witness lights

The unrelenting science of The Witness

When I played a demo version of The Witness at a Sony event in 2013, I was offered two approaches: 1) I could be lead through a basic tutorial of the way the game’s puzzle systems work, or 2) I could be left to wander around the island landscape and discover it at my whim. I chose the latter option, only encountered a handful of the game’s signature line-tracing puzzle panels, and spent the rest of my time gawking at the natural and architectural framework of the island. I strolled down to a seashore under a desert cliff where a…

Told No One

Secrets sit behind the devilish sound puzzles of Told No One

“You told no one, right?” This is the language we use when speaking of secrets. Something was found out and it must be kept as unknown as possible. It’s telling that Karachi-based artist NAWKSH uses these words to title his videogame Told No One. For it seems to be a tightly woven secret itself. It’s hiding something, perhaps many things, beyond the arcane rituals it tests you with. From the outside, Told No One seems simple enough. The description reads: “five short sound puzzles / interactive experiments in greyscale.” Sounds quite pleasant. But once you head inside it’s immediately clear that…

twofold inc

Twofold inc. makes matching tiles feel like shooting a gun

Who is this fumbling little alien? Looking like the offspring of Kang and Kodos, cyclopean and tentacled, working some dead-end 9-to-5. In space, nonetheless. And without a clue. No, really, who are you little dude? This alien’s job is to not know anything. It’s a tutorial alien that is stupefied by me as I work out how to play twofold inc. That’s right: inc. I’m working for a company in this game. Or, at least, this alien is supposed to be. But I’m doing its job for it. I suppose that’s fine. I mean, I don’t mind, not with the bleeps…


Dreii to bring people together in (almost) wordless collaboration

Take your fingers out your (p)lugholes and listen up: Etter Studio has let the world know that its “collaborative physics conundrum” Dreii will be drifting onto Steam (for PC), iOS, and Android on February 2nd. This is fab news. To explain, Dreii is the new version of Etter’s European Design Award-winning co-op puzzler Drei (2014). The immediate difference between these two versions of the same game is that Drei is only available for iOS (on the App Store) while Dreii is also heading to Android, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and Wii U. It will allow for people to play together regardless of…

Pony Island

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled might be this videogame

What do you see when told to imagine a videogame titled “Pony Island”? Verdant fields of grazing horses, foals nestling by their mothers, others leaping on spindly legs? Sorry, but I have to break this to you now—a game called Pony Island exists and it is nothing like that. The title is deliberately misleading. It’s a game that’s made to build up your jolly expectations and then crumble them, nastily, right in front of your face. As horrendous as that sounds, stick with it. The creator of Pony Island compares it to 2012’s Frog Fractions which, if you’ve played it…


Euclidean Lands looks like the next great mobile puzzler

It’s nice to see how much care recent mobile games, like Monument Valley, Lara Croft GO, and Hitman GO before it, have put into building a distinct art style beyond the boring visual polish seen in the free-to-play market. A new game called Euclidean Lands seems to combine the best from the aforementioned titles: a bright and colorful world that’s part board game, part abstract, toy-like puzzler that spins and rotates like the Escher-esque worlds of Monument Valley. We first got a look at Euclidean Lands last month, when it was only a nameless collection of lovely gifs. Now it has a trailer, showing off…


In The Pedestrian, it’s the signs that’ll do the walking

The genericized male figure has escaped his perch on the bathroom sign and soon his female counterpart in the gender binary shall do the same. That’s not bad as a political statement, but how does it fare as a game? The Pedestrian, which developers Skookum Arts have slated for a mid-2016 release, turns this timely premise into an adventure game. The male figure is not running off, Man of La Mancha-style, to break down the gender binary; no, he’s out to rescue the object of his affections, the female bathroom figure. He travels the only way he knows how: through…

tick tock isle

Go back in time to save time in the adorable Tick Tock Isle

Described as a spiritual successor to the delightful Cat Poke, Tick Tock Isle is a point and click adventure game that doesn’t want to reinvent the wheel—and it’ll charm the pants out of anyone who thinks that wheel is outdated or boring. The demo was originally released four years ago by the duo of Jason Boyer and Ryan Pietz. “We spent an entire summer designing our biggest game yet,” Boyer writes on his blog. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have anyone to program it beyond a demo, so it lingered in our unfulfilled dreams folder.” Finally in April 2015, they decided to “make our dream a reality and…


The Witness won’t have music, and for good reason

The use of silence can be just as important and impactful as a well-chosen or carefully crafted soundtrack. This is the gist of what Jonathan Blow, creator of Braid, has to say in a new blog post on his upcoming puzzle game The Witness. According to Blow, “The Witness is a game about being perceptive: noticing subtleties in the puzzles you find, noticing details in the world around you. If we slather on a layer of music that is just arbitrarily playing, and not really coming from the world, then we’re adding a layer of stuff that works against the…