You don’t actually need an original gimmick, developers. You can just take an old gimmick and do it really well. That’s BOOR’s [official site] approach, a 2D platform puzzle game in which your character can create very temporary clones of herself and work in cooperation with them. We’ve seen it lots of times before, but when a good idea is done nicely, it’s – well – a good idea! Make it utterly, utterly lovely to look at and you’re well on your way.
I’m quick to dismiss stories in puzzle games, because they’re usually an annoyance between actually getting to do anything, but if they’re going to have one it should be BOOR’s way. There’s something something about a human colony called Eden creating an artificial intelligence (the rather unfortunately named BOOR (think about your homophones, developers)) but – shock – that colony isn’t very nice. Humans in labs. Person who can clone herself. Explosion. Puzzles. Nothing but a thing to wait through before you can play the charming game… but then, once you are playing, it rather splendidly carries on telling its tale within the framework of the levels.
THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT, EVERYONE.
Not cutscenes, not god-awful back-of-an-exercise-book cartoons with captions, but speak to the player as they play the core of your game.
Anyway, that aside, the puzzles themselves are immediately familiar, but then rather quickly pleasingly tricky. Your character – she’s unnamed so let’s call her… Sally – runs and jumps as you might expect, but click a button and she spawns a clone that lives for about ten seconds. This timespan is ingeniously communicated by a decreasing circle around the greyer version of herself, she disappearing as it does. That’s a smart choice, something instantly understandable as you’re getting on with jumping and running to where you need to be, rather than glancing away at a timer. With two of herself, Sally is able to aid herself in reaching buttons, switching off lasers, and tricking security monitors (literally monitors on legs – geddit?) into shooting barriers.
The clone is disposable, so there’s no harm in having it injured or killed, but Sally hserself will die in one hit of anything, spike, enemy, etc, so must be carefully looked after as she progresses from one side of the screen to the other. The clone can also pass through grey walls that Sally cannot (don’t ask me why, it’s probably something to do with ghost physics) making the auto-teamwork essential.
It moves along at a good pace, introducing new puzzle concepts thick and fast rather than overly relying on what’s been before. And like I say, it looks absolutely lovely as it does it. Simple reds and greys are portrayed with a deft use of texture, a lovely papery style to the defiantly 2D design.
And it’s only a smidge over £3. This is the sort of game that makes my frustrated trawling through the Steam mire a worthwhile endeavour. Sweet, splendidly delivered, and a bargain for a game you’d not heard of until just now.
BOOR is out now for Windows, Mac and Linux via Steam for £3.20/$4/€4.