I like the layout of the first one, it's really neat. I also like that it states what you're supposed to do First. The final part "When you think you can Solve It..." is good too. The part in between though, I think could use a little touch-up.
The word 'Instructions' kind of confused me at first, because I thought you were referring to the help instructions in the help menu (the ones I was in the process of reading). A simple misunderstanding that passed quickly! It's a good word, although I probably would have called them 'Directives' instead. Then to make their connection to the 'Main list' more obvious and explanatory I would've called it the 'Directives list' (so if you prefer the word 'Instructions' I would've called it the 'Instructions list')
Basically I would have put the whole thing like this:
"What to do: Get 'avatar' to the 'star'.
Use the 'Directives list' to give 'avatar' 'Directives' to follow in order to get to the 'star'. (To go with this I would've used pictures like the ones in Help Menu #3. Instead of the red color in #3 I would've gone for the green color. I also would've skipped the lines between the words and the windows because I found it a bit messy. I think the connection between the two was clear the way it was in mockup #1.)
When you think you can Solve It, press 'start' to see if 'avatar' gets to the 'star'."
Hope that wasn't too confusing and that it helped!
I don't really mind that amount of text, it doesn't feel like a lot to me. It is just three/four sentences after all. I definitely prefer it over something less easy to understand like maybe images or just less text. Maybe it just looks messy and clottered to you because the text takes up so much screen space and since it is split into different windows?