I Wanna Ponder

Creator: Kurath

Average Rating
9.9 / 10
Average Difficulty
71.4 / 100
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Tags:

Gimmick (1) Long (1) Puzzle (6) Freedom (1) Customization (1) Galaxy_Brain (1) Tower_Defense (1)

Screenshots

  • by YouCanNotKnow
  • by Wolfiexe
  • by YouCanNotKnow
  • by YouCanNotKnow
  • by Wolfiexe
  • by Wolfiexe
  • by Kcafe

Creator's Comments:

kurath [Creator]
This is a puzzle-heavy game with 10 styles of puzzles with 10 puzzles each of quickly escalating difficulty. The focus is on presenting the player with all information and having them solve puzzles in a logical fashion, integrating a variety of classic puzzle concepts with traditional Fangame platforming.

The platforming difficulty rarely goes above about 40 but the puzzle difficulty will vary by player. Due to this, this game may be very difficult to 100% and it is not recommended to go for it unless you enjoy every puzzle type, but instead focus on the ones that do interest you. View the readme for more information regarding music and visual customization.

Current version is 1.04

Contact me via discord at Kurath#6671 with any questions or comments.

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Tagged as: Puzzle Tower_Defense
[3] Likes
Rating: N/A       Difficulty: N/A
Jul 7, 2018

21 Reviews:

Quof
About as perfect as you can get for a puzzle game. Insane production value and just solid design on all fronts, with every puzzle mechanic being conveyed to the player with perfect clarity and effective tutorials (though the Despike puzzle set in particular was too hard to understand I think.) The puzzles, then, are very fair and never did I feel that I got stuck due to not understanding something or because something wasn't clear enough. The information is all there, as Kurath puts it in his creator comment, and it works.

The variety on display here is off the rails, too. Ten different puzzle sets with their own completely unique mechanics and ideas. It basically feels like there's 10 games in here, to say nothing of the bonus minigames. The puzzles themselves are executed well, and after the initial tutorial puzzle (sometimes tricky in their own right), things just ramp up in cleverness and difficulty. It's here where I will address the elephant in the room. Most reviewers here have elected to not give this game a difficulty rating, and I respect that. This game is indeed so far removed from classic fangame difficulty that the difficulty rating doesn't necessarily apply to this game as it does to others. However, I think it's safe to say that this is a very hard game. The puzzles in it are no joke. By stage 6 a puzzle set is getting hard, and beyond that is a wild land of fuckhard puzzles as it were. I believe the vast majority of players will find themselves stuck and unable to complete the game at some point, which is perfectly fine and reasonable for a puzzle game. However, a hard game deserves a hard rating, I feel, so I am electing to give this game a difficulty rating to reflect how it is (in my opinion) very hard and that others would do well to know that it is quite a hard game.

Well, enough with that rant. Beyond just the puzzles, well-designed and clever as they are, the game itself is just nice. There's a lot of quality of life options that really make this game go from great to super great. There's a ton of different tilesets you can select from, and you can even make the game randomly cycle through a personalized selection, which goes a long way (were it all manual, one would end up forgetting about the tilesets and sticking to just one a lot of the time). Madeline as a selectable character is fantastic, especially the customized death animation/sound effect. The music selection and choice to fashion it as a sort of Kurath radio without each puzzle room having its own theme is fantastic. The minigames are sweet and Tower Defense could be its own game. There's just a lot of effort put into basic presentation on every level, with there being a cute little spike animation when you select something on the main menu. This isn't just a good puzzle game, it's a good game in general. Like I said at the start, this is about as perfect as you can get for a puzzle game. Any complaints I have are just minor nitpicks that aren't actual meaningful flaws with the game (for instance, I play fangames on controller, and find using the mouse so much pretty uncomfy). Kurath knocks it out of the park again, but I feel like Ocean Princess will prove to be the more popular of his games, as its much more in line with what most fangamers want to play. Indeed, despite my rave review of this game, I beat Ocean Princess but will likely never beat this one beyond level 7 for most of the puzzle sets, as the puzzles are just outside of comfort zone. Perhaps this is a better "game" than it is a "fangame", but its heart of hearts is still unwaveringly connected to fangames in beautiful way that can not and should be changed, though the result is a fangame that while stunning in quality is not like to be oft completed. This is a game many will surely just admire from afar after tinkering with it for a bit, as I have.

Wait, I actually just checked the music player and guy rock isn't in it. I take all that back. This is basically unplayable until Kurath adds Guy Rock to the radio. Wait for a patch before picking it up.

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[6] Likes
Rating: 10.0 100       Difficulty: 80 80
Jul 10, 2018
Wolfiexe
Ponder is about as close to perfect as I can imagine when it comes to a fangame puzzle game. In fact, disregarding fangames in general, it's still an amazing puzzle game, and one that consists of a whole array of features and different puzzles types to test your thinking and get the head gears rolling. Also, it's probably worth mentioning that this review score is based on the 100% clear of the game, which definitely sets a high bar of difficulty for later puzzles.

