Latest Squeeze: Faultline

By Alec Meer on July 8th, 2010 at 9:07 pm.

Well, I discover with crushing inevitability and after the tragic mistake of having typoed ‘faultine’ into the RPS search engine before writing this up that Jim’s already covered it. But he didn’t write very much about it, and I liked it quite a bit, so I’m going to post this anyway, before grumpily going to find something else to write about too.

There’s a lovely little shop just across the street from my new flat. Sells everything – magazines, bread, kitty litter, a thousand magazines all featuring Cheryl Cole’s rictus grin on the cover… There’s just one problem. I have to go out the house and across the street to get it. If only I could temporarily bend space, compressing the distance so that I could simply lean out my window and grab a can of lemonade. Yes, I am that lazy. Faultline, however, is that fantasy.

I know, I know – it’s an indie platformer with pseudo-scientific space-time manipulation. The hook is fresh and clever, though, and moreover the game’s incredibly breezy about it. See that node? See that other node? Click on one, drag to other and schlurrrrrp-thud (which is not the noise it makes, but it should): two pieces of space are joined together, squishing/bifurcating whatever was between them. That opens up new paths or makes gaps jumpable, but it can close off others or make vital ledges disappear into the pixel-aether.

Funny thing is, it doesn’t ever take its challenges much further than that. Which I like more than I would otherwise have expected to. It doesn’t plunge headline into pace-breaking complexity, but rather retains classic-platformers sense of forward motion, and the associated pride and excitement. Some puzzles you will have to chew over for a while, but others you’ll solve with nary a glance and be on your merry, bouncing way.

Of course, that’s a detriment too. It’s not especially hard and it doesn’t take long – but it’s an ingenious free toy on the internet, so enjoy it for what it is and shush your whining. As TIGSource notes, there’s perhaps a hint of Portal in there. Not that I’m anything like comfortable saying that any game featuring spatial manipulation is necessarily influenced by Valve’s hole-jumper, but in fact my feeling was “ooh, wouldn’t it be lovely if this ability was in Portal 2?”

Lovely, clever, and throwaway in exactly the right manner. Here’s a video, in case you’re not able to play it for some reason. Though it’s browser based and didn’t ask me for any weird plugins, so that reason can only be that you’re too lazy or your boss is standing behind you right now.

In which case, why are you reading RPS? That’s going to backfire on you. HEY BOSS! BOSS! THIS GUY’S NOT WORKING! HE ALSO SAYS THAT YOU SMELL OF FERRETS AND THAT YOUR MUM’S A RIGHT GOER. BOSS! Oh yes, the video:

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14 Comments »

  1. Dan D says:

    I saw this on the Bytejacker program on Revision 3 tv. It was awesome. I could see a full game made with this mechanic.

  2. iwantfatty says:

    Looks like a great game, but could that video be more infuriating.. make the fucking jump!

    • Phoshi says:

      I agree, people with no motor control have no business making walkthroughs!

    • Rane2k says:

      This was supposed to be a walkthrough? Oh my. :-)
      I would guess the guy who made it did not grow up on platformers. :-)

      Played through this the last time it was linked on RPS. With the exception of a few rooms most of it could be solved without much thinking, lots of trial and error was enough.

      It might have been more interesting if you could place the folding points yourself, maybe with a limit of simultaneous folds?

      Still, not bad.

  3. LewieP says:

    Room 16 is a bit of a bastard.

    Love the music.

  4. Alastayr says:

    I guess the reason why I am unable to play is because you chose to include that damn second-to-last paragraph Alex Mear. It loads past the ad and then drops a white background with playing instructions. Neat.

  5. Karthik says:

    It would be great if this thing loaded. All I get is a white flash window.

  6. Wilson says:

    Hmm, I didn’t think that much of this. Very nice technically, but I never felt I was being clever with the fault lines. I just bumbled my way through the levels, and didn’t really feel like I was achieving much. Neat concept, but didn’t impress me as much as I would have expected it to.

  7. Jeremy says:

    I thought for certain I had been recommended to play this game via a little website we all know as Rock Paper Shotgun once before? I’ve played this game, but there is no way I accidentally stumbled upon it on my own.

  8. Castorp says:

    That video is very bad. I’m not talking about skillz, no, JUST.MAKE.THEFUCKING.JUMP – JESUS.

    Oh, and I think it is a pretty bad show of the games niceness and sometimes ease. Is it a trick? Do you want people to go ‘OMG, I have to play it, to override this memory with a better, smoother walk to make the pain go away.’?

    (See, this video, I usually never post – btw, I love your site, great work, many thanks!)

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