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Latest Squeeze: Faultline

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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Alec Meer

Senior Editor

Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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