Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure had me curious at its reveal, but its clever puzzles and gorgeous art sold me so hard I've been thinking about it for months

Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure summer preview image
(Image credit: Furniture & Mattress)

From the moment it was revealed, I've had my eye on Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure from developer Furniture & Mattress. With detailed, colorful art from Braid's David Hellman to its movement-based tile puzzles, I had a feeling it would be exactly the sort of game I'd be interested in before I ever played it earlier this year. The only difference between then and now is that I no longer have that feeling: now I know for certain that Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure is my kind of game.

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While I don't really think of myself as someone that particularly enjoys puzzle games more than the next person, it has become increasingly clear that there is a very specific kind of puzzle game that really speaks to me and captures my attention. Any puzzle that plays with my perception of space or time or significantly shifts my viewpoint to arrive at its solution immediately stimulates the small places in my brain that still generate dopamine.

Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure does exactly this sort of thing. The core gameplay loop is fairly simple, at least at first: when you move the protagonist, Jemma, the world moves with her. If you move up, the vertical tiles in that column shift up one, wrapping back around to the edge of whatever map on the bottom. If you move left, then the horizontal tiles in that row shift, and so on. It's a bit like a repeating, digital Rubik's Cube laid out on a flat surface.

A different kind of RPG

Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure - Release Date trailer - YouTube Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure - Release Date trailer - YouTube
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"How can we make a puzzle game that presents itself like an adventure game and has a lot of the touchstones of adventure and RPG?" says Nick Suttner, Furniture & Mattress co-founder and writer for Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure. He points to Hellman's fondness for Nintendo's Zelda franchise as a big point of discussion.

"We talked about what we do or don't like about [it]," continues Suttner, "'cause Zelda has like an adventure and big interconnected world, and how can we bring some of the vocabulary from an adventure game into a puzzle game, yet make puzzling the way that you interact with the world and through the spaces and fight monsters and do everything."

The game's movement and exploration quickly becomes complicated by, for example, objects that don't actually move tiles or maps that require some clever shifting to wrap around to a different area. I more than once had to simply stop and eyeball everything on the screen for a minute or two before moving forward, and even then there were several instances where I just… had to move about a bunch in a haphazard fashion before getting a proper solution.

Not that I think that's Arranger's fault by any means; circumstances of playing demos at any event (Game Developers Conference, in this instance) mean any significant amount of patience is lacking. And whenever I stumbled into the correct combination of movements rather than some kind of preordained plan, it was immediately apparent why that had worked and what I could have done to get there naturally, and I'm sure the currently available Steam demo would likely feel even better by comparison.

Artful movement

Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure screenshot

(Image credit: Furniture & Mattress)

One aspect of Arranger that I found absolutely nothing but joy in is its art, which leans on Hellman's comic background. While many of the interactive objects and characters have natural limitations – they have to fit on a little square and move around – everything outside of the boards, so to speak, is also a playground for bright colors, deep shadows, and layered illustrations.

"Because the gameplay is all on a grid, and it's very straightforwardly confined to the grid and this quantized movement, the art can diverge a lot more and be very free," says Hellman. "So there's different kinds of illustrations and viewpoints incorporated, because the world doesn't have to be organized in a traditional way."

And it does feel like if there were one single word to describe Arranger, it'd be "nontraditional" in all aspects. Though I've only played a small amount of it thus far, it seems all the better for it. But you don't have to take my word for it; the Steam demo's right there for you to devour yourself.


Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure is set to release for PS5, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, and mobile via Netflix on July 25, 2024. If that isn't your cup of tea, there is almost certainly something that will speak to you on our giant list of upcoming video game release dates.

Rollin Bishop
US Managing Editor

Rollin is the US Managing Editor at GamesRadar+. With over 16 years of online journalism experience, Rollin has helped provide coverage of gaming and entertainment for brands like IGN, Inverse, ComicBook.com, and more. While he has approximate knowledge of many things, his work often has a focus on RPGs and animation in addition to franchises like Pokemon and Dragon Age. In his spare time, Rollin likes to import Valkyria Chronicles merch and watch anime.