Gaming for Grown Ups
13th February 2013 16:00:00
Posted by Edd Harwood

Just Browsing: Puzzlely Platformy...

Where have you been? Just Browsing took a long hiatus. No-one knows why. Perhaps the creator undertook a pilgrimage to a far-away temple to get in touch with the spirit of the browser game? Perhaps he studied under a master sensei in the mystic art of self-tower defence to protect the world from the terror of the bad economy. Perhaps he just went into hibernation with a giant furry bear for comfort. No-one really knows.

Lots of good things have happened to the simple browser game in recent months. With the constant growth of the indie market, the games being churned out are expertly accomplished and lovely timesinks. Conversely lots of bad things have happened too. the bad economy has put a dent in the funding that developers can expect to receive from their games, more than halving their income for such projects resulting in many creators changing tactic or simply moving on. In-game purchases, Kickstarter, Indie-go-go, Steam Greenlight and many other outlets have provided some form of a solution for the humble developer but these still put the onus on the player to pay for the product...

Perhaps this is no bad thing either. Perhaps we should learn that to get good content we should actually put forward some money, instead of letting irrelevant advertising pretend to be a solution. Perhaps the standard browser game experience, and therefore sites such as Candystand, Armor Games, Newgrounds and Kongregate are on the decline. Or maybe we all just want to play games on our phones and Facebook now. Who knows?

But you know what? There are still some good quality free games out there to be enjoyed and savoured. People make games because they want to. Maybe they just want the world to play them. Unless generous people like this die out, there will always be something out there. And that’s a good thing.

Here are a couple of lovely-jumpy-twitchy-thinky-gamey games to enjoy while you ponder over what has just been said.

SkullFace - Greg Sergeant

Twitch platforming games. Who doesn’t love them? Instant death, instant restarts, instant pain, instant ecstasy. Taking the ideas from indie darling Super Meat Boy and other one-room-based twitch platformers such as N+, SkullFace is a surprisingly entertaining and gratifying experience. Perhaps the difficulty threshold is set slightly lower than the previously mentioned games, yet I actually find it a fairly refreshing experience to be able to survive levels without breaking the keyboard.
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It is not perfect and there are a few control issues, particularly while trying to wall jump, but for a quick dive-in session it is tough to beat. Soon you will be jumping, diving, dodging and flying around the screen like a ninja. The final boss is also a killer. Check it out.

Qoosh - Aethos Games

You know that Portal thing that every puzzle game now does. You know, the one where you’re in a science lab and there are experiments and you’re supposed to break out, and there’s cake. Qoosh does that. But at least it doesn’t take itself seriously.

Qoosh is actually a surprisingly novel and clever concept which effectively combines the standard move and jump mechanic of a platformer with a time-slowing warp ability, switching your position with whatever lies at your destination. The result are some interesting, if perhaps under-developed puzzles.
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Qoosh should go further than it does, and fails to really push the novel concept to its limits. Perhaps it could stretch the Portal-esque testing storyline further, or make the puzzles slightly less obvious. At the same time, the game should be played simply to experience the warping puzzles and attempting to wrap your brain around a solution. Well worth a few minutes of your time.