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Animal Shapes: Nation of Reincars

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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Quintin Smith

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