Replicate Objects to Solve Puzzles!
Replicator is a physics-based puzzle game which follows a simple mechanic: the player can copy and paste anything. Using this power, the player can use everyday objects in the environment to solve various puzzles.
Puzzle & Level Design
Replicator was a great opportunity for me to experiment with puzzle design. But a big part of developing this game was the level design.
I wanted to make all the different parts of Replicator's map work together in interesting ways. To accomplish this, I created several puzzles in which the player has to take objects from different areas of the map in order to solve them.
There are 5 major areas in the game:
The barn, the house, the mart, the prison, and a hidden underground temple. Each area provides unique puzzles which all come together in one overarching puzzle.
An Open World Puzzle
From the beginning I wanted Replicator to be an open world experience. In order to give some order to the chaos, I divided the map into the 5 major areas. Each area of the map serves as it's own individual "puzzle line". They each have a series of puzzles with a conclusive reward at the end. When all five puzzle lines are finished, the player can complete the overarching puzzle and find the solution to the story's mystery.
While Replicator isn't a narrative-heavy game, I wanted it to have a story to give meaning to the gameplay. However, I didn't want storytelling to bog down the pace of the game and stop the player from doing what Replicator's all about: solving puzzles.
My solution was to make the story a puzzle in itself. The player is never told anything about where they are, who they are, or what is going on. It's up to the player to discover the narrative through context clues which are scattered throughout the various environments. This way, it not only adds intrigue, but the player interacts with the story in a way that compliments the game's core gameplay loop, which is puzzle solving.