As a child I was very interested in space and movies/series like Stars Wars, Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica (as an adult, I still am). When you develop a game it is not necessary that the theme interests you. But it does help. A story line that often comes back in these films, is that of a flight between asteroids. It’s the Sci-Fi equivalent of a car chase.
SPACE AND BEYOND
I always love to work on sliding puzzles. I already made several including Temple Trap, Titanic, Chicken Shuffle and the new Squirrels Go Nuts. What attracts me in sliding puzzles is that you can’t make mistakes when you play. Like any sequential puzzle these games are 4D and not 3D, because you have to think in time (sequences) and not only in space.
In Asteroid Escape there are 8 puzzle pieces. The movement of the puzzle pieces is seriously limited because some parts of the spaceship and asteroids overlap other pieces. So although the puzzle only uses a 3x3 orthogonal grid, it is absolutely not so simple. The hardest puzzles require more than 100 moves (any Rubrics Cube can be solved in 21 moves or less, to give you an idea).
The solution always shows an arrow with the direction you have to slide the next puzzle piece. There is always just 1 piece that can slide in that direction at that point, so there is no need to indicate which piece you need to move. But to give you a reference, every time you need to slide the puzzle piece with the space ship, I made the arrow grey instead of black.
The object of the game is to slide the puzzle pieces around (without tilting the puzzle pieces), until you can slide the puzzle piece with the space ship through the opening in the middle of the game board.
Underneath the wings of the space ship there are laser cannons. They look cool, but their main function is to prevent movements that are not allowed by the rules. We needed to make 4 prototypes of this spaceship before we got the bottom side right. All other versions allowed movements that were not intended or created confusing situations.
The puzzle piece with the space ship is the only on that can be slit off the grid, because it’s the only one with cutouts at the bottom side. Some puzzle pieces show “stars”. Their function is to help you during setup with the right position and orientation of every puzzle piece. For the same reason some asteroids have a different color than others. If you can’t solve a challenge that is supposed to be easy, please double check if all pieces were placed in the right orientation during the setup.
example of an expert challenge/solution of Asteroid Escape with 36 moves
GAME RULES ASTEROID ESCAPE
1) Select a challenge. Place the 8 puzzle pieces on the game board as indicated. Pay attention to the exact orientation of each puzzle piece!
2) Slide the puzzle pieces, one by one, so that the spaceship can move through an open path on the game board:
- All puzzle pieces must remain horizontal on the game board! Tilting or lifting up pieces is not allowed.
- Sometimes asteroids will overlap empty parts of other puzzle pieces or the border of the game board. But asteroids can never overlap other asteroids!
- The spaceship can also overlap empty parts of puzzle pieces and the border. But the spaceship can never overlap asteroids.
- Only the spaceship can slide off the game board.
3) You have found a solution when you can slide the spaceship through the opening of the game board. The shortest solution is shown at the end of the challenge booklet.
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