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Have You Played... Alt254?

Square eyes

Nope, you don't need to get your eyes tested. Alt254 is a minimalist action adventure game that plays out on a small (albeit greatly enlarged) map that measures just 21x26 pixels. In this tiny space, you, a black dot, must venture forth, solving puzzles, deciphering the strange, colourful world around you and piecing together your broken memory along the way. It's a very enigmatic little game, but one that's instantly charming in its old-school vibes and artfully constructed world. Its soundtrack is a bit of a corker, too.

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Really, it's kind of incredible how much personality and lore you end up imposing on this sprawling, blocky island. You start parsing what counts for switches, ditches and pillars with amazing alacrity, and there's a part of me that likes to think of its tiny black pixel hero as some kind of long-lost cousin of Patrick's Parabox - a square friend who's slipped down one of its many infinite wormholes to find themselves washed ashore on the ruins of a strange, monster-filled island.

It can, admittedly, be a little obtuse. I've by no means plumbed the depths of this place, and it's very easy to get lost and not find your way back out again if you accidentally fall down a hole in the floor (of which there are many). But there are some clever little puzzles to be found in Alt254, many of which will require you to reach for a pen and notepad to solve - or at least to help you keep track of them - as you start piecing together what fits where, and which colour-coded keys belong in which door.

It's very much a learning by doing sort of game, which won't be everyone's cup of tea, but if you're after a sweet little brain-scratcher that only costs a little over a fiver, Alt254 is well worth a look. You can grab it on Steam.

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