So, I’ve got the keys, the sword and the axe. I know that the goat-like things enjoy talking to adventurers and giving out cryptic hints. I’m also aware of the fact that the black, bipedal beasties are mesmerized by flames and can’t pass through those golden fire hydrant things that go ding. Or is it a whole group of terrains they treat as impassable? Who cares? As long as they don’t surround me, thus forcing a restart, or follow me in conga line from hell, all is fine and I’m free to keep exploring the Middlegrounds.
One of the most intricate puzzle worlds ever to be released as freeware; a place I’d compare to a top-down version of Myst if I didn’t hate Myst and love Middlegrounds. A little web game that plays a bit like Adventure on the Atari 2600 and lets you slowly discover and understand its setting and the way it functions.
You are just thrust there, knowing you are supposed to be doing something and that things somehow click with each other, but nothing is obvious. You have to experiment, guess and try stuff out.
Discovering even a fraction of the Middlegrounds’ true mechanics is hugely satisfying. Solving one of the game’s multilayered puzzles even more so, especially when involving a ghost, a pickaxe, a key and the strategic positioning of an open flame. Bring a whole mini quest to conclusion and you’ll be both elated and closer to solving one of the finest digital puzzle boxes of late.
Hell, you might even get to know what those swordsmen/goats you get to push around are all about. And could those golden fire hydrants be save stations after all?