Thinky Third Thursday

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Thinky Third Thursday
May 2024 (May Mayhem)

It's time for Thinky Third Thursday, as curated by Alan Hazelden of Draknek & Friends. It's a busy one this month!

Before we get onto the games, I want to remind you that there are only seven days until the return of Cerebral Puzzle Showcase! This is an annual event organised by us here at Draknek & Friends, featuring hundreds of discounted thinky puzzle games and dozens of demos for upcoming titles. This is shaping up to be the biggest and best Cerebral Puzzle Showcase ever, so please check it out on Steam next Thursday!

May Mayhem

The number and quality of puzzle games releasing this month is frankly ridiculous. Below you'll find nine great games that have either just released or are coming in the next week.

ANIMAL WELL, by Billy Basso and Bigmode (released 9th May, Windows / Nintendo Switch / PlayStation 5)
Explore a mysterious world as a fragile blob creature, collecting items and learning how and where to use them. It's a puzzle metroidvania reminiscient of Fez; I haven't spent enough time with it to get into the ARG-style secrets I hear it's hiding, but even without engaging with that layer I'm having an intriguing time.

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes, by Simogo and Annapurna Interactive (released today, Windows / Nintendo Switch)
A world rendered in black and white off kilter camera angles, punctured with neon pink, Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is like a modern film noir. But even if you're not lured in by impressive visuals, what might get you hooked is the rabbit hole of riddles, enigmas, codes, and a deep labyrinthine mystery.

Hexahedra, by Sidequest Ninja (released today, Windows / Linux)
A programming game about rotating, combining, painting, and generally manipulating cubes. If you've been looking for more Zachtronics-y games then Hexahedra is worth checking out, although I probably wouldn't recommend it as an entry point into the genre.

Hackshot, by RD Interactive (releasing later today, Windows)
It's framed as a hacking game, but the gameplay is pure physics puzzler. These games are often fiddly, but Hackshot sidesteps that by giving you a lot of control over the physics - maybe that shot you're trying to make would be easier if you disable gravity. This was selected for a Draknek New Voices Puzzle Grant back in 2022, so I'm very happy to see it finally coming out.

Leaf's Odyssey, by ludobloom (coming tomorrow, Windows / macOS / Linux)
Play as the intrepid ferret Leaf, on their journey to explore the land, defeat monsters, collect keys, and ascend a central tower. The puzzles all revolve around the intricacies of enemy behaviour - like a more approachable DROD - and the puzzles themselves are near-universally excellent. I had a fantastic time playtesting this before release - it's the one game from this list that I've sunk serious time into, which obviously makes it a strong recommendation from me.

A Monster's Expedition plushie, by Makeship + Draknek & Friends (Tuesday 21st May)
For a limited time only: don't miss your chance to get your very own charming little monster plushie... perfect for accompanying you on your expeditions to the Museum of Puzzling Exhibitions! Available on Makeship from May 21st for three weeks only, this plushie will only get made if we hit the funding goal. If you're interested, tap "Subscribe for Creator Updates" to be notified the moment the campaign is live next week.

Paper Trail, by Newfangled Games (Tuesday 21st May, Windows / macOS / all consoles / Netflix)
Fold the world to uncover new paths in this origami puzzle adventure. Constantly visually arresting, and very approachable, I'm expecting this to convert a lot of people to the joy of thinky games.

Ouros, by Michael Kamm (Wednesday 22nd May, Windows / macOS / Linux)
Ouros is so elegant there's almost nothing left to say about it. Watch the trailer and you'll understand instantly what it is - drag the control points; control the spline; hit the targets. It adds complications and variety of course, but at its core it's the mathematical elegance that makes it work.

Isles of Sea and Sky, by Cicada Games (Wednesday 22nd May, Windows)
Explore an open world archipelago full of excellent block-pushing puzzles. The critical path seems to involve four large puzzle islands each focused on a different elemental power, but there's also dozens of smaller optional islands too. The puzzle quality is very high across the board, so this is sure to be a delight.

Duck Detective: The Secret Salami, by Happy Broccoli Games (Thursday 23rd May, Windows / macOS / Linux / Nintendo Switch)
This is a delightful detective game, starring a washed up duck detective with a bread problem. This will be familiar to fans of Return of the Obra Dinn or The Case of the Golden Idol, but it doesn't feel derivative - this genre feels like a great case study for how small differences in structure can lead to totally different games.

Cerebral Puzzle Showcase (Thursday 23rd May)
Finally, as mentioned before, next Thursday marks the start of the third ever Cerebral Puzzle Showcase. We put in so much work into this event every year, and it's always a fantastic time. Whether you're a puzzle novice or a hardcore thinky fan, Cerebral Puzzle Showcase is the best resource bar none to help you find the next puzzle game you're going to fall in love with.

Thinky releases from the past month:

That's it!

I hope you've booked enough time off work to play everything! Please feel free to get in touch and let me know what you're enjoying from this bumper batch of releases.

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