There’s an issue with puzzle games in that things can go very wrong very fast. You pick one up thinking you’ll test your mental mettle and enjoy a few successes to boost your confidence. Then it slowly builds into some trickier problems until you get to the one that breaks you and makes you want to break the game. Puzzle games cause their fair share of rage yet you don’t see many viral videos about that. The reason for this is that puzzles are something we prefer to do alone with the right conditions, ideally peace and quiet. Itch is a good place to search for such games.
Itching to Play is a recurring series that covers upcoming and ongoing indie games found on the itch.io website.
So when a puzzle game comes along that is both peaceful, quiet, and not frustrating, it’s too good to be true. We may have found this magic title in Sizeable, an isometric 3D puzzle game. We had the chance to sit down with Sander Ambroos, one of the lead designers, to get his take on the experience.
What Is Sizeable?
Sizeable came out in March but continues to grow with new content having just been added. The game takes place against various backdrops that take nature, culture, and history into account. It also takes inspiration from the real world as well as games that share similar mechanics. Ambroos, describes how much of it came from a desire to combine exploration with puzzle solving.
"I looked to games like Firewatch, Monument Valley, and The Witness as points of inspiration. I also focused a lot on the idea of objects interacting with each other," said Ambroos—and that is exactly what you do. In Sizeable, you manipulate and resize different assets in order to find mystical fuses to plug into the ground. After doing this, you zoom to the next destination to do it all again. It’s simple, interesting, relaxing, and satisfying to do.
What Can You Expect?
From the presentation, you can take a pretty good guess at how Sizeable will progress. You’ll go from Spring to Winter, from the mountains to the ocean, and see a lot of creatures along the way. With so much to see, Ambroos had a lot to talk about. Though, what he says he's most proud of is that, "the game does what it was designed to do."
"I meant for it to be a small relaxing filler game that players can return to whenever they want," Ambroos said. Sizeable was designed this way so that players, "can see what every level has to offer." It’s a zero-pressure game that can linger for hours as you slip into comfort while at the same time it keeps your mind active.
What’s In It for the Players?
We play games for many reasons, one of which is to have fun. But Sizeable goes further by offering a challenge without exhausting the player. Regardless of our reason, we want to have a good experience, and Sizeable is a good experience.
"Some puzzle games make you feel exhausted, and I didn’t want Sizeable to be like that and made it so that players will have a relaxed and happy time with it," Ambroos said. It’s a game that’s both short and sweet like an afternoon coffee break with soft violin music filling the air. However, there are clear plans to add more instruments as Ambroos aims to "keep updating Sizeable."
What’s Coming Next?
Sizeable definitely feels like a game that is asking for designers to build on. It’s like a house of cards where each floor is made of cards from different decks. The most recent update covers the Wonders of the World which appeals to our desire to travel in this age of lockdown. From this, Ambroos has said that he plans to keep designing and updating Sizeable with more content.
"As the game grows, we're going to expand the concept so that we can pursue bigger ideas and avoid blandness," he said. If Wonders of the World was the most recent, perhaps we can expect things like Natural Wonders or iconic Film Sets to come down the line.
Why Should You Play Sizeable?
There are plenty of reasons to play Sizeable and the main one is that it’s relaxing. Yes, it’s a puzzle game that is made with comfort in mind. Ambroos himself recommends playing the game if you need some sort of relief. If you don’t have a lot of time due to work or other circumstances and need something to relax to in these stressful times, play Sizeable. We likened the game to a break earlier, but you can also see it as a vacation. Games allow us to easily escape into realms of fantasy no matter how realistic they may look. With Sizeable, you escape to a number of small, idyllic spots where you can take your time looking around and enjoying the view. When you decide to solve the puzzle, you’ll see how everything works in harmony with each other from place to place.
Sizeable is an isometric puzzle game with both environmental and exploration elements. It’s currently available on Steam, and Ambroos is talking with his team about maybe making it mobile. As it stands, it’s a small and chill game that breaks into levels which aim to cover all the splendor of nature. And now, with the Wonders of the World update, we’ll be able to travel around the globe in peace and comfort. Each level has its own rules and relations that it’s fun to see how everything works in tandem like a virtual ecosystem.
It’s a puzzle game that anyone can pick up and quickly master with the challenge coming from figuring out how each ecosystem functions. Here’s a gameplay tip: If the object is separate and distinct, then chances are you can mess with its mass. After talking with Ambroos, we’re confident that we can expect more in the future that will help the game grow and expand. If you’re looking for an engaging break, try this on for size...able.