I was playing Cookie Jam and was stuck on one of the levels for a while. Let me show you level 69:
The level’s objective is to drop three orange cakes and three green cakes into the delivery boxes below. You’ve got 46 moves to do it. There are three types of obstacles here: The chocolates, the rats, and the cinnamon sticks. Cinnamon sticks lock up cookies, which are immobile until you make a match with them to break the locks. The chocolates are immobile and only go away if you make a match next to them. The rat moves with every move you make and eats whatever treats happen to be on the spaces he moves into. This can include the cakes you need for the delivery order!
Now, my initial gut reaction here was to remove the chocolate. They’re blocking the tile spawning points at the top of the map, so when new cakes spawn, they’ll only spawn on the edges, which are very difficult to match. I did that and failed the level over and over, and I was wondering if I just needed to be lucky enough. That’s when it hit me. The chocolate wasn’t there to get in my way. It was there to help!
If you make a match in the center of the map, the game can’t spawn new cookies to fall from above, so instead, cookies to the upper left or upper right slide in to fill the void. The cakes are in the upper left and upper right corners, but if you make a match near the center, then they’ll have to slide at least three spaces toward the center, making them much more easy to match! Of course, this strategy won’t last forever. Random tiles falling down mean that the chocolates are going to break eventually, but if you avoid breaking them for as long as you can, then you’ve got much better odds of funneling the cakes toward the center.
This is the kind of puzzle design that I love to see. It’s asking players to think of something old in a brand new way. You can’t do this all the time or you risk tiring out your players, but a revelation like this makes players feel clever and really engages them.