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This Tiny Puzzler Rewires Your Brain in 15 minutes

‘PrograMaze’ will have you thinking in Puzzlescript!

Bruno Dias

Image captured courtesy of Adam Gashlin

Puzzlescript, a tiny engine for building Sokoban-inspired tile-based puzzle games, has been a constant source of bite-sized delights for a while now, but this latest one hits a whole new level of cleverness. In PrograMaze, like in a lot of tile puzzlers, you want to move an orange box onto a blue gual. The way you do this is not by directly controlling the box, but by writing a tiny computer program to control the box.

You use the equivalent of machine-language code, with a two-bit instruction set: 00 is "go left," 01 is "go right," 10 is "go up," 11 is "go down." The genius twist is that the tiny block of memory where you write your program is also the maze you have to navigate; each one or zero, each bit, is a block. And ones become impassable walls.

A lot of great puzzle games have a quality where you feel like you're getting in your own way—you come up with the obvious solution, then realize that the very pieces you placed down are what's stopping your solution from working. PrograMaze is nothing but that feeling. The only element to the puzzles is the location of the box and goal relative to each other; the difficulties and obstacles emerge organically out of trying to move from point A to point B.

PrograMaze can be played on the Puzzlescript web site.