Frog Finder is an educational puzzle game, with a series of abstract puzzles about finding the frog hidden in a grid.
I think I had an expectation going in that it was going to be somehow subversive, somehow… Frog Fractiony? But that’s not it. If anything, it’s anti-subversive, like it has a kind of charming earnestness, which is something I guess you get in kids games. It’s adorable! It made me feel like a toddler.
It’s hard to describe – it manages to capture a nostalgia I didn’t know I had, for these alien-feeling early edutainment games that evoke a sense of wonder and joy.
I feel like comedy and horror have a lot in common. Is this just me? A lot of it is that both genres have a lot of carefully-timed empty space where you’re waiting for something to happen (or dreading it). But it’s about set-up as well – they’re both genres where someone embarks on a plan that’s obviously a bad idea, that’s clearly going to end badly, where all you can do is put a pillow up to your face and say “I can’t watch this anymore, tell me when it’s over”. I think this is why you get so much horror that ends up being unintentionally funny.
I really enjoyed this game. Though, while it’s all very scary, it always feels like less of a jump scare and more of a punchline.
I just came across this really nice platformer from back in May that I missed – it’s a new game from the creator of Imscared and FIREWORK.
Memorial Pillage is a self-described “love letter to CORE’s Tomb Raider”, and focuses on the kind of weighty movement you don’t see in a lot of platformers anymore. Your movement has inertia – how far you jump depends on how fast you’re moving. Cool!
Over the last decade or so, it feels like indie platformers have settled on a kind-of “correct” way to do things, so it’s refreshing to play something that pulls in a different direction, and takes inspiration from places less explored.
Two quick notes for this one:
There’s an “optional” tutorial accessible from the main menu that really shouldn’t be optional, since it explains a couple of non-standard control things that are important. TLDP; you can drop through platforms by double tapping down, and if you press CTRL it slows down time.
Let me spare you some rage: you can’t walk into spikes from the side, or climb up onto a platform that has spikes on it. That place where you’re trying to do that? You can just jump right over them!
Dread the Rabbit is a cleverly designed and very accessible roguelike. More than that, it’s one of those games that just feels really nice to play, because so much thought has gone into how it looks and sounds and feels to play from moment to moment.
Cohesive, is the word I’d use to describe it.
It’s got more of a casual pace than many games in the genre – runs are long, and they can take a while to ramp up. But once they get going, they get really, really interesting. I had a lot of fun playing this!
Here’s why a lot of people don’t like puzzle games, I think: they demand a perfect answer. The really good ones require you to sit back, stare at the screen for 10 minutes, and then finally make that single deliberate move that makes it all fall into place. Until you finally figure it out, some of these games can feel like you’re going around in circles – is this it? No? What about this? Aghh!
I really like this game because it rewards that process of going around in circles – you control two slidy pieces at the same time, and you’re trying to visit every square in the level. Each level feels like it’s a dozen puzzles super-imposed on-top of each other, and you’re solving bits and pieces of different puzzles each time you move. It feels playful and satisfying in a way that’s very rare for the genre.
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?