Here Is How Four Sided Fantasy Will Break Your Brain

By Nathan Grayson on April 17th, 2014 at 4:00 pm.

You might remember that gorgeous puzzle adventure Four Sided Fantasy has the potential to twist your brain until it looks like a mangled Rubik’s Cube embedded in its very DNA, but what does that actually mean in practice? Well, the sidescroller from the level designer of the equally mind-melting Perspective focuses on level manipulation, on turning the game world from playground to plaything. Below you’ll find a video of its experimental mechanics in action. Prepare to go, “Wait, but then that means… no! Arghhhh! Please, don’t take away my limited perception of reality! It’s all I have!”

The multi-screen cloning thing is the part that finally broke me. Meanwhile, I felt echoes of Portal in the ability to more or less fall through screens infinitely. Come to think of it, there’s potential for a number of Portal-esque mechanics here, for better or worse. Valve’s very nearly mined the concept hollow, but then, Four Sided Fantasy is hardly a Portal clone. A little overlap, then? Probably won’t hurt anyone.

On the whole, it looks like Ludo Land is putting this concept to excellent use. Sure, it’s another puzzle-platformer and the genre’s already frighteningly overcrowded, but well, who’s to say a top-flight standout can’t do a bit of crowdsurfing?

Also crowdfunding. Four Sided Fantasy is currently on Kickstarter, and it’s raised nearly a third of its $35,000 goal. Are you going to back it?

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9 Comments »

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    FullMetalMonkey says:

    This reminds me of Braid without the time warping features.

  2. cerealbox says:

    This is just the sort of thing I need to get my brain jumpstarted before I tackle a new problem to solve.

  3. The Random One says:

    The solutions seem a bit random. Like on every level the screen warping does something different and you have no way of knowing what it is.

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      particlese says:

      Indeed, but keep in mind that the game is still in the prototyping/experimental stage. In a video in the second Kickstarter update, he talks about one of Braid’s tricks for teaching players new tricks (@~5:00): Presenting a familiar bit of level with a new solution. It’s familiar enough that you’ll probably remember how you solved it last time, and you might try that solution again. When it doesn’t work, you experiment (or rage quit). When an experiment works, you give yourself a high-five and have fun with the new technique/mechanic in the following levels. That’s the theory, more or less, and it worked pretty well in Braid, Portal, and others, as far as I’m concerned.

      This dev is at least concious of the problem and this solution, so I’m pretty optimistic that it won’t be a problem. In the meantime, we get to watch all the weird experiments that may or may not be used in the final game.

    • lofilofi says:

      Hi TheRandomOne, lead designer on Four Sided Fantasy here. This video shows off crazy experimental features to show the early versions of mechanics we may pursue. That is to say, not all of these features will make it into the final game if they don’t fit or aren’t interesting.

      Consistency is of utmost importance to me, so any of these mechanics that make it into the final game will be well explained and communicated to the player. I encourage you to check out the other videos on the Kickstarter page to see the core mechanic in action, as well as the other (free!) games I’ve worked on to get an idea of how I communicate to the player.

  4. drvoke says:

    Even when it took a few tries, or even a short break from the game to recharge my brain juice, Portal and Portal: The Second always made me feel clever when I solved a puzzle. Most other puzzle platforma only leave me feeling frustrated with a feeling of, “Thank god I’m finally past that,” which isn’t how a game should make you feel. There are a few other things that Portal gets right that other puzzle platformers seem to fail at as well. At least in the official puzzles, it seemed impossible to get yourself into an unwinnable state requiring you to start a level over again. You might fall into deadly acid or get shot to death by turrets, but you never ran out of portal shots at the bottom of a hole or something. It’s on a short list of challenging yet rewarding puzzle platformers. I would probably put Limbo in that category as well. Lots of “once you see it,” and “aha!” moments punctuated by contemplation and trial and error. Braid probably fits in that category as well, but I sort of bounced off it. I could see how to achieve the objectives a lot, but my actual platforming skills certainly weren’t up to the task.

    All of this is in service of saying that this looks like it falls into the Portal category for me. Challenging but rewarding with interesting mechanics that require you to approach platforming puzzles in a novel way and that have the potential to build off each other without creating unwinnable scenarios for yourself. If I had money, I would back it. I hope someone else does so while thinking of me.

  5. bill says:

    My only worry is that all these cool features are still basically about solving the same puzzle again and again.

    If each part is basically just “get across the screen (and maybe open a door)” then I worry it’ll get old fast, no matter how many clever different ways we can get across that chasm.

    I enjoyed Perspective, and several other similar games, but I didn’t find that any of them drew me in, long term, like portal or braid did.
    I think having variations in the level and setting, and having npcs (a la braid) and a story (braid/portal) is needed to add some variation and forward momentum.
    Either that or you need to come up with some very clever level designs.

  6. green frog says:

    The infinite falling thing reminded me of Portal as well, but the way it plays with the edges of the screen actually reminds me more of Continuity, which I highly recommend by the way: http://continuitygame.com/?page_id=21