Photographs - Puzzle Stories (2019) is a narrative puzzle game where you witness the lives and memories of five different characters. You investigate old photos for memories that advance the story and solve simple puzzles that reflect their lives. It stands out for the heartbreaking, often tragic stories it shows, making you reflect on your own choices and their effect on you and those around you.
You play through the lives of five different characters: an Olympic swimmer, a botanist, a reporter, a settler, and a time-travelling wizard. But things don’t go to plan for any of these characters, in heartbreaking and sometimes shocking ways. By examining photographs of their lives, you witness key decisions and moments unfold, from the downfall of a newspaper by hatred and extremism to division stirring up discontent between people groups.
Each life evolves as a miniature diorama where you zoom in, search for and photograph clues, and solve puzzles to move things forward. You take photos of key moments in each of the characters' lives, then complete a short puzzle to dance the story. Puzzles range from arranging tiles to creating paths to moving two characters controlled by the same inputs around a grid.
By the end of the game, you are deeply connected to each person and have to make a near-impossible decision about which of the tragic endings to change for the better. The decision you have to make is hard because you’ve got to know each person’s family and life. How do you choose which of your friends to save, when you’ve been a part of their downfall?
The result is a game that invites you to consider the way our individual choices affect our lives and the lives of others in a nuanced, contemplative way. "Have you ever made a mistake, or hurt people you care about?" Asks the Photographs trailer
. It's a puzzle game that aims much higher than to distract you while on the way to work.
Our examiner, Andy Robertson
, first checked Photographs - Puzzle Stories 3 years ago. It was re-examined by Ben Kendall
and updated 4 months ago.