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Digging up the Dirt on Life+

359igq1 Life+ is a rather adorable little exploration platformer by Pastel. The game is long in development, and the development blog is updated only infrequently. The game is coming along well, though, is smooth and gorgeous, and incorporates several interesting ideas.

The main mechanic is a digging/pluck-and-throw mechanism rather like Super Mario Bros. 2, FiNCK, or Rescue Rangers — the difference being, you can rip up a clump of floor nearly anywhere. Some objects are heavier than others, and you’ll need to power-up before you can seize them. Once you’re holding something, you can toss it, bowl it, or lock onto an enemy and sling from anywhere.

The levels are saturated with detail to examine, files and documents to uncover, and secret areas to dig and explore. Each area (plains, mountains, industrial areas) focuses on different mechanics and design conceits (“platform jumping, combat, puzzle solving, item hunting and so on”). There’s a day/night cycle, five minutes to an in-game hour; often the lights are out, and maps aren’t always located in obvious places.

The character’s expressions and behavior try to hint at current events and potential actions. Each enemy and each area seems to have its own little story, explaining its presence in the game.

From the looks of it, Pastel has also included several mock 1980s arcade games as a mysterious bonus.

Work is progressing steadily, and a new (silent) trailer is available. You might subscribe to the game’s RSS feed, to keep abreast of updates.