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Particulate Planetary Exploration: Perennial

Perennial is a side-scrolling exploration game with shiny collectibles that are best collected in combos. The playable prototype, which is packed with extremely attractive particulate polish, is available for download and it managed to take up far more of my Monday than I'd expected. The minimalism of the graphics and design wouldn't be out of place in a game that ends up being about walking to the right and then dying, metaphorically and philosophically. Shortly after you leave your house, Perennial banishes all such thoughts by providing a super-speedy powerup and from then on the pace is more akin to Sonic the Plumber, with bugs to squash and tiny tunnels to slide through. Download here and check out the Greenlight page.

I haven't finished the prototype yet but John Polson at indiegames.com, where I first saw this, reckons the ending is enjoyable. It certainly wouldn't be a chore to play for just a little longer because it really is a delightful little game.

Even though there are points to score and I'm certainly not adverse to dashing, jumping and sliding through an area to maximise a combo, the real joy of Perennial lies in looking rather than doing. In that sense, it has something in common with Knytt. It helps that everything, from a crushed roach to the drops of water falling from a cavern ceiling, looks fantastic and the planet's changing colours are so enticing.

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