The Vault №102
Today's Vault doesn't have a particular theme. It's just about, y'know. Stuff. Not just any stuff! Not, like, stuff you'd order off the telly late at night while you're bored and evaluating your life decisions but later you'll stick it in the back of your closet and give it to the aunt you don't like at Christmas. This is the good stuff. The stuff you like. The stuff we like. So let's enjoy this stuff... together.
- Excit - Creative Units' sliding block puzzle game might be the closest I ever get to a spreadsheet without sulking so hard I burn a hole right through my chair. It's a simple but gorgeous sleek and professional looking little game where you need to slide around the screen, hitting obstacles, until you reach the exit. It's a gameplay idea that's been done before and usually makes its appearance as a sort of minigame incorporated into such RPG titles as Zelda or Tales of Symphonia. Without providing a lot of bells and whistles, however Excit manages to stand on its own because it's just so cleverly designed, with solutions often being simpler than the complex stage layouts suggest. It's the sort of brisk brain workout you can fiddle with in your spare time, and serves as a reminder that sometimes some cunning design and clean lines are all you really need to be a successful, engaging game.
- Tiny Game - You guys, Tonypa is basically magic, and has been putting out gorgeous, ingeniously simple little games for a while now like some fantastic factory whose only emissions are daydreams and pleasant sighs. Made exclusively for us, this itty-bitty arcade game has you traversing a maze looking for fifty randomly distributed gems. Without anything so fancy as a jump button, it becomes increasingly more puzzle-like to navigate your way to gems placed juuuuuust out of reach.... especially when it's so easy to get lost! It looks great, the soundtrack is perfect, and if you don't get creeped out when it encourages you by name (if it compliments the colour of your shirt... get out of the house.) it's pretty darned hard to put down. Gotta find 'em all!
- Arachnophilia: The Spider Web Game - Who woulda thought you could make a game about spiders and actually have it be really kinda more than a little lovely? Well, the folks at Dig Your Own Grave, apparently, who served up this mesmerizing arachnid simulation about building your web to catch enough bugs to survive the night. With a simple, stark presentation and a laid-back, twangy soundtrack, everything about this game just sort of invites you to sink right into it, which is pretty easy to do. Despite the simple concept, it's actually fairly challenging, since different types of insects bring different risks versus reward, but if all you want to do is use your spidey skills to get all artistic and whatnot, the game has a mode for that, too. Mellow, beautiful, and clever in all the right ways, this is still one of the best examples of a near-perfect conceptual casual game, perfect for relaxing on the old intertubes.
While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!