The Vault №43
The Bard tells us that brevity is the soul of wit. That goes for games as well as JiG Vault introductions. So let's jump right in to this week's collection of hits that are as sweet as they are short.
- Winterbells - Gorgeous visuals, an evocative soundtrack, and gameplay that manages to be both soothing and twitchy at the same time. All that and bunnies! What more do you need? Winterbells, a simple idea platformer by Ferry Halim, may not entirely be May-appropriate, but engaging atmosphere and addictive mechanics are limited to no season. Even if your high scores may require scientific notation to post, you'll find Winterbells well worth the two minutes it will take to master.
- Purgatorium - Unlike many of it's horror game brethren, Purgatorium, a game Exmortis creator Ben Leffler made especially for JiG, wastes absolutely no time getting to the scares. Unrelentingly creepy and atmospheric, it has just the right amount of narrative to be psychological, and just the right number of jump scares to set you on edge for every second of its short length. Don't expect difficult puzzles or an uplifting ending: only a small peak into the mind of a master of Casual Gaming terror.
- Set Daily Puzzle - Set: Probably the only game for which it takes longer to explain the rules than to get completely and utterly addicted to. It's the visual-perception card game that best rewards sharp eyes and quick reflexes, and it transfers to the internet like a dream. Who knew trying to find trios of all-similar or all-different features could be so fun? Whether you prefer this prize-offering dhtml version on the Set home page, or the streamlined java-equivalent on the New York Times site, Set makes for an engaging daily brainteaser that'll get your mind working in no time at all.
- Bloxorz - Our final gem this week is the largest of the four: a puzzle game with 33 levels total. However, Bloxorz is a game best played in short bursts, so I think it qualifies. Lord knows the members of the Junior High computer class I once substituted for would speed through every minute of break trying to get to the next password... until the bell rang and they reluctantly returned to spread-sheeting. This geometric mind-bender takes a simple goal (tumbling "blox" into certain positions), and twists it into some truly devious puzzles. With its pseudo-3D aesthetic and smooth animations, DXInteractive has made a classic that deserves a spiffed-up remake for the 3DS.
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!