If Puzzle Bloom’s dystopian workplace is to be believed the future is a bleak, depressing place. Large hulking monsters are enslaved into work camps surrounded by rock and mud. Robot supervisors keep them working around the clock. There’s not a corner of greenery left in this sad, ugly future. Not until you get there, that is. It’s time to take back the future for Mother Nature. It’s time for Puzzle Bloom.
Puzzle Bloom places you in control a nature spirit on a desolate, dystopian world. Not content to let the drab and dark future continue unimpeded, you’ll guide enslaved worker creatures around the environment in an attempt to bring color and life into bloom.
As a spirit, you’ll hop from worker to worker in an attempt to solve the environmental puzzles that keep you from reaching an area where you can work your magic and bring nature back to life. Workers are usually confined in small working areas which is while you’ll need to hop from one to another. The puzzles you’ll solve are fairly simple and usually involved leading one creature to stand on a button that will open a door for another, or pushing boxes to sit on buttons and block lasers in your path. There’s nothing in Puzzle Bloom that will present any kind of a serious challenge to gamers, and it doesn’t have to. Sometimes simple puzzles can be just as engrossing as the mind-crippingly difficult ones, and Puzzle Bloom is a title that will have no problems hold your attention.
The controls in Puzzle Bloom couldn’t be more simple. You’ll use the mouse to guide a creature to where you’d like him to go, and you’ll click on a different creature to hop from one body to another. The only restriction is that there can’t be a wall or other object blocking your path. Occasionally you’ll need to push boxes around, which is as easy as walking your creature into one. Everything in Puzzle Bloom is kept very simple and accessible. That’s a big part of what keeps it fun.
Presentation compliments the gameplay very well in this environmentally-friendly puzzler. Cell-shaded graphics come to life with lush greenery when you reach the milestones in each level, offering a perfect contrast for the dull, stale future that the spirit is trying to repair. The design of the workers captures the vibe of an innocent but enslaved creature, while still coming across as a gentle but hulking monstrosity. From the unique visuals to the perfect blend of eastern guitars and nature sounds that permeate the soundtrack, a slick presentation helps Puzzle Bloom really stand out in a sea of low-production quality web games.
Regardless of how engaging the gameplay and presentation may be, Puzzle Bloom suffered from one fatal flaw: it’s just too short. At the time of this writing the game is only two levels deep. You’ll finish everything that Puzzle Bloom has to offer in under 20 minutes, leaving you hungry for so much more. The developers at Team Shotgun are accepting donations to fund the development of future content, but with no guarantee of when or even if that will happen Puzzle Bloom remains a frustratingly short experience.
If someone were to tell me that this was merely a web-based demo for a full-fledged PC download not only would I have believed it — I’d have bought the full version. This game is practically begging for a publisher to pick it up and turn it into a proper release. Lengthen the experience drastically, add in a level editor (if ever there was a game that would benefit from one, this is it) and slap a $20 price tag on it. I can’t speak for the gaming community at large, but I’ll tell you this much – I’d buy it in a heartbeat.