Micesweeper

by alissa.

Find the cheese while carefully avoiding the mousetraps. A cute and cozy version of minesweeper, from the creator of the previously featured Worryspider in Picnic Panic.

The changes here to the usual minesweeper rules are subtle, but really interesting! You lose the ability to just probe any arbitrary space, but to make up for it, you get more information about what’s on the board thanks to the picross style borders. It leads to some interesting little puzzles that feel very different from the usual minesweeper ones.

It’s a small detail, but I really like how the game allows you to make mistakes – hitting a “mine” isn’t game over – you just lose a life, and then you carry on. No big deal. Sometimes that’s exactly what you want, you know?

[Download for Windows (glorioustrainwrecks.com)]

LEVEL 1 DAY 0 – 70

by 5381.

For the past couple of months, “5381” has been making a new puzzlescript game every day. In this series, the layout and appearance of the level is always the same – it’s one of the first examples in the puzzlescript documentation:

… but the actual rules are different every time. LEVEL 1 DAY 0 starts out with the standard Sokoban rules:

… but then in the next game, the rules change! Like maybe the walls move instead of the player?

… in the next, maybe something mysterious is happening, and the puzzle becomes figuring out the logic behind how it all works.

… and maybe in the next, it’s less about creating a puzzle and more about just surprising the player with something completely unexpected.

There are 70 in total in the series, and while the quality does bounce around a bit from game to game, the sheer creativity and variety on show here never stops being impressive. A really great example of what good constraints can inspire.

[Play on Itch.io]

Tongue-Tied

by Nathan Powless-Lynes.

Tongue-Tied is a game about licking a frozen metal pole, and then trying to free yourself. Oh my god. That is a solid game jam idea right there.

Honestly, I’m not sure how you could improve this – it’s kind of a perfect videogame. It’s short, it’s got a lot of great moments along the way, and it’s got a fantastic punchline. Highly recommended.

[Download for Windows (itch.io)]

Fallen Shovel

by Robin ‘Silkworm’ Velu.

In Fallen Shovel, you play as “ShoveLucifer”, imprisoned in Heaven for Shovel related sins. Can you descend through the nine circles of hell to claim your rightful place on the throne? Can you?

Anyway, this is great! It’s a really nice feeling platformer, with some cool level design along the way. I particularly like how it establishes a little vocabulary of game elements, only to then re-purpose things as you get further down. A really nicely made thing, especially for a Ludum Dare 48 hour compo entry.

[Download for Windows (itch.io)]

Mutants From The Deep

by Locomalito and Gryzor87.

This is a brand new game for the MSX, the 1983 home computer mostly sold in Japan, probably most famously associated with Metal Gear. It’s by Locomalito and Gryzor87, the long time collaborators behind many fantastic retro inspired arcade games (including: l’Abbaye des Morts, Maldita Castilla, and my personal favourite, The Curse of Issyos).

Mutants From The Deep doesn’t pull any punches – the game expects you to complete its 7 stages on a single health bar, with no continues. It promises around 25 minutes of game length – “once fully mastered”. This is the sort of thing that, for a lot of people, is going to be totally off-putting, and fair enough. Personally, I find it kinda refreshing. This is a game for a niche audience, and it leans into that, hard.

What I will say for it is this: Locomalito and Gryzor87 do not make hard games for the sake of being “retro”. They have a long history of making deliberate, thoughtfully designed games that push players towards absolute perfection. It’s very easy to make a mess of this sort of thing, and really, really hard to design a game that gets this right – but somehow, Locomalito has managed to design several of them. So, I think making a more determined effort than usual here might be worthwhile.

The windows version just came out yesterday, and you can download it from here:

[Download for Windows (locamalito.com)]

…but I recommend the officially ported MSX version (by Manuel Pazos and Fernando GarcĂ­a), which is how the game is really meant to be played.

[Play online (HTML5 MSX Emulator)]

[Download MSX .rom file (retroworks.es)]