When Twinbeard Studios’ Frog Fractions was released in October, I played it for only a few minutes before dismissing it as a cute parody—a humorous dig at the multitude of terrible edutainment games. Luckily, I was recently persuaded to check it out again and was rewarded with an extremely unique and surprising experience. I don’t want to say too much about the game for fear of spoiling it, but I will say this: It’s worth finishing.
Frog Fractions is free to play on the game’s site, so hop on over and try it out for yourself.
Colin Northway’s physics puzzler Incredipede came out last week. In this unique game you guide a little cyclopean creature named Quozzle to the sunbeam at the end of 60 pre-made levels or a potentially infinite number of user-made levels (currently there are over a hundred in the in-game level browser). The challenge arises from controlling Quozzle’s legs, which are built out of long bones and squishy muscles. Some levels will give you a pre-made body and task you with the movement only, whereas others will let you place musculature or even bones. Needless to say, solutions to Incredipede’s levels can be quite varied and the free-form nature of the puzzles are a big part of the game’s appeal.
Overall, the production values are quite good, with attractive woodblock-style visuals by Thomas Shahan and sound effects by Super Meat Boy’s Jordan Fehr. Perhaps most impressive, however, is the game’s interface, which is quite intuitive, whether you’re adding legs to Quozzle or developing your own level to share with other players online. This is especially important given how often you’ll be tweaking your creations, which, if you’re anything like me, will veer toward the break-dancing, as-many-legs-as-possible variety.
Fans of Colin’s first title, Fantastic Contraption, will feel at home with Incredipede, as they are similar games at heart. Incredipede is available for $15 direct or from GOG.com. An 11-level demo is playable on the game’s website but does not include any of levels where you get to design your own Quozzle.
Steam Greenlight: Incredipede
Run, by Chris Whitman (also known to old-time forum folk as “I Like Cake”), is a game that you can play for free or buy. He describes it as an existential horror farming game. The game cycles between three modes of play.
A Grain of Truth is the latest addition to the Big Old Tree that Dreams games about the story collector Myosotis. With it, the Rudowski brothers have created a condensed point-and-click adventure that’s wonderfully illustrated and scored and has a healthy dose of puzzles. Its map system, which enables warping to previous locations, is also a nice touch. I enjoyed its challenge until the end and look forward to playing through the next dream from the Big Old Tree.
When graphic designer Jon Caplin found himself with time on his hands while recovering from a broken jaw, he began work on a personal art-design project that drew from his memories of playing the classic god game Populous. What began as a simple hobby project arrives today as a full, completed game. Titled “Reprisal,” the finished product features one of the most gorgeous presentations of pixel art I’ve seen and is free to play in-browser.
The Dream Machine is an episodic horror adventure game that stars Victor Neff, a young man who just moved into an apartment with his wife. The first three chapters of the five chapter story have already come out and are now available on Steam. With each short chapter costing $5, it really makes the most sense to try chapter one for free at the game’s website and then buy the full $15 bundle on Steam if you enjoy it.
Confusing distribution options aside, The Dream Machine has a wonderfully eerie and surrealistic atmosphere, and when I played it a year or so back, I remember the story and puzzles being quite interesting. Hopefully the final two chapters will be released soon.
Realm of the Mad God, the free-to-play, bullet-hell MMORPG will soon arrive on Steam.
Originally an entry in the TIGSource Assemblee Competition, Realm of the Mad God has continued to gain popularity for the past two years, and was announced as a Main Competition finalist for the 2012 Independent Games Festival. The game’s move to Steam, early next week, shows just how popular it has become and will introduce achievements to the game as well as a stand-alone client (though players will still be able to play in their browsers, if they so wish). The game will continue to be free to play, and it’s almost certain that the team intends to add new content throughout the foreseeable future as the player base continues to grow.
Congratulations, Wild Shadow Studios!
You might be forgiven if at first glance you were to confuse Sophie Houlden’s recently released Swift Stitch for a video game out of another decade. Utilizing the Unity3D game engine, Sophie has created an ostensibly 2D game, though one that hews closer artistically to the legacy of early vector displays than the more prolific blocky bitmap art that followed. The slick mathematical aesthetic, the palette of black, white, and bright flickering neons, and the bare-minimum control method may seem otherworldly amongst today’s fare. On deeper examination however, you may discover that Swift Stitch is a game firmly rooted in the present, taking a unique approach in addressing several modern game design paradigms.
In play, Swift Stitch bears significant resemblance to the bit Generations (or more recently, ArtStyle) games. Roughly similar to various entries in the arty Skip Ltd. developed series, Swift Stitch presents the player with minimal visual and aural feedback, tightening the gap between stimulus and player reaction. When successful, this kind of game induces a unique head-space that makes every lesson learned by failure and every small triumph feel sublime.
The iPad version of Windosill was released earlier this month and adds a sketchbook gallery, level select, and “translucent mode” that lets you see how each level is put together (although you can’t tell from a screenshot, many of the objects in the game are 3d polygons). The original game, which can be played in your browser or as a download from Steam, came out in ’09.
The brainchild of Patrick Walker, Windosill takes you through 11 simple puzzle rooms. The game is criminally short, but nonetheless quite enjoyable. The toy truck that leads the way is perhaps a hint about how to best play it – by not only solving the puzzles but also goofing around with the fanciful, abstract dioramas that make up each room.
The browser version is free up until the halfway point. It’s currently on sale for about $1 on Steam.
TIGdb: Entry for Windosill