First-person adventure Ether One aims to explore a difficult subject – dementia – through storytelling and puzzles. The debut game from indie team White Paper Games is out now, and I’ve had a play. And a struggle. You can read my thoughts below.
RPS Feature Thanks For The Memories
Here’s a novel puzzle game, with a deeply peculiar name. Dynetzzle – seemingly crafted in a special laboratory to be the most forgettable, irrelevant, and impossible to remember how to spell game name of all time – is based around unfolded dice. Nets of cubes, combined with the magical fact that all opposite sides of a dice add up to 7. Combine those two elements, and you get a rather nice idea for a little puzzle game. One that is, apparently, soon to become a bigger puzzle game. But you can play the 10-level version for free, right now.
When you watch the first-look video for Cadence, a self-described “zen-like audio-generative puzzle game”, you’re going to stare blankly for the first 40 seconds, unsure why this black and grey thing should be of interest. Then at 41 seconds you’ll go, “Ooooh.” If you don’t, it means you’re rubbish, so you’d best not admit to it.
Nothing To Hide‘s statements on privacy and surveillance aren’t subtle. This is a really interesting puzzle game in which you must dutifully spy on yourself, constantly ensuring that government cameras are able to see you wherever you go. And despite currently being in development, it’s entirely in the public domain, copyright free, for code, art, music, etc. “By giving up ‘power’ on my art,” says creator Nick Liow, “my art can have more power.”
RPS Feature Chance would be a fine thing
I adored Puzzle Quest. But I’ve yet to truly adore anything else that’s followed in its wake (including Puzzle Quest 2), with the exception of 10,000,000. There is something spellbinding about 10m’s distillation of the concept, simplifying the combination of match-3 with RPG, down to this fast-paced compulsive madness. (Having finished it twice, I’d like to remind creator Luca Redwood to RELEASE THE NEW CONTENT SOON.)
And then out of Ludum Dare comes Faif. Yes, Faif. It’s the idea minimalised even further. It’s in development now, but playable as that process goes along. New elements are being regularly added, or tweaked, and it’s free to follow along.
Here’s a nice piece of news to brighten a dreary Monday. KAMI – the superbly received puzzler for IOS – is heading to the PC. This is from State Of Play Games, who brought us the lovely Lume, and are working on the forthcoming (and even lovelier looking) Lumino City. KAMI is also now out on Android too, for proper decent people who don’t have iThings, like ME. But the important thing is: PC version very soon. There’s a trailer below, so you can find out why you should care.
RPS Feature Hexcellent News
My favourite puzzle game of the year just doubled in size. Another collection of 36 puzzles, this time far harder than the last. Here’s wot I think:
My cat, Dexter, has been missing for nine days now. Which is horrible. While kitten Lucy is certainly more famous in RPS parts, Dex has long appeared on the site, and indeed in PC Gamer, and best of all, The Cat Magazine. I’ve been pretty much miserable for eight days straight, so it’s with this context that I tell you how bloody delighted I am that there’s a new version of Hexcells released: Hexcells Plus.
RPS Feature Pudding-based puzzling
We are being blessed with some excellent puzzle games of late. But having played the exquisite Hexcells through four times, I was really looking for something else. I wasn’t expecting it to be Tetrobot, but blimey, it is. Here’s wot I think of Blocks That Matter creator SwingSwingSubmarine’s superb, and enormously difficult robotic puzzler:
RPS Feature With stuffing
Perfection is a silly name to give a game. It’s asking for trouble. It’s also an extremely odd choice for this peculiar-yet-enticing puzzle game, since it absolutely does not require anything close. Instead this is about chopping up odd geometric shapes to approximate a target shape. It should have been called Approximate. And then it would have avoided all this complaining.
The game isn’t new, but we’ve stumbled our way past it like the blundering fools we are. Starseed Pilgrim is a puzzle game that offers you a peculiar set of abilities, and no instructions. No guidance how to use the “seeds” you can plant to grown variously coloured blocks, nor any guidance as to what you’re supposed to be doing with them. Finding out is the point of the game. I failed at this game.
RPS Feature Arch suspension
Obeying the new law that all puzzle games must rotate is The Bridge – a black and white, Escher-inspired set of reality bending puzzles from The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild. The last time we heard from it was a demo released in late 2011, but now it’s here, on Steam, GamersGate and the Humble Store. But should you spend your £12? Here’s wot I think.
Having recently thrust itself into the ungainly cockfight of Greenlight, Turtle Cream and PokPoong Game’s 6180 The Moon has reminded me to post its utterly gorgeous trailer. Incredibly simple-looking – basically a circle moving around some white boxes and spikes – it manages to be really very enchanting too.
I have an odd relationship with puzzle games. Actually, it’s quite an ordinary relationship in that I fail to love them if all they offer is a bulging brain, berating and bettering me, but add a fascinating personality and I forget that the whole encounter is based around trickery and one-upmanship. Music of the Spheres is about calculating angles and bouncing projectiles through carefully constructed levels in order to strike moving targets. Except it’s not. That’s how you interact with the game but it’s about Islamic art, and the intersections between mathematics and abstract visual poetry. It also creates haunting music, as the trailer below demonstrates.
Reading an article on Polygon, I clicked on some white space on the site, which turned out to be a catchment area for an advert far above. Grrrrr, I said, shaking my fists at the sky. But before I could add them to my hidden click shitlist with PC Gamer and NetworkN, I was rather taken with what had appeared. Not a big, flashing advert, but rather a game to play. A game – Contre Jour – that it turns out is really rather lovely. Advertising, folks – it works!
A good understanding of the logic of logic seems like something that should be taught in schools. Along with tax returns, how to fight a bear, and English punctuation. As discovered by Eurogamer’s Ellie Gibson this week, ir/rational is a game that broaches the thought through topic of logic in a – strange way.
RPS Feature Puzzling Choices
My need for puzzle games is insatiable, constantly fed by the teams of enslaved designers I have generating me new Slitherlinks and Doodle Fit levels, as Telegraph cryptic crossword setters weep as their fingertips bleed from setting me more and more clues. Gathering them all a few seconds pause in their toils is Splice, a new puzzler from Auditorium developers, Cipher Prime. Will it do?
RPS Feature Water beauty
I’ve been charmed by physics puzzler Vessel ever since I first saw its liquids in action, sloshing, spilling and trickling around as gravity intends. I wanted to be set loose in its steampunk world, to jump in puddles and catch raindrops in a bucket. Vessel had different ideas. It would let me play, but it also wanted me to think and it wanted me to think hard. Here’s wot I think about that.
I have come to the conclusion that indie developers will never run out of cool new ways to meddle with platforming standards. The latest I’ve encountered is Swindler, from the pixel masters at Nitrome (check out why we rate them). Here you appear to play a blob of snot, who is able to let loose from his own ectoplasmic entity a long, stretchy green string, tied to a post at the top of a level, and then extended or contracted. However, rather than moving him about the world, you move the world about him.