The Best Puzzle Game of All Time
Or so says the Mathematics Association of America, and who are we to disagree?
You probably know of Gauntlet as a hyper-active arcadey dungeon crawl game--and Journey to Rooted Hold is, in some sense, a dungeon crawl, and there's quite a lot of combat with monsters involved. But it's turn-based--and every decision you make at every turn is vital to getting you through the current puzzle you face.
Sokoban is the classic computer puzzle game in which you have to move boxes in through a maze to specified destinations, and any single false push is likely to block your path permanently. So you have to carefully plan every move. There are levels like this in Nethack that you may have encountered, too.
Now imagine if you take this basic idea, but instead of only one action (push), you have several, so that the variety and complexity of the puzzles becomes considerably greater. And that you set it in a dungeon with monsters to slay (though slaying this is also a process of puzzle solving rather than fact action or dice rolling)--but retaining that feeling that every move you make is critical and that carefully planning is required to solve every room.
And lets say there were 350 such rooms, and that the puzzles involved had been designed and refined iteratively over literally years of development by a community of enthusiasts.
And that you overlaid on this an actual story, with humorous voice dialog...
You'd have DROD: Journey to Rooted Hold.
Caravel Games, the creators, call it a "thinking man's dungeon crawl," and that's not a bad description either.
If you prize gameplay over glitz, and are eager for a game with a style completely different from the norm--you can't go wrong with DROD.
And perhaps the best recommendation I can offer is this...
I got to the end of the demo. And I wanted to keep playing. And I knew the Caravel guys would be sending us the complete game to put up on the site in a few days, and I could keep playing after that for free.
I didn't want to wait. And, I, uh.... Paid for the full game.
Guess I'm a sap.
But hey. Try it :).
(See also DROD: King Dugan's Dungeon.)