Author Topic: Lemmings Puzzle Adventure update: It's... not terrible??  (Read 553 times)

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Offline weirdybeardy

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Lemmings Puzzle Adventure update: It's... not terrible??
« on: January 30, 2024, 12:36:51 PM »
Disclaimer: Puzzle Adventure is NOT a fantastic game. I know this, and I want to acknowledge that right at the start. ;P However, recently when I was bored and distracted I decided to re-download it to my phone and give it another go, and after 18 months since my last attempt, I can report that I'm enjoying myself more than I expected.

LPA is currently on season 66(!), and we all know exactly what kind of mobile game it is, but I feel like Exient did a good job of creating a lemmings game based on their brief. The tile-based gameplay for a touchscreen makes complete sense, and I actually find it less fiddly and frustrating than, say, Lemmings Touch on my PSVita. Is that heresy? :laugh: All I know is, Touch may be a superior Lemmings game, but I did find the controls a bit of an obstacle at times.

Meanwhile, Puzzle Adventure DOES seem to have been tweaked and improved a bit. The free-to-play mobile game structure is still awkward and cringey, but the updates seem to have made it so that the prompts and ads are less intrusive and annoying. Because I'm a principled son-of-a-badger, I refuse outright to pay for in-game stuff OR to watch ads in exchange for gameplay features. And, 99% of the time, this seems to work for me. A lot of the prompts seem to be optional now, which I'm not sure was the case when I last tried the game over a year ago. I can get away with not paying anything or watching ads for as long as I like, it seems.

I admit that maybe I'm misremembering. And the only reason I decided to give the mobile game another go is because I was bored, curious, and knee-deep in my current Lemmings hyperfixation (hooray for neurodivergence!). But the core gameplay of LPA is short, moderately satisfying, and obviously designed to encourage you to keep playing no matter what. Sure, it deviates from the core Lemmings formula that we all know and love, but then again, so do Lemmings games like Paintball, Revolution, Lomax, etc. If it wasn't part of the Lemmings franchise, I probably wouldn't touch it with a barge pole. But because it's Lemmings, it has just enough charm and familiarity for me to engage with it... for the time being.

Has anyone else tried LPA again recently? Its negative reputation is possibly not completely fairly earned, and playing it certainly involves a mental adjustment. It'll never replace any of the other Lemmings games in my affections, but thanks to my stupid restless brain and my curiosity I can report that it's not all bad.

Other lemmings games are designed to be played to completion. With LPA, there IS no completion. The aim is to keep playing, and keep playing, and keep playing, forever. Once you realise that, you can make the game work for you - and simply drop out whenever you want. It's very disposable. As mobile games go, it's towards the higher end of the continuum, considering some of the awful crap that's out there. And that seems to be because Exient's software updates have been aimed at making it more user friendly lately.

Thoughts, anyone? 8-)
My projects:

Lemmings in Weirdyland (NeoLemmix):
https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=6135.0

My levels for Lemmings 2 The Tribes can be found here:
https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=990.0

Offline weirdybeardy

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Re: Lemmings Puzzle Adventure update: It's... not terrible??
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2024, 12:46:26 PM »
Oh, and there's something really goofy and entertaining about the "lore" addition that lemmings apparently hatch from eggs now. ??? :P But hey, it makes as much sense as anything else right? Millas, Sonic lemmings, and lemmings colonising asteroids. It's all good. :lemming:
My projects:

Lemmings in Weirdyland (NeoLemmix):
https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=6135.0

My levels for Lemmings 2 The Tribes can be found here:
https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=990.0

Re: Lemmings Puzzle Adventure update: It's... not terrible??
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2024, 06:04:37 PM »
Nice to see this game get brought up here. :) I have a LOT of things to say about it, a lot of mixed feelings, a lot of things to like, a lot of things to not like (in fact, I'm planning to make a video essay about it like the J2ME games now that it's available on the Microsoft Store... for some reason). I won't wear you all out with every thought I have, but I'm happy to share some of what keeps me playing (and my biggest specific gripes), as someone who's been playing it on-and-off for a couple years by now.

I don't mind the Energy system too much; it is an artificial limit to playtime, sure, but I like how it incentivizes solving levels efficiently even without fixed skill counts. It opens up more options for solving a given level, allowing the player to reason out which one(s) will minimize energy use or minimize the risk of lemming death. :P Also, the game introduces new skills (yes really!) the more you play. Sadly only 2 out of 5 of them are available without having to pay, but they are mostly interesting and have different energy costs to consider. The most surprising thing about them to me is that NONE of them originate from L1 or are boring variations of L1 skills! We have tile-based equivalents of L2 skills in a modern Lemmings game!

