There's a lot to be said about the way download gaming has dramatically broadened the types of games you can now buy. Rather than just producing cheap-and-cheerful versions of the most popular genres, most developers have headed down the path less travelled.
The consequence of this is that we've ended up the best of both worlds, where the most treasured ideas of the past are revived, while new ideas get boldly premiered - sometimes in the same game.
It feels like developers have managed to get their creative confidence back in a way that simply wasn't possible only a few years ago. Not everything will work, of course, but the most important thing is that there are a hell of a lot more interesting and original games doing the rounds now, and that can only be good for the health of a risk-averse 'blockbuster' sector that seems intent on focusing solely on safe sequels to ride out the rest of the generation.
- PSN Minis - Free to PS Plus subscribers. On general release soon.
- Coming soon to PC/Mac and iPad with extra levels.
It's not every day that you have to write about a game that places participants in a journey through the world of abstractions, exploring the world of supremacist dreams and eclectic futuristic compositions.
In what purports to be the first part of an on-going series, Kaleidoscope aims to bring its 'Interactive Synaesthesia Project' to the confused masses.
What that means in vaguely coherent terms is that Kaleidoscope consists of level 'paintings', which operate on their own set of abstract rules. There are no on-screen prompts to tell you what to do, but through basic trial and error, it's possible to slowly pick up on what may or may not constitute 'progress'.
In the first, it's apparent that pressing left or right fires a blob from the corresponding side of the screen, and if you happen to hit one of the floating shape fragments, it causes a shape to appear somewhere else on the screen.
After a few minutes, you'll move on to another 'painting' with a love heart in the middle. In this instance, you can cause other love hearts to appear by repeatedly hitting the right direction as matter appears from the edges of the screen. You won't even know if what you're doing is correct, but once the time runs out, you'll gain XP and be able to play the game for a little longer next time.
Do this a few times and eventually you'll find yourself able to sneak onto the next stage, where a collection of squares strung along the centre appear to require you to somehow repel smaller squares heading towards them. It's almost unfathomable, but through basic intuition and repetition, the fog begins to clear.
Kaleidoscope makes almost no sense, and yet this permanent state of addled delirium only makes it all the more fascinating. Turn on, tune in, drop out.