Aunt Flora's Mansion is a simple little block puzzle game from prolific designer and author Anna Anthropy. You might have played games like it before — push a block thoughtfully and you can clear a path for yourself ahead, but shove them around in haste and you might block your own way, hey hey. It's a real puzzle.
It might be a little visually confusing to newbies at first, but it's simple: The line on the block indicates the direction in which you can move it (north to south, east to west, or all four). There are also little purple blocks you can pass through, but only in the direction of the arrow stamped on it.
The theme of the game is that your aunt's invited you for tea, but she's accumulated so much stuff at her age you've got to carefully forge a path just to reach her. Haul your family baggage around, and be smart about it, and don't screw up.
It's a sad situation — is it healthy, this performance that Aunt Flora demands? I get the impression she doesn't realize the effort her invitation costs, innocently in love with all of her belongings. Is this house safe for poor Flora, even though it's so treacherous to you? Should you ask her, or should you just do your best to reach her so you can put a smile on her face?
I am not very skilled at these kinds of logic puzzles. Maybe it's all the poor weather and the long trips I've been taking among my relatives lately, but the bright, nostalgic palette of Aunt Flora's makes me ache. It's hard to reach your loved ones, sometimes. It's easy to make mistakes when you try. And then there's the matter of the resolution when you do. Can you reach your Aunt Flora, at the end of the game? How do you feel when you do?
Anthropy tells me that Aunt Flora's Mansion is based on a game called Cyberbox, made by Doug Beeferman in 1991. She ported Cyberbox to PuzzleScript "a little while ago," her first project using the tool. Aunt Flora's Mansion is her first original work using elements of Cyberbox — and as you can see from the small "hack" link at the bottom of Aunt Flora's Mansion, you can also use a level editor to modify and design your own family problems and generational pains. I mean, puzzle games.
This game was released early to Anthropy's backers through her Patreon. Lots of independent game makers fund their work via Patreon, and backers get early and exclusive works as well as other perks. For many creators, Patreon is the primary source of income for their games.