The first and biggest change I made in this update is the removal of missiles. It’s a big change that propagates itself throughout the entire experience. Once this change was implemented, the rest of the design changes flowed naturally from there.
Before: With Missiles
This is one of the first levels where you really have to think before placing a block. In the picture above, the player has placed a block that has now blocked him/her from filling in the last space. Now with missiles, this is solved by destroying the offending block, and filling in the rest of the spaces.
Now I’ve mentioned before that all puzzles are solvable without using a single missile. So they aren’t necessary to any solution; in fact, the game frowns upon the use of missiles. However, there will be players who will use this tool simply because it’s there. Thus my two main reasons for taking missiles out of the game: the first reason is that they can be used to make the whole game a breeze, and the second reason is that it encourages a haphazard placement of blocks, since the player knows that his/her mistakes can be easily corrected with missiles.
After: Without Missiles
Aside from the visual changes in the figure above, here, the player is stuck in the very same situation as before except that now, they can’t rely on the use of missiles. The concept and implementation of missiles no longer exists.
Instead, the game now tells you that you’ve been “Pixel Blocked!” when you find yourself in this predicament and highlights the space that can no longer be filled. This mechanic allows the player to identify the misplaced blocks and hopefully learn from the mistake. The removal of missiles not only enhances the flow of the puzzle, but it also encourages thoughtful placements of each block, allowing the player to have that very satisfying ‘aha’ moment when they finally figure out the solution to each puzzle.