The game consists of 100 main puzzles, which are separated into 10 stages, each being a completely different puzzle type. I'm going to cover each puzzle type individually in its own respective paragraph, but to summarise them it ranges from rotating block puzzles to laser-building and even sudoku challenges. Each puzzle starts off simple and introduces the concept, before delving deep into the mechanics and possibilities, and by the time you beat the 10th level of any respective puzzle you'll probably feel like you've gained some IQ.

So, let's get on with the puzzle breakdown!

Blocks - This puzzle features you filling a select area with different shapes to ensure no empty spaces are left behind. The blocks you fill it with will form the platforming, and figuring out not only how to slot it all together, but how to slot it together with platforming that feels reasonable and/or doable adds another layer of challenge and logic. The levels certainly got very challenging towards the end, although the in-game hints will provide a great deal of help in terms of knowing where to start, a couple of which I feel are invaluable. A very fun puzzle and not too complicated in terms of the basic concept.

Pathing - A series of warps are placed on a screen, and your task is to connect each warp with another, leaving behind a solid trail behind you. This was probably the easiest puzzle type in the game, with a lot of possibilities and freedom left behind in even some of the later levels. I ended up skipping a couple of parts such as a sizeable portion of Pathing 10 by using the solid trail in a particular way, although it didn't feel so much like an exploit and more like using the mechanic to create my own little interesting solution. The additions to the puzzle such as coloured warps and making the trail mandatory to reach other warps was a very welcome concept, and was a particularly fun and stress-free one.

Sequence - A collection of coloured blocks are placed in a room, and they must be stepped on in a particular colour order. This was a great collection of puzzles, and figuring out the best possible route to go was very satisfying when the correct path fell into place. Again, the inclusion of the skip and loop blocks made things very interesting, and Sequence 8 in particular was especially galaxy brain. With careful planning, one could probably solve any level here just by careful analysis and planning out a path from the beginning, but I had a lot more fun just diving it and fixing my way later on.

Botkid - Definitely one of the most unique puzzles I've seen in a fangame. You essentially are giving the Kid defined commands (if he touches a spike -> turn away, if he reaches a ledge -> walk off etc.) and after placing some objects here and there, you sit back and watch your magic unfold. Some of the creations you can conjure up whilst still solving the level are very amusing, and whilst I expected the kid "programming" mechanic to get a bit too complicated, it never really did. Most of the difficulty came from planning out careful placement of the objects provided, and thankfully due to the speedup element, it never got too tedious to try out new placements or arrangements. Botkid 9 ended up being one of the more intimidating ones just because the layout had so much room for freedom, although thankfully I stumbled into a very nice path by the end.

Rotation - A puzzle in which you rotate the room clockwise, anti-clockwise or 180° in order to remove (or re-arrange) certain blocks from the room. This felt like an interesting take on block puzzles which appear so prominently in fangames. Rotation 10 in particular ended up being one of the last puzzles in the game I completed, and once I realised how to go about solving it I was very satisfied. Thinking backwards works very well for this stage in particular, and like the other puzzles the addition of new mechanics such as the numbered blocks or limited rotations kept it interesting throughout. I did feel like I abused the push-block slightly on Rotation 8 by wedging in-between the push-block and a spike to just edge it away, although it still made for a satisfying solution (of which there are likely multiple throughout).

Kidamari - A simple concept. You stick yourself to other Kids in order to form some sort of Lovecraftian monster, one which is still capable of making it to the warp without the level layout getting in the way. This was a super fun puzzle and made for a lot of eureka moments when I realised a new shape or order I could try attaching myself, with Kidamari 8 having one of my favourite realisations on the right-hand side. Some jumps end up feeling a little bit finicky, and I wasn't quite sure if I just had the shape wrong or if the jump I was attempting was just naturally quite challenging. Regardless, definitely one of the more unique puzzles in the game alongside Botkid.

Despike - This one has gained quite a reputation for being complicated or hard to understand, and it can be a bit tricky at first. The simple explanation is that you select two squares to create a box around on the grid, and any spikes inside that box will be flipped either on or off. The aim is to turn all the spikes off by the end of your turn count. Getting used to this definitely took some figuring out, and for the first 5 levels I was still quite perplexed not necessarily as to what to do, but rather how to logically figure out a good first step. It definitely comes more naturally though with some practice, and by the end I was flying through Despike 8, 9 and 10 with surprising ease as I had a good logic pattern to work with. Definitely one of the more challenging puzzles in the game but a rewarding one too.