The "Challenge" levels introduced each season are a fun way to break up a monotonous world; the goal is not to solve them efficiently but simply to get all your Lemmings out alive, as using skills does not cost you energy in these levels. Sometimes you do get a pathetically easy one, but most of the time you have to really think through your route and/or be very careful when navigating. You only get a limited number of attempts at playing these levels--not in the sense that there is an absolute maximum number of chances throughout a season, just that chances are hard to come by--so the pressure is on. :P Even more fun than the Challenge levels though are the Mayhem levels, which are previous seasons' Challenge levels with different additional rules. Some rules are annoying (random portals, gross) but among these are a simple time limit and a STRICT energy cap (independent of your main-game energy) which feels VERY classic and I quite like it. The energy capped levels are some of the most fun times I have playing this game.

All ads are indeed optional now, which is super nice. Most of the prompts you see between are only asking you to watch an ad for extra Energy or Lemmings, which I'm fine with. Admittedly, I'm not above watching an extra ad here and there to extend my playtime or to get through an annoying world faster, especially considering most (but not all!) levels are procedurally generated... :forehead:

Speaking of which, here's my biggest problem with the game as it is. It's not THAT most levels are procedurally generated that's the problem; it's a necessity to make a game structured in this way work. What bothers me is how the few hand-crafted levels are distributed across the game. Almost always, you KNOW when you get one, as they tend to have unique terrain layouts and are sometimes even genuinely really clever puzzles. These really serve to break up the monotony of some of the worlds; it's always a pleasant surprise to see one. The problem is that when you start the game, you barely get any of them for a long time. And I mean a LONG time.

The first 4 worlds of the game each have a fair amount of hand-crafted levels. They're pretty unremarkable, but they're designed to ease the player in, because that's just good game design. After that, there are a few tutorial levels to show off a couple new mechanics and a couple "hand-crafted" levels that only exist because the procedurally generated levels they replaced were accidentally impossible to complete; they're procedurally generated levels with, like, one or two troublesome blocks removed. Aside from those unremarkable exceptions, the player goes through. NINETY. FOUR. WORLDS. Before seeing a SINGLE hand-crafted level. That is several months of your life assuming you're playing pretty frequently. That is a LOT of time for people to decide that the game is boring and never touch it again. I've managed to make it out of that drought, and from what I've heard the newest worlds they've added have TONS of well-made handcrafted levels. That's good that they're focusing more on those now, but it will take me LITERAL YEARS to get there. For most people, that time investment just isn't worth it.

Regardless, I do have fun with the game and think there's a lot to like about it. It's definitely flawed in a lot of ways, but it's not soulless.

Offline weirdybeardy

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Re: Lemmings Puzzle Adventure update: It's... not terrible??
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2024, 06:45:34 PM »
I really appreciate your in-depth thoughts about this, especially as you have such a thorough view of the game's strengths and weaknesses. I'm still in the early levels of the game, but I'm enjoying it on my own terms, and it's also useful to know what to expect as I keep playing. Knowing myself, I imagine I'll play it haphazardly or even intensively for a while... and then drop it for a long break. That's just how I roll.

In summary, the game IS fun - and I can just about overlook the things I really dislike about it in order to play it and have a good time. Previously, I might not have thought so. Currently, I feel like it's something I can just about add to my list of "casual" Lemmings games to dip into from time to time. And that's cool.

I commute a lot, so games like Lemmings Puzzle Adventure (and Lemmings Touch) are possibly things I could work into my gaming routine, see if it helps me keep my neurons sparking in a positive and helpful way. :D
My projects:

Lemmings in Weirdyland (NeoLemmix):
https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=6135.0

My levels for Lemmings 2 The Tribes can be found here:
https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=990.0

Offline weirdybeardy

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Re: Lemmings Puzzle Adventure update: It's... not terrible??
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2024, 02:33:37 PM »
Oof... Lemmings Puzzle Adventure is an exhausting game and I feel like my energy for it is fizzling out. :lem-mindblown: :D At a fundamental level, it's a game designed to be played endlessly, like so many mobile games, and "live service" games, etc. With any of the other Lemmings games, the objective is to play the levels, solve the puzzles, complete the game. With Puzzle Adventure, as fun as it is, the objective is simply: Keep playing. You must playing to unlock more stuff that will help you keep playing, on and on, ad infinitum.

Having said that, it has been quite fun. But I'm "retiring" from the game at the end of Season 66. From my POV I feel like I've experienced at least a little bit of everything the game has to offer, so I'll consider it "complete" and I can delete it from my phone.

In summary: Lemmings Puzzle Adventure is not terrible. It's not even BAD. It's just a style of game that I can't commit to in the same way as the others. Until someone returns to the Lemmings licence and creates another commerical release, I've got NeoLemmix, SuperLemmix, Lix and this brilliant fan community to keep me going. :thumbsup:
My projects:

Lemmings in Weirdyland (NeoLemmix):
https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=6135.0

My levels for Lemmings 2 The Tribes can be found here:
https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=990.0