particular product. In this case, it was Super Bubble Pop “styling gum” for your hair, available around the turn of the century. The original website for the product (and the game) has been preserved by the ever-reliable Internet Archive here.
Unlike many other advergames, however, you probably wouldn’t know that Super Bubble Pop originated as a piece of advertising, because it’s simply a fun (and thoroughly early 2000s) game in its own right. Playing as one of several different characters, your aim is to stack up or line up coloured bubbles in order to pop them and make them disappear from the board. The playfield adopts a quasi-3D perspective, allowing you to see the advancing bubbles and obstacles as well as the height of the various stacks you’ve created. Do your best to keep the board clear and progress through each stage quickly!
Besides popping coloured bubbles and clearing the board, you can also proceed to the next stage by collecting certain items. There are also power-ups and special abilities to make use of, giving this game a surprising amount of depth and longevity. And the banging soundtrack is well worth cranking up the volume for.
Toaplan is best-known for its vertically scrolling shoot ’em ups, but as the two Toaplan Arcade cartridges demonstrate, they occasionally dipped their toes into other genres just to see what they could figure out. Teki-Paki from Toaplan Arcade 1 is their attempt at the puzzle game genre — and it’s an interesting one that blends familiar elements with some new ideas to create a distinctive, addictive and rather challenging experience.
Your aim in Teki-Paki is straightforward: create clusters of five or more blocks of the same colour. These blocks can be connected horizontally, vertically or diagonally — they just have to be adjacent in one of those directions. In true puzzle game tradition, skilled players will be able to set up chain reactions where one set of blocks disappearing from the board causes another combination to be completed for bonus points — and indeed, as you progress through the levels, it will become more and more important to do this in order to prevent the screen from filling up!
Do your best to try and keep the “bomb” pieces accessible; match five of those together and you’ll make life a whole lot easier for yourself. And if you were wondering, tekipaki is a Japanese term that means “briskly”, “promptly” or “efficiently” — hence the game’s increasingly frantic nature and its machinery-inspired aesthetic!
With over 260 games available