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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

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Filament is a puzzler about tying knots in space

Strings attached.

Filament is a game about helping people. And it's a real nest-of-tables affair, stacked several levels deep. You wake up on a spaceship suspended, gorgeously, above the slowly turning surface of an alien planet. There's a voice in your head that seems to be telling you that there's someone else stuck on the ship too, and you should work to free them. And to do that? To do that you'll need help yourself.

This is where the filament comes into Filament. When you bobble around the ship and interact with a bit of broken technology, you get the chance to un-break it via a proxy. What this means is that every now and then you find yourself playing a neat little puzzle game in which a robot attached to an endlessly unspooling cord has to power-up a bunch of nodes by touching them all with the cord. It's deeply tangible stuff. Imagine you've got a table with a few nails sticking out of it, and you've got a piece of string tied to one of the nails. Can you loop the string around all the nails without crossing over yourself? That's Filament.

Of course, you need to get the cord around all the nodes and then still be able to make it to the exit that opens up once all the nodes are activated. All of this without crossing your own path! Filament's a wonderful puzzler, and it's also wonderfully maddening - because you can get the exit door open and then realise that you've trapped yourself in anyway.

And then Filament piles on the complications: nodes that open and shut helpful little gateways, nodes that have to be activated in a certain sequence. Nodes that break the pattern. Colours. Moving nodes! All of this stuff is dropped in beautifully: you learn how something works in one puzzle, and then the next puzzle asks you to rethink everything you thought you just learned.

This interplay of the puzzles and the overworld, which itself promises to grow ever more puzzle-like, can't help but put me in mind of The Witness. Yet Filament, from the little I've played, has its own character and its own sense of pace and identity. I can't wait for this to come out properly and drive me to that kind of happy fury that only a great puzzle game can create. One to keep an eye on, this.