Black Square Games
Based in Germany
Paddocks is the only digital version of a puzzle by the same name invented by Elliott Line. The game has (nearly) unlimited puzzles in four difficulties, explanatory hints, and a minimalistic style with over 25 colour palettes to choose from.
Paddocks' hint system serves two purposes. On the one hand, it gets the player unstuck when they can't see how to proceed in a puzzle. But, more importantly, it introduces the player to new methods to solve puzzles, so that the player can apply them themselves in the future. Using hints in other puzzle games can sometimes feel like cheating; the hints might simply reveal part of the puzzle's solution, using information that the player can't access themselves. The hints in Paddocks come with explanatory notes that teach players new ways to solve puzzles. As with other puzzles like Sudoku, beginners will start with a small set of methods to solve puzzles. As they get better and solve more difficult puzzles, their set of methods expands. The hints in Paddocks are written to introduce players to new methods gradually.
Paddocks is a paid mobile game. It is hard to sell mobile games in a market full of free, ad-monetized apps. But the distractions that come with ads are not compatible with the experience I want players to have in the game. Instead, a demo version of Paddocks will be available as a so-called Instant App. This version contains the tutorial, as well as a small number of puzzles. It gives players a way to test the game with the intended experience (that is, no distractions through ads), before committing to pay for it.
- Unlimited puzzles. The app ships with 200 puzzles, and more will be generated as you play.
- Four difficulty levels, to fit your hunger for a challenge.
- Distraction-free puzzling. No ads, no in-app purchases. Just you and the puzzle.
- Starts up super fast, and works off-line. Perfect for a quick game on your commute.
- Contextual hints that explain themselves.
- Choose from more than two dozen colour palettes.
In May 2017, Elliott Line originally published Paddocks as a puzzle you'd play with pen and paper. I found them through this Guardian article. The puzzles were satisfying, challenging, and addictive, and after a couple of hours I had solved all the Paddocks puzzles that existed at that time. So naturally, I started writing a generator that would generate more puzzles for me.
It didn't take long until that generator became interactive, allowing me to solve the puzzles on my screen, instead of using pen and paper. A game was born.
A couple of days later I got in touch with Elliott. The puzzle was his invention, after all, and I wanted his approval before publishing anything about the game. To this day, I am grateful that Elliott was so open-minded about the idea to turn Paddocks into a game. Around that time I also contributed a couple of puzzles to Elliott's Paddocks book.
A lengthy hiatus followed in which I didn't work on the game. Eventually, I showed Paddocks to my partner. She loves puzzles, and her passion for the game was what motivated me to pick up development again in late 2018.
Since then, the game evolved from a rough prototype to a proper Android app.
Early Access Trailer YouTube
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About Black Square Games
Black Square Games is an independent games studio based in Germany.