Animal Shapes: Nation of Reincars

By Quintin Smith on July 20th, 2010 at 3:00 pm.

I'm reminded of my favourite screenshot ever. http://twitpic.com/1j3zfg

I’m back! Where have I been? Riding motorbikes and catching gut-diseases, mainly, but now I’m back and am once again lending a quivering hand to the murderous steam-threshing machine that is Rock Paper Shotgun dot com. So, let’s get started.

Nation of Reincars is an achingly tricky indie platformer/puzzler from Swedish developer Krimelo, whose previous work includes (I’m just stealing this off his blog now) Autocannibalism and Medi Climp. I initially read that second one as Medi Chimp, and my mind is currently blasting on all cylinders with ideas for what Medi Chimp would be like. Syringe-wielding primates aside, Nation of Reincars is an interesting bit of freeware that’s all about reincarnation.

It works like this: You have six lives, and must use these to make your way from one end of the level to the other. The twist is that each of those lives is a different animal, and you have to decide in what order to come back as. Starting off as a believably useless human, you can them become a rabbit (who jumps), a monkey (who jumps and climbs), a bird (who flies), a turtle (who swims and also jumps about as well as you’d expect a turtle to jump) and a worm (who crawls and digs). Simple.

Except it’s not simple. Not even a little bit. Between tricksy platforming and each level being quite long [edit: So, turns out it's just one level. Ooh, but it's a good one], it’s hugely easy to end up staring at some impassable chasm or floor of spikes, knowing which animal you need to cross it but also knowing you need that animal to pass some obstacle earlier on. Or do you? Most obstacles have at least 2 or 3 animals which can deal with them, and once you’ve passed several obstacles the correct series of reincarnations can get very cloudy. The obvious starting point is to figure out which obstacles can only be bested by a single animal and work backwards from there. Except identifying those obstacles isn’t obvious. Oh dear.

This is neat puzzling of the multi-stage variety, meaning each time you think you have a solution it often only nudges you closer to a final, heroic solution. And if that’s not enough for you, Nation of Reincars also boasts this fella:

You’re sold, surely? Get it direct from Krimelo’s blog here.

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27 Comments »

  1. ChaK_ says:

    I’m not graphic whore

    BUT THAT… !!

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Crisp retro pixels get a little smudged in .jpeg compression, I’m afraid.

    • Cooper says:

      PNG

      Please?

      PNG files sizes are no larger than jpeg for limited colour images. And work wonders for lovely retro pixel yumminess.

      Thank you

      - Cooper
      RPS liasion for “Save our retro pixel crispy yumminess”
      Now with extra cripsy, still made from the same eleven secret herbs and spices.

    • aerozol says:

      The whole level screenshot looked appealing enough to me.
      But I guess I was thinking about the gameplay… Some nice colours could have been chosen, I guess.

  2. lhzr says:

    so.. is this gaming’s citizen cane?

  3. AndrewC says:

    How am I supposed to access that alt text screengrab? It’s like biting my own forehead.

  4. YogSo says:

    I was a bit dubious about this, but that last fella has totally sold it for me. Downloading now.

    So, Quinns… WHERE IS GAMING’S CITIZEN KANE? Oh, and welcome back.

  5. Skusey says:

    The game looks somewhat mouldy, yet very interesting. And I’m glad you’re back Quinns.

  6. YogSo says:

    I’m a bit confused here. Quinns says “each level being quite long”, but I’ve completed the first one (pictured on the second screenshot) and after asking God Himself “what is the meaning of life” He unceremoniously dumped me back to the desktop… Is there more than one level in the game?

    • Quintin Smith says:

      So it’s really just one level? Intriguing. Let me just adjust that…

    • YogSo says:

      In case anyone wants to check it, my solution was:

      [SPOILERSDARTHVADERISLUKESFATHER]:

      Man, Rabbit, Turtle, Worm, Monkey (is the only one who can cover the jump pictured on the first screenshot because he can climb the wall at the other side of the abyss) and Bird (after the last spikes-on-the-ceiling bit).

      [ENDOFSPOILERSTHEYHADNTTHOUGHTLOSTSENDING]

    • El Stevo says:

      [SPOILERSETC]

      I went for Man, Worm, Turtle, Rabbit, Monkey, Bird

      [/SPOILERSETC]

  7. gor says:

    Possibly i’m being stupid but when i try to play this game all i get is an image of a man smoking a pipe

    • lhzr says:

      you’re doing something wrong. it should be a caterpillar, not a man.

    • Boldoran says:

      What else could you possibly want from a game?

    • Waltorious says:

      To start the game you must press Z, the key used by all indie games in secret because none of them tell you that you need to use it for everything (“everything” typically consisting of jumping, advancing text and starting the actual game).

      In short, I only knew to press Z becuase I’ve played similar indie games before. Inde game developers, please tell us how to control your games!

  8. GreatUncleBaal says:

    I’m only downloading this because for some reason the first two screenshots managed to remind me simultaneously of Kokotoni Wilf and Pitfall 2 – it deserves a chance purely for that.

  9. The Innocent says:

    SPOILERS

    Okay, so I beat it and he told me to ask him a question. I asked, and he said that he’d let me know the answer when I needed it most. Creepy. So is Krimelo going to somehow give me the answer someday? The readme said that the ending would lag without connection to the internet, so what’s up with all that?

  10. Pace says:

    Quinns!!