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Puzzle Reset

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Screw up while doing a puzzle? Did you move the blocks the completely wrong way? Accidentally destroy the crate you needed to reach the high ledge? You're completely screwed, right?

Nope! Simply exit and reenter the room, and more than likely everything will have been restored back to its default position. Convenient, isn't it?

Particularly pragmatic developers will include a Puzzle Reset for puzzles that should be impossible to get stuck in, to avert a possible Game-Breaking Bug.

Cousin to Everything Fades and Respawning Enemies. This appears very frequently with Block Puzzles. An Acceptable Break From Reality, because it would not be that fair to make the puzzle unwinnable because the player accidentally blocked completion. Press X to Die is frequently used as an implementation of this trope.


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     Action Adventure  

  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has one puzzle (the infamous Ice Palace) that required Puzzle Reset to beat. It is so cryptic and non-obvious that the Updated Re-release replaced it entirely. That said, in the original version you can still skip the puzzle by completing a later dungeon first, giving you access to, essentially, the Cane of Puzzle Skipping.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: While the trope is usually played straight, it's interesting to note that, in this game, you cannot Puzzle Reset the Gerudo Training Grounds if you start using keys on the wrong side of the final room. However, there are enough keys to open every door, it's just that some of them are only available after you get the Silver Gauntlets, which you don't have when the Training Grounds are first accessible.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask exaggerates this with the "Groundhog Day" Loop mechanic. Every time you play the Song Of Time to go back to day one, all dungeons and side quests are completely reset, and you lose your Interchangeable Antimatter Keys as the doors are relocked, among other things.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: Block puzzles that could otherwise end up being permanently flubbed can be resetted by exiting the room or area an coming back. Such is the case of the block stacks in a room within Dragon Roost Cavern and an underground cave in Angular Isles.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass: The game's resident Mega Dungeon, the Temple of the Ocean King, must be revisited over and over. Each time, all previously-solved puzzles have reset themselves and must be redone in order to advance farther down in the dungeon. For extra difficulty, visiting the dungeon is always a Timed Mission.
  • La-Mulana goes out of its way in the manual to tell you that there are things you can screw up forever. Strangely enough for a game that proclaims its difficulty loudly, most puzzles are resettable (including the complicated Block Puzzles in Hell Temple), and you always have the option of loading a save and trying again.
  • Goof Troop makes resetting a puzzle after making a mistake just a matter of crossing back to the last screen for a moment.
  • In God of Thunder, not only can you reset a room by leaving and coming back, you can literally Press D to Die and do it right now. This rolls back everything you did since you came in, so you can also use it to undo mistakes like killing an NPC (which costs points).
  • Star Fox Adventures: The sliding-block puzzles in Walled City and Ocean Force Point Temple, specifically the ones where a simple shove sends them sliding like they're on ice, only require that a block hit a wall in order for the puzzle to reset.

     Action Game  

  • God of War takes this one step further, as you needn't even leave the room for the puzzle objects to reappear. For example, at one point early in the game you're tasked with pushing a crate past a group of archers on a higher ledge. If the enemies destroy the crate, a new one automatically appears in the original position mere seconds later.
  • A particularly weird example appeared in the Tomb Raider series—boulder traps would often reset, as if the boulder had spontaneously rolled back uphill, until they were successfully passed. And sometimes then, as well. Occasionally the opposite would happen, usually when it was least convenient.

     Adventure Game  

  • Both Another Code games let you simply back out of the puzzle with no harm done.
  • Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and Last Window both normally let you just back out to reset any puzzles. However, doing so in one puzzle in Chapter 9 of Hotel Dusk will get you a Game Over, since doing so means you're giving up on someone and failing to save their life.
  • Myst IV: Revelation is notable for having certain puzzles (such as one involving moving monkeys around trees in order to lure a carnivore, blocking your path, into a trap) which do reset, but a certain distance is needed to do so. (This is particularly ironic in light of the fact that the above puzzle clearly shows the carnivore leaving the area to follow you — and then returning to exactly the position it was in before you left.) Using Zip mode to return to the lake and then back to the observation post prompts the reset.
  • Phenomenally generously for a Sierra game, there's a section in Space Quest 5 where you have to punch holes in certain sections of a card to get it to let the correct lasers through a security lock to open it - and if you get a position wrong, the game explicitly tells you that you've messed it up and gives you the opportunity to reset it, at the cost of a few points. Of course, more traditionally, if you didn't actually pay attention to where said lasers were when you had the opportunity to look at them a while ago, you're stuffed.

