Casual Connect: Puzzle Retreat coming to Windows Phone 8

A couple of days ago we promised you lots of gaming coverage from the Casual Connect event in San Francisco. Well, my schedule has been overstuffed with meetings (including some I didn’t list in the previous article!), but we’re going to start getting some of those articles up today. First up is our video interview with Sam Wong from the Voxel Agents, an indie game studio located in Melbourne (pronounced “Mel-bin” for some reason), Australia.

The Voxel Agents have created a surprisingly clever and unique puzzle game called Puzzle Retreat. I say surprising because there are so many puzzle games out there, it seems like every possible concept has been done to death. So if I’m interested in a puzzler, it might possibly be a game worth noticing. Making Puzzle Retreat even more worthy of notice, the game is coming to Windows Phone 8 later this year!

Puzzle Retreat’s gameplay concept is deceptively simple. Each level has a hand-crafted pattern of empty holes that the player must fill with Play-Doh, I mean blocks. It takes no time at all to learn the controls; just touch a block and slide it up, down, left, or right. Once the block lands in a hole, it can’t be removed. Successfully fill all the holes and you win the level.

Things get more complicated before long though. Players will encounter blocks that split into multiple pieces when moved, allowing them to fill up a whole line of holes. Fire blocks will melt ice blocks; arrow blocks will change the direction of blocks that pass over them; and lots more. The most recent level pack introduces bonsai seedlings that grow into full mini-trees when watered by ice blocks. Other blocks can’t pass through trees, so you’ll need to think carefully before allowing one to mature.

Iterative design

Puzzle Retreat for iOS coming to Windows Phone

iOS screens

A puzzle game doesn’t end up playing as intuitively or cleverly as Puzzle Retreat just by chance. As Sam explains in the video, the Voxel Agents took a uniquely iterative approach to the game’s design. They spent about six months prototyping designs, making radical changes until they found one that really worked.

To further polish the game, they braved the rampant herds of kangaroos and dingos I imagine populate every cranny of Australia in order to take to the streets and get random local players to test Puzzle Retreat. The feedback from these street-level tests allowed the Voxel Agents to polish and hone the game that we’ll soon be playing on our phones.

Now that’s gonna be a puzzler!

The Voxel Agents makers of Puzzle Retreat logo

Sam and his team plan to release Puzzle Retreat on Windows Phone 8 by the end of the year (a Windows 8 version is possible as well). Check out the video to learn what convinced them to jump onboard the mobile Windows ecosystem.

The game will launch with 60 free puzzles for players to enjoy. Additional level packs will cost 99 cents each. Puzzle fans won’t want to miss it. We’ll have more Puzzle Retreat news in the months to come, so stay tuned!

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • Awesome. Now that's what I'm talking about.
  • AAAAAAAA, puzzle games schmuzzle games
  • @Paul, I for one and think many more people, don't care about games still in the 'plan to release' fase.Actually I find it annoying because, seeing a game I never heard of, perhaps want to play now, but can't play yet. Like holding something nice, but we can't touch it yet ;)  Also please, when possible, show a demo on a Windows tablet of Windows Phone. If the app is ready a demo is not far off.
  • All right, going forward, no more news about things coming in the future. Hoekie has spoken for all of you, so no more news about apps, games or devices unless they're available right now. Sorry folks, it was a good run, but Hoeki doesn't care about that stuff.
  • Lmao Daniel's sarcasm at its best
  • @Daniel 'I for one and think many more people' =! everybody. Games =! news.
    It's a comment to review released games - in favor - of planned games. When possible. Meant in a positive contributing way. No need to be defensive.
    I love WPCentral, all the news and appreciate all the hard work!
  • Gaming news is by definition news. If you're not interested in gaming news (for shame), just don't open articles like these.
  • Yep. Just that simple.
  • Sam had the Windows Phone version on him (it was totally ready to show off), but I took the phone right out of his hand and threw it in a trashcan. I have a very strict "only demo on iPad" policy, y'see.
  • 'it was totally ready to show off'
    Thx for the update! I would have loved to see that show off on Sam's Windows Phone.  
  • Looks like fun on the bun!
  • This is really good news. I'm playing this game right now on my Android phone and really like it. Can't wait for it to land on Windows Phone.
  • Speak for yourself pal. You sound like a spoilt brat who can't wait for Christmas
  • Great game Paul, the amount of new puzzle games on WP keeps me endlessly entertained
  • Stop this shit many puzzle games do you want.get me some news about 'subway surfers'.i am dying to play it on my Lumia.
  • cool game
  • I see iDevice chargers... What kind of sorcery is this?
    #joke, will give this a try when it's available :)
  • I'm looking for a puzzle game with a plethora of other puzzles from within. Thought originally this would be one of those games, but I guess not. Taptitude and Puzzle Craft didn't cut the cake. Any suggestions?
  • Mel-bun*
  • Or Mel-burn... But definitely not Mel-bin.
  • I didn't hear an "R" sound. But yeah, had to think about whether I'd phonetecize it as Mel-bin or Mel-bun. You can say either one the same way, really.
  • Haha, yeah. We tend to not pronounce vowels unless they are absolutely necessary (except maybe 'a'). Then just mush it all together. Just how 'good day chaps' turned into g'day maate.