What A Pretty Dolly! This Puzzle-Platformer Is Gorgeous

The beautiful Dolly is an imperfect blessing. Visually, this free puzzle-platformer is nothing short of stunning. The minimalist palette, the dream-like art direction, the strangeness of its universe — it all comes together in a perfect storm of colors. In terms of being an actual game, Dolly is… okay. The controls feel accurate enough. But collision is iffy. Sometimes, you hit spikes. sometimes, you don’t. Sometimes, you bump against thin air and shatter into a thousand pixels. That’s how the cookie crumbles.

Despite its attractiveness and the porcelain delicacy of its appearance, Dolly harbours a dark story. It certainly makes sense. While the landscape is pretty enough, there’s something to be said about a game that insists you traverse the insides of people’s skulls. Like, maybe it’s completely literal. If so, that’s kinda, sorta, quite terrifying.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Flaws and all, Dolly represents another stunning reminder of what indie games can do. Who needs triple-A budgets when you can make masterpieces out of the impulse for academic success? (For context’s sake, let the record show that Dolly was apparently a student project.) Although this looks to be developer Blake Wood’s first game, his tumblr throngs with evidence of other artistic achievements.

Dolly is free to download from Itch and Game Jolt.

8 Comments

  1. MrFinnishDude says:

    design

  2. RaoulDuke says:

    This is very nice, don’t get me wrong, but I would describe something like Shadow of the Colossus as beautiful. Plus you said it controls/plays like poo, that isn’t any good, is it?

  3. Stupoider says:

    Looks pretty and, like most puzzle platformers, not very interesting.

  4. LTK says:

    I think Cassandra is being a bit hyperbolic on this game’s strengths and failings, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

  5. blakemwood says:

    Oh wow, thanks so much for featuring my game! Long time lurker of RPS and figured I should sign up to say thanks. Apologies for those terrible hitboxes, I just updated the game last night so that should all be fixed now. Hopefully now that I have a bit of coding experience I can make something slightly more interesting than yet another puzzle platformer next time as well :)

    • LTK says:

      Ah, that’s why I didn’t have any of the problems mentioned.

      You don’t need to undersell your game though, there’s nothing wrong with a good platformer. (A puzzle platformer, however, it is not.) There are plenty of ways to screw up making a platformer but this one turned out quite well. Jump arcs, air control, foreground/background distinction, all pretty much pitch-perfect. Only the transitions were a bit jarring, like to and from the bit where you climb the chains.

      Like I said, I enjoyed it. Good luck with whatever else you decide to do!

  6. Stupoider says:

    It’s a very cool game but I’m just burnt out on platformers these days. Really like the look of it though, and I’ll be following what you release in the future . Good luck!

  7. Talesdreamer says:

    Really nice! I agree the transitions can sometimes be a bit jarring, but overall, a realy pleasant experience. I loved the colour palette.