     Platform Game  

  • de Blob has a strange take on it. Your color meter, as well as your color itself, are reset to how they were before you started a mission, yet nothing else is.
  • In Purple, you can find doors whose only function is for reseting a puzzle.
  • No Time to Explain has certain hazards that are utilized in small puzzles that cause you to restart entire levels if you die on them, like fire. Some spikes do this too.
  • Super Mario Maker and Super Mario Maker 2: It's common to find levels (especially puzzle levels) with doors placed side-by-side for this purpose.

     Puzzle Game  

  • The Deadly Rooms of Death series is particularly egregious, as due to its use of monsters as puzzle elements you get both Respawning Enemies and puzzle reset. (This isn't all bad, as even in the first game puzzles could require keeping enemies alive for a while.) Early in the series, this also began being exploited to create rooms which are unclearable on your first visit, requiring you to maneuver through the level to enter from the right point - and it isn't always obvious what that is. The fifth game, The Second Sky, adds seeding beacons, which allow the player to deliberately reset solved puzzles — and yes, there are levels of puzzles that interlock so that this is necessary to make progress.
  • Superliminal: There is always an option to do this when you get stuck which is located in the pause menu.


  • The Sokoban sub-level in NetHack most definitely does not reset under any circumstances. Fortunately, you don't have to finish it; you just get one of two very useful magical items if you do, plus a pile of gold. Additionally, there are several ways to "cheat" if you mess up, though each act of cheating grants you bad luck.

     Role Playing Game  

  • In the Pokémon games, this can be done while pushing boulders in caves and dungeons. One puzzle in Sylph Co requires a version of this (where mooks are sent back to their original position) to beat.
  • Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness has one puzzle that can only be solved using the reset - a crate that must be slid into one passageway to unblock another, and the only way to get through the freshly-blocked passageway is to exit and then reenter using the passageway you unblocked.
  • Puzzles in Breath of Fire III would do this.
  • Same goes for Skies of Arcadia.
  • Exception: in Secret of Evermore, if you screw up the jumping puzzle in the pyramid you have to reload and do it again. Unless you saved after screwing it up, in which case your game is now Unwinnable.
  • Vagrant Story would do this with failed and successful puzzles alike, forcing you to redo them just to get back to where you needed to be. On the plus side, it would occasionally time and rate your completion of a room on subsequent visits.
  • Lufia
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age actually has solving a puzzle depend on the room resetting when you leave. (To move a pillar needed to reach a treasure chest, you need to step on a breakable floor tile. This makes it impossible to actually GET to the treasure chest without falling through the floor and resetting the room. To get the chest you need to exit through an exit near the pillar, go back in, move it, then cross the floor tile that would be already broken if not for this trope.)
    • Another puzzle uses a lever to reset it because you can't leave the room (unless you use magic to leave the entire dungeon).
  • In Wild ARMs, where puzzle segments are heavily based on Zelda, there was an actual item to reset the room, but it was almost never used. The rooms reset if you leave them anyway. It does save the player the trouble of walking all the way back to the entrance though.
  • Shadow Hearts: Covenant has a variation - the adjustable stairs in the Neam Ruins won't reset unless you leave the dungeon entirely, which can be a hassle if you screw it up so badly that you can't get it back to the neutral position.
  • Kingdom of Loathing's lava stone puzzle parodies this — the reset is just a "swim through the lava back to shore to try again" button, and if you use it ten times, your character suddenly realizes that you can just swim to the goal that way.
  • In Undertale, several of the terrain-based puzzles can be reset by walking on the same Pressure Plate that completes it when your solution is correct. One puzzle where that doesn't apply can be reset by ringing a bell.
  • Workshop In The Ironwood Grove: If Nell tries to move a Block Puzzle boulder in an impossible way, a reset option is provided:
    The boulder can't go here.
    Retry these boulders?

     Survival Horror  

Non-video game examples:

     Fan Works  
  • Vow of Nudity: The puzzles Spectra faces in the Faewilds follow this format; if she screws up an attempt, the puzzle randomizes its elements (to prevent brute-forcing through memorization), spawns some hostile monsters, then lets her try again if she survives.

     Web Original  
  • Freddiew's Zelda Pot Smasher video illustrates perfectly the ridiculousness of how things that have been smashed into smithereens become perfectly fine when you just go out from a room and come back again.


Video Example(s):


Ice Vellumental Mountain

In case the sliding block puzzle is rendered impossible, there is a room Mario can go into to reset it.

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Example of:

Main / PuzzleReset

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