Sudoku - Not the low quality kind. Each level consists of a traditional Sudoku-style puzzle, most of which can be solved or at least partially logicised with Sudoku strats or just simple process-of-elimination techniques. The numbers put into the puzzle will create the platforming for you, similar to the Blocks puzzle. It also works similarly in that you can make a fair amount of deductions based on whether or not certain numbers would make the path forward possible or not, making for some very satisfying conclusions. Sudoku 10 is quite a doozy though, and will take a good deal of logic in both normal and fangame-terms.

Lasers - This was my personal hardest puzzle in the game. You're given a selection of three items, each with its own purpose, and your job is to place them in the correct spots to bounce and reflect the coloured lasers into the right gates. It starts off fairly simple once you wrap your head around the item uses, and there are some really pretty looking solutions. Lasers 6 and especially 8 and 10 all gave me a fair amount of trouble though, being some of the last puzzles in the game I completed. The solutions always ended up being a sort of "ahhhh of course" sort of moment, and it does take some thinking outside of the box to come up with these solutions. The in-game hints again are quite invaluable here. Worth noting too that to my knowledge, Lasers 10 has at LEAST 4 different solutions, of which mine felt very...questionable. Ultimately my hardest puzzle type in the game, although incredible satisfying to watch fall into place.

Matching - The 10th puzzle, and also one of my favourites! You're given a series of small rooms, and must match two of them together in which you can do the same inputs to lead both kids to victory. The concept is really interesting, and the design to make it possible must've required a great deal of thought. It becomes even more interesting when modifiers are thrown into the equation, and you're trying to deduce which rooms can be possible with which modifiers. It became a great logic puzzle that made for some very memorable solutions. Matching 10 in particular remains one of my favourite puzzles in the entire game.

So yeah, there's a lot of puzzles.

In addition to the 10 main puzzle types, there's also a few bonus modes. One is a Chess Avoidance which lets you set the pace as you play, giving you three minutes and three lives to make it through as many moves as you can. You get a medal for reaching 60 points and I must've died on 59 points at least 3 times which...yeah. Very fun little minigame though. There's also a customizable maze-mode for you labyrinth fanatics out there, and my personal favourite bonus, the Tower Defense! This is a 50 wave TD with a whole range of towers, upgrades and possibilities for you to optimize a build and see if you can make it past hordes of memorable fangames characters and bosses. I must've spent at least 7 hours perfecting this and getting a no-leak run, which I had a great deal of fun with. For a bonus mode, it's pretty crazy seeing as how it could easily be its own game.

In terms of extra stuff, there's a whole range of unlockable skins and characters for you to save up for. Each puzzle you beat earns you 1 point, with most stage skins costing around 3-5 points. You can even toggle the ones you like and it'll pick a random one each time you load up a puzzle! There's also a music radio system where the game cycles through a wide variety of puzzle-suited music, perfecting the atmosphere, and as if that wasn't enough there's even a copyright tag on the songs most likely to get picked up on stream, if you're worried about muted VoDs on Twitch or whatever.

For a puzzle fangame I can't think of anything more refined, polished and just well made. I had a blast with just about every puzzle in this game, and Kurath has a real knack for making them. Even if you're not a big puzzle fan, your time would be well spent checking this out and seeing what it has to offer. There's a puzzle in here for everyone!

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Tagged as: Puzzle Galaxy_Brain
[5] Likes
Rating: 10.0 100       Difficulty: 80 80
Sep 5, 2018
lunarcat
DONT MAKE YOUR JUMP BUTTON TO Z !!!
IT WILL MAKE THE GAME ALMOST UNPLAYEBLE

TO MAKE THE GAME PLAYABLE GO TO THE TO THE LOCAL FILE IN APPDATA IN YOUR PC AND DELETE THE SAVE FILE

FIX THIS PROBLEM PLEASE

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[5] Likes
Rating: 10.0 100       Difficulty: 80 80
Jul 12, 2018
Taprus
A really nice puzzle game with a bunch of different types of puzzles that are overall either really fun to solve, make absolutely no fucking sense even after having them explained (despike) or mechanics that are just so deep that I feel like I need to be a supercomputer to even try to solve without bruteforce (lasers and matching).
However the other puzzles (which are what im basing my rating out of) were really fun and made me feel like smart boy, so yeah! Not being forced to do everything is nice.
Id reccomend it unless you are a hardcore completionist. Good game!

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Tagged as: Long Puzzle
[3] Likes
Rating: 9.0 90       Difficulty: 75 75
Jul 14, 2018
Mrzwanzig
Stellar production, music playlist is a great idea, yadda yadda Kurath is god, you know all that. I want to talk about the stages in detail.

