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Multi-Platform: A Tale By Alex

Wow, games are great. Take for instance A Tale By Alex. The game by new indie team Digital Dreams, it's a side-scrolling platformer played on three separated levels... simultaneously. Because each is a version of a kid, Alex's, imagination.

It's an amazingly cute idea, the two higher strips showing a reimagining of the real-world interior Alex is playing in. Jump over a table at the bottom, and it's a grassy mound. Run past your pet tortoise and it's a giant, biting monster that must be attacked. An elastic band flung in your front room is a range weapon for Alex the Knight.

This is mostly in your own imagination, of course, as the game is presented in a small window in teeny pixels. But the idea remains brilliant. The game, well it's fine. I think, if anything, it hinders itself by its own design choices. Such a magnificent concept perhaps deserves to be more comprehensively explored than in the hurried confusion of a perma-scrolling distance challenge. That's not to say it doesn't work in its current form. The Canabalt-like (although a fraction as slow, and much more involved) need to replay to get further is present, and it's different each time to ensure you don't just learn the jumps. But it's certainly the concept that makes the game shine, rather than anything intrinsically about the platforming.

There are other cute ideas in there - the narration especially, with weapon noises voiced by a child and the like. Have a trailer. Oh, and don't worry, there isn't nearly that much of the chatter when you play.

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John Walker


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