Ambivalist Recommends - Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe

Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe is a new, fast-paced, third person puzzle game from Andrew Morrish (Super Puzzle Platformer, The Heart Is Safe, Astar) and Adult Swim Games (Super House of Dead Ninjas, Amateur Surgeon).

By Tony Walter | May 31, 2013

Welcome to Ambivalist Recommends, a new regular feature. Ambivalist Recommends will be a place for me to showcase some of the smaller, cheaper, less time-consuming games that I feel deserve attention. This isn't to say that these games are any less significant than the larger games I cover, but rather that they are the type often overlooked by the general audience. This is a place for me to make an attempt at giving these titles the attention they deserve. As the title suggests, this feature is going to be more about me showing off a game than it will be about analysis. This doesn't mean a game is necessarily excluded from future analysis, or vise versa. Simply put, these are good, cheap or free games that I think you should play. The regularity of this feature depends on of a couple of things. First of all, how frequent I'm coming across the types of games that I feel should make the feature. Secondly, and more importantly, comes from you; give me feedback. If you play the game I recommend, comment and let me know what you think. If you have a suggestion of a game that you think would fit in this feature, let me know.

For the inaugural edition of Ambivalist Recommends, I've picked a game that has got its hooks in me in a way no other game has this year. In fact, as I write this I'm fighting the urge to load it up. Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe is relatively simple in concept. It's a color-match puzzle game with dropping blocks. It has the basic risk-reward structure of trying to match as many similarly colored blocks together before cashing in. The twist here is that it's controlled like a side scrolling shooter.

Each round begins slowly, but quickly the screen will fill with blocks and other dangers.
You control the hero much like you'd expect to in an older arcade shooter. Match three similarly colored blocks and shoot one a few times to cash them in. Or, keep them around and attempt to cash in a larger combination. The game becomes rather hectic when you're literally cashing in the ground which is keeping you alive. Cash in enough blocks, and your hero will earn weapon upgrades for more efficient block blasting.

Blowing up sets of blocks earns these coins. Collecting the coins unlocks upgrades. Bigger combinations nets more coins.
The upgrades also serve as your character's health. The more upgrades you have, the more mistakes you can make before failing the puzzle. If a block falls on your character, your upgrade progress will fall. If it falls too much, you'll revert a level losing the weapon upgrade. Continue losing upgrades, and you'll fail. Although, falling into the spikes or taking a hit from one the game's devious traps (cannons, chainsaws), will end your run immediately. The game manages to balance the hectic nature of both precision based platformers and puzzle games, without sacrificing the skill set. You'll need to think quickly to survive, and you'll need to be strategic if you want to net large point totals.

My biggest complaint is that this game is only available to play on PC. I would love to take it with me on 3DS or another mobile device.
There is much incentive to climb the leader boards too. The game has several unlockable heroes, each with unique weapons and abilities (e.g.: a ninja character that can double jump, but throws shurikens which are slower and weaker than bullets). As you progress, you'll also unlock new stages to play in, each getting progressively more difficult than the last. And finally, challenge stages. The challenge stages will ask you to master a specific skill set that might not necessarily make itself apparent in the main game. This works as both a way to better yourself for higher scores, and an interesting change of pace from the normal puzzles. For instance, one of the first challenge stages unlocked asks the player to survive several spike blocks falling. You'll quickly discover that you can run across the tops of the spike blocks, so long as you aren't landing on them after a jump. I've still yet to beat the first stage, but it's proving to be addicting, even in my failure.

Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe also offers a split screen mode, and supports Steam Big Picture. While I'd prefer to just run the game from XBLA or PSN - and yes, I'd happily buy it a second time - the idea of a versus mode is pretty appealing, specifically split screen.

This is one of those rare games that I can actually admit I'm addicted to. It's very rare that a game hits the right pacing and delivers on the right incentives to really get me going back again and again. Even rarer, a game getting me to openly admit I would buy another copy if it meant I could play it on the go, or have easier access to the multiplayer mode. Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe is cheap too, ringing in at just under eight dollars on Steam. I can't recommend the game enough, do yourself a favor and drop a few bucks for it.


  1. As soon as i get payed i will check it out. The concept sounds interesting. I'm a huge fab of the adult swim games. Hopefully this will deliver as well!

    1. There's a free, flash version of the game, too. I believe it's Super Puzzle Platformer Pro, but I might have that wrong. You can find it with a Google search, I'm sure. If you want to try that out before buying the full game. I haven't played the flash game though, so I'm not sure how similar it is.