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Don't Look Now: Traal Is Free, Frightening

Do you remember These Robotic Hearts Of Mine? It’s a puzzler with a narrative and even if it wasn’t entirely successful, the moments when the story and mechanics interlock were effective. The chap who created the puzzler has several other games available and even though it isn’t new, I discovered Traal last night, following its release on iOS. It’s a collaboration with Jonathan Whiting and while its chunky, murky pixels may be off-putting to some, it’s worth sticking around for the clever horror twist. In gaming, there are monsters that kill, monsters that make the vision go blurry, and, now, monsters that trigger an automatic flight response when the player sees them.

Traal was made in 48 hours and like many jam games, there’s enough quality here to make me feel fairly terrible about how little I’ve ever achieved over a single weekend. The central idea – a weird inversion of stealth and light – suits the short-form incredibly well but, as is often the case, I’m left hoping for a longer exploration of this creepy little world.

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Adam Smith

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