Games are places in which a developer can create an idea of reality, not one of this world but one of their own. So when they present something that seems familiar and then snatch the carpet out from our feet we tend to pay attention and, on occasion, drop our jaws. That’s part of the reason why we’re all so intrigued by physics-bending first person puzzle games set in a minimalist environment and leave the player to alienation and to figure out things themselves.
We don’t need to list the titles that fit into that criteria but we do need to introduce to you the latest one, which goes by the name of INIT. We highlighted INIT before as the demo was released, so why are we back again? It’s the release date that has been announced now. On June 6th 2012, INIT will be available for PC via Desura for £8.99.
For your money you will receive an abstract puzzle game with 50 “unique” environmental puzzles to solve by yourself, as well as a splitscreen experience with objective based co-op missions. We’re very intrigued by these games naturally and INIT seems particularly polished. Once again, we encourage you to try out the game’s demo to see for yourself.
The youthful duo of Facepalm Games came to IndieCade this year with their finalist (and award winner) The Swapper in tow, giving us an opportunity to check out their in-development puzzle platformer’s unique cloning mechanic at work firsthand. Set in space you, as the fearless spaceman, must journey through a god forsaken abandoned rock. Doors, switches, and eerie music try to block you in every way possible. Thankfully, you have your handy-dandy cloning gun. With it you can create up to four clones of yourself and switch your consciousnesses from one to the other if you would have the notion to do so.
The Swapper may be reminiscent of a certain Misadventures P.B. Winterbottom. Right off the bat, yeah they are a bit the same. Both are puzzle-based, and rely on a cloning mechanic to get through. However, The Swapper has a much darker tone than P.B. Winterbottom, and the puzzles are of a different breed as well.
For one, there is no time manipulation undertone to The Swapper. Everything is in real time including the clones. The puzzles in The Swapper sometimes uses a mechanic of lights that can interfere with the working of your swapper gun. Red Lights completely block the ability to swap between your clones, and blue lights make it impossible to clone anything in them. This can make some puzzles in the game very complicated and mind bending to figure out.
This game is for anyone who likes their puzzle games with a bit more gloomy/adult feel to them. The overwhelming eerie despair of the game lends an interesting feel to the game that some of you may take a liking to. The release date and platforms have not been determined yet, so keep an eye out. Here’s some gameplay footage provided by our camera, and my thumbs:
[Correspondent Ken Ellis shares his thoughts on physics-puzzler The Bridge, which was on display as a finalist at IndieCade 2011 in Culver City, CA this past weekend.]
Presented at IndieCade this year was Hypercube Games game The Bridge. It is a gravitation rotation game, in which the world can be turned left or right to allow your character access to otherwise impossible areas. While the idea behind the game is not very new (the concept has been done with many browser games) the direction The Bridge takes it is both deep and engaging. The game is what would happen if Braid met M.C. Escher.
You control a philosopher of sorts who goes on a mental journey through impossible worlds of perspective. As you move through levels walls can become platforms, and pillars can become floors. Most levels are focused on you getting to a key and opening a door with it. While relatively easy at first, it gets much harder as levels become more insane, and crazy smiling balls appear that must be controlled while you rotate the world lest they hit and kill you. Vortexes also appear to trap you in place while you travel. Thankfully, if you die you have an option to “Backtrack” and rewind time a few seconds before your death to prevent it from happening, or you can simply restart the level entirely.
This is a very artsy game with a complete slant toward puzzle solving. If that’s your thing then pick it up when it comes out (release date TBD) on XBLA and PC. Here’s a bit of gameplay footage we captured:
Headcase Games have passed along a note letting us know that the Android version of their reflex-improving puzzle title 180 Ultra is dropping the price tag for the day. Hop over to Amazon now to grab it at no cost.
180 plays as a match-3 with a flipping mechanic where you touch gems to turn them over and reveal different colors. There’s several game modes, different characters to choose from (presumably who bring different effects about), and several “hidden secrets” for players to discover. It also includes achievements and online leaderboards via OpenFeint. A time killer for any occasion, and a nice addition to the app collection if you’re looking for some depth in the casual genre.
The title typically goes for $1.99 on the distribution service and is also available on iOS devices for the same price. To give you an impression of how cool these guys are, the lite version of the game (which is free to download for Android users anytime) has an active progress bar logging player hours. Once it reaches the goal set by the devs the full version’s content will completely unlock, and all ads will be removed. So you got that going for you should you miss today’s offer.
[Correspondent Ken Ellis is back on the scene to provide a slew of IndieCade hands-on previews. He leads off with none other than the highly decorated psychological exploration title Antichamber.]
Featured at IndieCade this year (and about every other gaming convention in this hemisphere) was Alexander Bruce’s Antichamber, a game of exploration and non-linear thinking. You as a player start off in a large room with a large map on one side and a clock on the other. At first the map is empty, but as you explore more of the area you can come back to this room and teleport to anywhere you have previously been. Thankfully, you can always come back to the starting room with the “ESC” key, becuase this game will grind your mind to dust!
Antichamber plays heavily with impossible looking puzzles, perspective, and out-of-the-box-thinking. Puzzles start off rather simple, but ramp up quick in intensity and confusion. The mainly monochromatic surroundings lacking almost completely in shading may seem like poor art style, but in reality this puts the player in a constant state of discovery since everything appears the same (but isn’t) and many puzzles require you to go back or send you in endless loops.
By the good grace of god each puzzle starts with a small panel on the wall that gives you a hint as to figure out the problem at hand. These panels, however, are often cryptic themselves! Eventually you are given a gun reminiscent of the Portal gun, but instead of shooting portals it can shoot and adsorb small blocks that are used in a multitude of ways such as stepping stones, platform holders, and keys.
This game is trippy as hell, and will bend your perception of the world into impossible angles. I would recommend Antichamber to anyone who likes puzzle games, or likes being tricked. No announced release date yet, but should be a clear pick up for all the single player-minded game fans out there. Here’s some footage of yours truly expanding cerebral horizons:
Everyone’s favorite painter of cognitive dissonance, Cactus, has just revealed his latest opus, a sort of dark and droll puzzle-Robotron called Ultra Mission.
Your task is to rescue the hostages through any means necessary. Use WASD to move; use the mouse to aim. Left click is shoot; right click is kaboom. You can destroy pretty much anything. The trick is to destroy the right things, and avoid being destroyed in the process.
As a Cactus game, it’s pretty tough and tends to reward thinking outside the box (as it were). The presentation is clean and simple, with lots of particle and blur and atmospheric effects to add to the texture. It’s tracked with nifty-weird module music, and there’s not much nonsense to it. You fail the mission, the game politely asks you not to do what you just did, and you immediately try again.
You can download Ultra Missionhere. If you like your desktop icons where they are, beware of screen resizing.
Indie studio Incubator Games is looking for feedback on the concept art for their upcoming puzzle adventure game, Tribes of Mexica. Tribes uses the mythology and history of Mesoamerica as the setting for a new combat-heavy puzzle game. Players will travel Mesoamerica, help the Nahua tribe, and fight mythical beasts and gods.
Incubator has four competing designs for boss Cipactli, an Aztec crocodile monster. Here’s one version: