Follow TV Tropes


Puzzle Pan

Go To

As technology has grown more sophisticated, video game puzzles have become increasingly complicated. This is true regardless of genre: These days, platforming puzzles tend to involve the player character running up a wall, performing a backflip, grabbing a strategically placed rod, swinging two or three times to gain momentum, yada yada yada, driving a motorcycle over a pool full of dolphins.

This can be hard for a player to figure out, so the game's camera will frequently pan around the screen, silently tracing the correct route. This tracing the puzzle route with the game's camera is the Puzzle Pan. It's up to the player to actually take it. As noted, this isn't restricted to platforming puzzles. The solutions to more "mundane" puzzles will also be indicated by a strategic camera zoom.

This is a more sophisticated form of Notice This.


    open/close all folders 

    Action Adventure 
  • The Legend of Zelda, particularly in the 3D games. However, Breath of the Wild is rather light on it due to the effort to distance itself from the handholding of its immediate predecessors. To compensate, puzzle elements are generally in plain view with no need to move the camera around.
  • Tomb Raider
  • The LEGO Adaptation Game Series
  • Ōkami and Ōkamiden
  • Watch_Dogs: Not exactly a puzzle, but one of the missions has the camera pan to a ramp which, if you decide to drive off of, lands you on some elevated tracks that you can cruise along and escape the police cars after you much more easily.

    Action RPG 
  • Kingdom Hearts, in the race at the start of the game.
  • Avalon Code likes this as well. at one point, what it shows is actually the 'hard way', though.

    Casual Game 
  • Before a level in Plants vs. Zombies, the camera pans right, and you see a mix of zombies representing what types you'll likely see next round, which helps the player decide what plants to pick. Of course, this includes zombies who are making their first appearance, you'll have to find out how to take them out on your own.

    Platform Game 
  • American McGee's Alice inverts this at one point. Right after the camera finishes panning over a new area, the Cheshire Cat makes a comment to the effect of "... the proper way of things is a mystery to me. You, too?" The very fact that the camera has stopped moving (and that the Cat's comments have been of dubious sanity and mixed value thus far) keeps you from noticing that the Cat's eyes are pointing out the pattern you need to follow.
  • While not specifically a puzzle, The Monk Temple in Jak 3 has a specific puzzle pan shot in a large barrel-shaped bowl to show the player where to go (up), as playtesters were often confused as to where to go next before it was put in.
  • Most levels in Heavenly Bodies start with a couple black-and-white shots of the terrain you'll be navigating to give you time to think about how you'll get around.

    Puzzle Game 
  • The Irritating Maze pans across each level before it starts, though only to show off the more inventive hazards since the correct route is almost never ambiguous.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • The Assassin's Creed series makes extensive use of this technique, especially in the crypt/vault/tomb sequences where the game emphasizes rapid and precise platforming more than murder. It can go too far, though, such as when the camera pans across to a jump you're supposed to make, but also throws off your aim because the directional controls are relative to the camera, not the character.

    Strategy RPG 
  • Wild ARMs XF, though technically neither a puzzler nor a platformer, is really a puzzle game masquerading as a strategy RPG. It gives you an overview of each battlefield before you attempt it, often with some helpful hints from your resident strategist (though these get useless very quickly).