- PC/Mac - Steam - £4.49
If we're going to applaud something old in the world of Flash-powered adventuring, then it's only fair to also unfurl the bunting in celebration of State Of Play's charming addition to the scene.
Via a process that almost certainly involves a liberal amount of voodoo and assorted witchcraft, London's State Of Play created a 'set' for the game out of a paper and cardboard model house, wired up miniature doll's house lighting, and then filmed the results to create what is undoubtedly one of the most unique-looking games around.
Set in and around the confines of the protagonist's granddad's house, you find yourself locked out, and faced with the not-inconsiderable challenge of restoring power to the home via various perplexing puzzles.
In the traditions of barmy adventuring, some are straightforward (such as identifying keys from their outlines), while others venture perilously close to the brain-breaking. Again, with solutions existing online, help is at hand, but the game itself should have perhaps negated the need to resort to external aid via some sort of in-game hint system. Maybe I was just having a thick day. It has been known.
As the first chapter in an ongoing series this is a promising start, but one that will sink or swim on the quality of its puzzles. If State Of Play can balance things up there, this quiet optimism could break out into something altogether noisier.
Ikibago: The Caribbean Jewel
- DSiWare - 500 DSiWare Points (£4.50)
- Also available on PC.
What is this Ikibago jewel, and why must we continually match like-coloured barrels in the name of piratical glory? Search me, but it makes for a mildly engaging way to spend an otherwise empty hour of your life.
A modicum of Googleduggery reveals that Neko Entertainment's latest DSiWare effort has, in fact, been skulking in darkened corners of the casual PC scene for a few years now, but try not to hold that against it. Indeed, on the luxurious dual screen, touch screen environs of the DSi, it's a belated homecoming of sorts - or at least it would be were it anything special.
For a long while, the game struggles to get out of first gear as you face a succession of perfunctory challenges, involving arranging identical coloured barrels in columns of three or more as they scroll from left to right. Yay, match three!
Fortunately there's more to it than that, but the game certainly takes its time introducing more spirited tasks. Once things get going, you'll face locked barrels, and be forced to collect keys, or meet a combo target involving, perhaps, arranging barrels in a specific shape, or creating certain types of combos.
If one of your columns doesn't meet the minimum 'match-three' requirements, you lose a life, and suffer unspecified pirate-based indignity, but it takes an irritatingly long time before such an eventuality bubbles to the surface.
When they do, you'll have various problems to overcome, such as monkeys changing your barrel colour, or inclement weather, or limited light, or a parrot pecking at your testicles. One of these might not actually be in the game.