The Manipulator

By Jim Rossignol on January 2nd, 2009 at 9:06 am.


An intriguing indie platformer that we uncovered via TIGSource, The Manipulator sees you take control of other characters across the game to proceed. As The Manipulator you can jump like Mario, and control minds like Professor X. The game is presented in a lovely grainy sepia neon, which gives the ultra-simple art a suitable paranoiac quality. I think you’ll like it, just play with caution, it can be a bit tricky.

4mb direct download is here.

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27 Comments »

  1. Someone says:

    Failed to load the game data. File seems corrupted.

  2. Jim Rossignol says:

    Works for me. Did you unpack the zip, or try to run the .exe from it? It does need to be unpacked.

  3. Ben Abraham says:

    Please could you stop the noise I’m trying to get some rest… from all the unborn chicken voices in my heaaaaaaaaad…

    Whaaaatttts thiiiiiiiisss?
    (I may be paranoid, but no android)

  4. Rob says:

    Fun game. I love the art style, and the manner in which the game makes you realise that the character you’re playing probably isn’t a nice guy.

  5. AzzX says:

    It’s like the platform equivalent to Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

  6. RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

    I like the art style and the sound is well done, but I hate the gameplay. I guess I don’t like having to exactly time everything. Make a tiny mistake and you have to do everything from the start. At the second level I stopped playing because I kept dying and none of the options available to me seemed to do the job. Making the pistol dude fire on the doorthingy did not help, and going to the lever thingy was impossible because the jump was too high. Maybe this makes me a ‘bad gamer’, but this game is too hard for me. It annoys me. Too bad, because it looks nice.

  7. Heliocentric says:

    You seem to able to non lethal as far as I got in the game. I need to set aside a few hours to play this as it lacks save functions.

  8. LewieP says:

    Don’t really like it myself to be honest. It is quite pretty though.

    Reminds me of the similar mechanic in the oddworld games.

    I agree with Dreadnought, it’s kind of awkward in how pinpoint accurate you have to be, feels artificially hard to me. Even when the solution was obvious to me, I had to wrestle with the controls.

    Ah well, it was free…

  9. Jahkaivah says:

    Incidently, check out Eversion.

    http://zarat.us/tra/offline-games/eversion.html

    (More than just a Mario clone)

  10. Matt Rundle says:

    >>grainy sepia neon

    I think it used to be called just ‘amber’.

  11. Jim Rossignol says:

    Yes, that glowing amber, always flickering with film grain.

  12. Matt Rundle says:

    I mean on old monochrome CRTs. I figure the flicker in there mostly due to developer habit, it was in Seven Minutes and Virtual Silence as well.

  13. Psychopomp says:

    @Jahkaivah

    WHAT HAVE I DONE!

  14. Aldaris says:

    Great principle, decent execution, (You can shoot the boxes a few times to break them.) no save function.
    Will keep on my PC.

  15. Kua says:

    POTENTIAL SPOILERS

    Pop quiz: Name five other games which include suicide as a means of gameplay.

    Enjoying this so far. No doubt I’ll get frustrated soon enough.

    Can’t say I’ve ever played a middle-aged bisexual with a semi-automatic rifle before either.

  16. Bremze says:

    @Kua
    Psychosomnium
    Persona 3/FES
    Verge
    LK:Soul Reaver maybe?

  17. Dorsch says:

    Karoshi 1 and 2

  18. hydra9 says:

    I like this a lot, particularly the ability to learn about these poor souls whose lives you’re going to prematurely end. No, Eddie, you won’t be watching The Bachelorette tonight!

    (Wish you could save your progress, though)

  19. Sunjammer says:

    Braid has you commit suicide and rewind time as a puzzle solution several times.

  20. Kua says:

    Very good. I’ll assume they’re all correct answers…

    I was mightily impressed. This was very engaging until I got stuck on 3-3 and foolishly escaped rather than alt+tabbing – a save function would have been nice. Perhaps its difficult to implement; I wouldn’t know.

    I’m surprised people found it so hard though. I’m notorious for quitting a game early out of frustration at a lack of intuitive gameplay ergo I’m kinda dumb sometimes (well actually I guess I did here too – but I spent a good long while trying to find a solution because I felt it was there to be found, for me that equals good game design). And after all, the levels are short and it doesn’t take long at all to catch up on your progress. And I didn’t come across any frustrating, ‘must be perfectly timed’ type jump sections. I’ve been playing a lot of indy games of late so may be I’ve built up a thick skin. Its interesting to compare this to the recent winner of the Commonplace Book competition over at TIGsource. It was another platformer (I think about 75% of indy games are!) and had some very frustrating jumpy sections – though once again I persevered with it more than I would other games. I preferred the Manipulator.

    The whole thing sparkled with polish and originality. And like others have said it was interesting to know who it was you were about to lead to their untimely death.

  21. PleasingFungus says:

    That was quite interesting! The game crashed for me in the credits (I pressed enter and space, and a pop-up alert told me that an array had done something naughty) – is there anything past the credits?

    Certain sections were a little too finicky for me, but the overall thing was quite nifty. (Were all those spelling/grammar errors intended? There were quite a number – impressive given the low volume of text present.)

  22. Max says:

    Gah! How the hell do you beat 3-3? I seem to fail at jumping.

  23. l1ddl3monkey says:

    Possibly the best game with a soundtrack made of remastered elephant noises that I’ve ever played.

    From the comments above: good, I’m glad 3-3 kicked more than just my bottom.

  24. Kua says:

    Aye someone give us n00bs a nudge in the right direction pls. IIRC I pressed the switch to drop the ladder but couldn’t commit suicide as jumpy dude. Though that doesn’t tie in with Max’s experience.

    EDIT: Yes I was thinking of the wrong level. I remember the one now :p . Cheers Kester. I’d tried that but figured it to be impossible…

  25. Kester says:

    The way to do 3-3 is to mind control the guy on the right, then use him to drop off the ladder (on the right hand side), then immediately fire at the guy on the left and jump back onto the ladder again before his bullets hit you. The timing window is ludicrously small though, and if your controllee gets shot, you have to suicide. If there’s a simpler way, I’d love to hear it, because it took me ages to get it right.

    On another note, I got quite a dull ending (I just arrested the dude, then fade to credits). Are any of the others more interesting?

  26. Live-Dimension says:

    Ahh… This is made with Game Maker.

    It’s weird though, as GM games by default contains a way to save and load (F5,F6) a game with no issues. Or at the very least they could of used a txt file with some password to each level…..

    But they also kept the default of esc instantly killing the game. Fustrating, but oh well.

    It is pretty fun, there’s some neat little well thought-out puzzles in this. I’ll have to play it more.

  27. SofS says:

    Kester: Did you pick the button on the right? I picked the one on the left, which triggered a timed escape sequence.

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