Cursed Travels: The Shattered Labyrinth

by Casper van Dommelen.

Cursed Travels is a puzzle game (of the riddle sort), built around a labyrinth where you have to connect the rooms yourself.

Something that’s emerging as a bit of a pattern for me is that I really appreciate it when games have the confidence to let me get a bit stuck, or lost, or confused. Commercial games tend to be endlessly playtested so as to prevent anyone from ever having a “bad” time, which is a shame because there’s a lot of interesting stuff you miss out on, you know?

(If you get stuck, this video is a good place to look for hints!)

[Play online (itch.io)]

(via FreeGamePlanet, thanks!)

4 comments

  1. Yooo this is cool. I know the graphical style probably harkens back to some computer that wasn’t popular in my country but my immediate point of reference is your game Don’t Look Back, which I loved as a kid.

    As for what you said about games letting you get stuck, the second fountain really reminded of a lot of moments in Super Metroid where it’ll lock you in space in ways that feel organic and softlocky until you emerge with a better understanding of some core mechanic. I love that sort of design.

  2. Yeah, this is really, really great, hitting a perfect sweet spot between cryptic and smooth. (For one thing, it introduces a time-saving/repetition-avoiding device at just the perfect time. But I also happened to take a screenshot of something odd-looking early on, without which I could see someone easily getting stuck for a while…unless that information is duplicated or pointed to somewhere else that I missed.) Highly, highly recommended.

  3. Casper’s released a new game, and it’s another really great one: a medium-sized Metroid-like with a good, Knytt-like feel and some great new ideas: https://ferociter.itch.io/cataractae . A common thread here is that Casper’s making “difficult” games that simultaneously anticipate the players’ pain-points and (often near-silently) accommodate them.

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