By John Walker on July 16th, 2009 at 12:57 am.
I have been enjoying Ben Chandler’s indie adventures so far. Shifter’s Box was a smart collection of puzzles with a neat dimension-shifting mechanic, while Annie Android offered a cute mini-story to play through. His latest, Heed, is by far the more peculiar, and certainly the most interesting.
Minimalist, and certainly not designed to create a challenging time, it’s about being told a story. A strange, perhaps even unfollowable story, as your character pursues a meaning for existence. At first, as the unestablished, almost anonymous guy sought a purpose, I wondered if it was an exploration of his not having existed before the moment I began playing the game. But as the short game enters its second half, and the aims change, it becomes much more esoterically unidentifiable.
If Heed is a game about understanding one’s own purpose, then it seems to have lofty ideals about how that might be realised. Perhaps it’s more about the core theme, the passing of the torch of responsibility from one generation to another, charged with educating and supporting before passing the torch yourself? Or perhaps it’s about solving some simple puzzles and enjoying the words from the ghosts.
Either way, it’s a pleasure to have been asked to think about it. Also worthy of special note, accompanying Chandler’s distinctive, gorgeous pixel art, is the music. Based on tunes from the late 19th and early 20th century, it is the work of Sebastian Pfaller, and is quite splendid.
Have a look for yourself – it’s available from the usual AGS place, and free.