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Exploring Small Islands: Bridge-Building Puzzles

CMG Staff / April 21, 2021

If you want a short and relaxing but brain-teasing puzzle game, consider playing Small Islands. Not to be confused with the Small Islands board game, Small Islands is an 8-bit, bridge-building puzzle game made in Unity for web browsers. Learning how to play Small Islands is a breeze, but solving the puzzles is sure to be a challenge!  Read on to get the basics and some tips to help you through. 

How to Play Small Islands: The Basics

Small Islands was developed by programmer and level designer Cawotte, pixel artist Gardrek, and musician and sound designer Sunmachine.

In Small Islands, players control a carrot attempting to explore an archipelago of little islands, gathering resources along the way. You need only the arrow keys to move, so it’s pretty simple to get the hang of!

Walking over water automatically places a bridge piece down. Walking back the way you came picks that bridge piece back up so you can recycle them. 

small islands collect wood

Reaching the goal moves you to the next level, but the islands are full of challenges standing between you and the goal flag. Planning the proper path may require a bit of trial and error. There are no monsters or dangers for your carrot to avoid - just you, the islands, and the goal.

Island Hopping Tips

Find the Wood

In Small Islands, wood is the key to finding your way between islands and to the goal. Wood allows you to walk over water. However, your way can be blocked by trees or obstacles, forcing you to be clever and find a way around.

New Challenges

As you continue to master Small Islands, new challenges will appear. There are three main obstacles: portals, chests, and gates.

Portals allow you to warp to another island. You can often return from this island with wood that will help you later.

Chests can only be opened with keys found elsewhere in the level, otherwise they will block your path. If a chest blocks the goal, you must prioritize getting the key before figuring out the path to the goal.

small island key and gate

Lastly, gates are controlled by switches, which block and unblock your path depending on how you set the switch.

Levels will also grow in complexity, with more and more of these elements appearing on a single level as the game gets harder.

Think it Through

Patience and thought are a virtue in Small Islands. Thinking logically about the shortest route to the goal and how much wood you will need to build that route will help you solve the challenges of the game.

Many puzzle game players swear by leaving the game alone and coming back later in order to solve a particularly tricky level. Having a wider focus of attention makes your brain better at solving puzzles. It frees you from selective attention and allows you to make unexpected connections. 

small islands guide

Time to Play!

Learning how to play Small Islands is best in practice! You can play the game right here on Coolmath Games! We have games to test your logic skills, puzzle skills, trivia knowledge, and more. We specialize in brain-teasing games that build lateral thinking and logic skills.

If you can't get enough of Small Islands, you can also try Aztec Escape, which is a similarly simple, but complex puzzle game controlled with only the arrow keys or WASD.

CMG Staff