Blocks is a good one to start with, as it's fairly straightforward. Fill the space with the puzzle pieces and platform through it. Out of all stages, this is probably the one where the hints system is the most useful. In most stages it would tend to tell me stuff I'd already figured out, but here it can be crucial to help guide your first moves. It's also nice how the stage mixes it up with a few levels where you get several generically shaped blocks and the challenge is entirely in creating possible platforming rather than fitting them in. Mostly not too difficult, but Blocks 6 is a monster.

Pathing has the goal of connecting all the warps in sets of two, leaving a solid trail behind you with every set. The trail can be helpful in creating platforms, but also an obstacle you have to work around. It's one of the most free-form levels, so multiple solutions are usually possible, some more janky than others. One of the easier stages for sure.

Sequence sees you jumping around various coloured blocks in the correct order (or sequence if you will). Since there are usually only a few blocks of any given colour on the screen, with not all of them being in reach, your options are limited enough that you'll usually stumble on the right path before too long. It still feels challenging enough to be satisfying though, and levels 5 and 8 have more blocks packed closely together, expanding your options and making them the more difficult ones.

Botkid is the only stage that requires no platforming chops whatsoever of the player, as all the heavy lifting is done by the kids. You add objects to their environment and program their responses to obstacles. It strikes a great balance between simplicity and complexity, and you are free to come up with lots of interesting paths for the kids to take, turning them into needle gods if you so desire. My only real gripe is with Botkid 10, where one of the kids has to fall into a gap with a rather precise angle in order to get everything to line up, so several solutions that I feel like should have worked just barely didn't, which got pretty frustrating. Other than that, great stage.

Rotation gives you buttons to rotate the screen and tasks you to use this to move various blocks to their intended destinations. It's simple in concept, and not too many twists are introduced to complicate it, so the challenge is mostly in the large number of steps that are required to solve the later levels. Rotation 10 in particular is the longest level in the entire game (so much so that when Kurath helpfully sent me his solutions when I became interested in speedruns, this is the only level that he hadn't written one for). Luckily these long levels don't become frustrating as you get a save on every move you make, and you can quickly undo them as well. This is something I want to really commend the game in general for: it doesn't want the challenge to be about platforming consistency, so it almost never wastes your time having to redo parts of the solution you already did.

Kidamari has you picking up other kids around the screen to unlock the warp, with each one expanding your hitbox to add a new dimension to the platforming. I had trouble initially grasping the helpful technique of creating a "hook" to reach high platforms, but once I got that the stage became very fun. Checking what hitboxes are needed to reach certain kids and the warp will usually be the main way to guide you through this stage. Ultimately probably one of the easier stages, but a very memorable one.

Despike is a doozy. The screen is a grid of squares that have on/off states, as well as being either red or blue. You get a predetermined limited sequence of moves that will toggle either the red, blue or both. Basically, you're looking for a series of rectangles that overlap in just the right way to serve your goal. It sounds complicated, and it is, but honestly it didn't take me TOO long to get the hang of the concept. Understanding the rules is one thing though, solving the puzzles quite another, and these puzzles are HARD. Your mileage will vary of course, but starting from Despike 4 there were a few puzzles that took me hours of staring at them before the solution dawned on me. It never felt unreasonable though, I just didn't have the eye for it, and figuring it out was always very satisfying.

Sudoku is similar to Blocks, just with sudoku puzzles instead of jigsaw puzzles. The sudoku "numbers" represent various block and spike arrangements, and as with Blocks there will be times when your platforming path must be taken into consideration as part of the puzzle. Some of these can be quite challenging, so the ability to toggle a grid with numbers is extremely appreciated.

Lasers is your obligatory "redirect the light beams" puzzle that any puzzle game worth its salt has to include. You get a limited number of 3 different mirrors that you must place in order to guide the lasers to their targets. Not much to say, you probably know what to expect with this. It's well done, and one of the more challenging stages.

Matching is a really clever idea where you have to divide a number of screens into sets of two that you can get through with the same inputs, with additional gimmicks like flipping the screen and low gravity being introduced along the way. If Despike has the hardest puzzles, this has the hardest platforming (and also pretty hard puzzles). Lots of potential for janky solutions here, and even the intended solutions occasionally veer in that direction. Getting stuck against a wall safely in one screen while you get through the other is often a viable tactic. Great stage to end on.

The bonus challenges are also great. Chess avoidance might be my favourite part of the game, and the tower defense is impressively detailed for a bonus challenge.

Kurath says in his comment for this game that "The focus is on presenting the player with all information and having them solve puzzles in a logical fashion". I think he absolutely succeeded in this goal. I'm never a fan of puzzle games where the puzzle is in figuring out how it works, or in trying random crap to get a response. The puzzles in this game always feel fair, fun and rewarding, and it comes in such a polished package that everyone with an interest in puzzles owes it to themselves to check it out.

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[2] Likes
Rating: 10.0 100       Difficulty: 65 65
Jun 9, 2019