This indie collection introduces you to puzzle games

A new collection of indie puzzle games released today aims to give a broad and gentle introduction to many puzzling subgenres. Wrapped up in that idea that they’re all pulled from a mysterious alien games console, CosmOS 9 packs nine games that are each meant to take 30-90 minutes. I’ve played a few and they seemed puzzle game staples, having me drawing paths through blocks, figure out how a mysterious computer interface worked, and such. See the breadth of the cosmic puzzling experience in the trailer below.

So, the CosmOS 9 is a fictional console found floating in space. It contained nine games, which offer a fair range of typical puzzle experiences: Sokoban block-pushing, giving machines instructions to follow, tinkering with the unexplained interface of a strange computer to figure out what anything even does, a puzzle-platformer, a simple city-builder, and more.

“Puzzle games are still quite a niche genre, an alien experience to most players out there. This is a message to them,” the makers say. Each game is by a different person or team. The group say the games “have been fine-tuned to provide inviting difficulty curves, friendly challenges and constant thought-provoking surprises.” Yeah, seems so.

I’ve played four of the CosmOS 9 games. Linelith is perhaps the one I like most, a game of drawing routes through irregular grids while making contact with specific squares a certain number of times. It’s nice and gentle to drag out lines, and unwind them if you take a wrong turn. The puzzles are scattered across a space you can explore freely (we play as a cute legged rock), tackling them in the order you want, which is nice. They escalate gently, eventually introducing new ideas like Sokoban-y rock-pushing or using your rock critter as a puzzle piece. Yeah, I’ll keep on at this.

I did also quite like Frequency Dissonance, a small game about a wee robot with simple orders to charge a gun. But it’s about not doing what you’re told, of poking around to discover new opportunities, unlocking different endings. It’s small and short, but I like the idea of someone discovering they can break rules.

The CosmOS 9 bundle is available on Steam and Itch for £10.20. You can buy the games individually too, but the bundle offers a 55% discount on the lot. See the CosmOS 9 website for more info.

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