The gameplay of Persona Q is very similar to the gameplay of the Etrian Odyssey series; the player is challenged with exploring and mapping a vast dungeon. The dungeon is navigated through a grid system where time will only pass whenever the player moves. This results in movement, combat and encounters to all be turn-based. This is a mechanic I am considering for my project; turning to top-down aspects into specific levels based around the same turn-based mechanic.
Persona Q seems to have a larger focus on puzzles than Etrian Odyssey, so my focus for my research will focus more around Persona than Etrian Odyssey. The puzzles in Persona Q usually are focused around the dungeon layout and enemy pathing; the player is required to learn the enemies’ movement patterns and avoid them, while interacting with various aspects of the level to gain clues to solve a puzzle. Some require the opening of a passage to progress by taking advantage of the enemies AI and pathing, luring it into certain positions to move around it, although these can also be bypassed by engaging and defeating the enemy. This allows the played to use both combat oriented and puzzle oriented gameplay styles, as both will open up the passage to continue. Although, there are parts of the game where a puzzle is required to be solved with no other way around it, as well as with combat.
One example of this is very early on in the game, where an enemy is seen to be painting a white flower red. The game hints that the player is to wash the paint off certain flowers in a certain order to lure the enemies to those flowers to repaint them, allowing the player to sneak past. The player also has the option to engage in combat with these enemies and defeat them to pass through instead.
An example of a puzzle that must be solved with less enemy interaction can be seen in one of the dungeons a little over halfway through the game, where the player is required to walk through certain points of the level in a specific order in order to unlock a door to progress in the dungeon. The player must spend time, whether or not they are in combat, to learn the order and then plan out a path to walk through it, as walking through the wrong point will reset the player’s progress and one-way tunnels prevent the player from quickly running to the correct ones.
The puzzle solving aspect of this game is something I found very enjoyable, and would like to incorporate a simpler version into my project. I do not plan to have any combat in my level in the top-down parts of it, so I will have to use other forms of hazards to replicate the danger brought by those. I also do not plan on making my level turn-based or grid based, instead allowing the player to move freely as he wishes, so I will have to make sure to design my puzzles around that rather than the turn-based aspect of Persona Q.