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Language Arts

by Jared Jackson

Zach-like
2019

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Large, systematic puzzler with an interesting but somewhat awkward interface, November 27, 2019
Language Arts is a deep, systematic puzzle game. Gameplay has you learning a collection of increasingly-complicated rules to solve a total of twenty increasingly-challenging puzzles, all of which feature the manipulation of letters on a grid. I enjoy systematic puzzlers a great deal, and I had a lot of fun with Language Arts.

The game's interface is one of its more interesting aspects. Language Arts is made in Unity, and Jared Jackson had to create a new interface just for the game in addition to writing the content. It's an impressive bit of coding - although perhaps all in a day's work for Jackson, who is a professional game programmer. I love how the interface recreates the feel of a 1980s-era Macintosh computer. There's even an orange in the upper-left hand corner where a Mac would have had an apple! Unfortunately, using the interface can be a bit of a challenge at times. For example, I would have liked the cycle of trying a solution, seeing what goes wrong, editing the solution, and trying again to go a bit faster.

I also experienced something of a steep learning curve with the game. I had a lot of trouble with some of the first puzzles as I was absorbing how to "think" in terms of the Language Arts way of expressing things. Once I entered that mindset, though, I found solving many of the later puzzles to go faster, even though they are objectively more difficult than the earlier ones. (The game's manual can be quite helpful here; I recommend players refer to it regularly at the beginning.)

If you like large systematic puzzle games, you should definitely play Language Arts. If you can stick with the game through the early stages until you learn to think in the game's code, and you can ignore some of the slower aspects of the interface, you'll be rewarded with an excellent, intricate puzzler.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Pure puzzle with a moving interface. Programming local movement, November 19, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
I beta-tested this game, but only got to the first part/tutorial.

Now that I've seen the rest, I'm really amazed. I love it!

I don't know if I can recommend it to the general IF populace. In this game, you have a very restricted programming language that moves a block one tile at a time based on conditions that only detect the block near it. This is very similar to my PhD research in almost convex groups and subdivision rules (which were also determined locally by rules), so I have a soft spot for this kind of thing anyway.

The framing story is very light. There might be a big reveal at the end for all I know, but everything else is just sort of fluff to introduce the puzzles. The puzzles are quite hard, and require a great deal of trial and error and a little bit of praying for success or cursing at failure.

- AKheon (Finland), November 18, 2019


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