All these games, all this nonsense
March 2, 2007
Well, it’s been a while since I posted any game-related news. I apologize for the break in our coverage (under normal circumstances, it’s merely sporadic rather than nonexistent), but I was under the impression that our readership didn’t particularly care for the feature. After all, games coverage seemed incongruous next to weighty political matters and arcana from the Oxford English Dictionary. As much as *I* believe that games ought to be seen as a medium for serious ideas, I will freely admit that the gross majority of video-games are mindless at best and frequently juvenile, and as much as Yesterday’s Salad may be a bully pulpit, I don’t wish to abuse that power for my own, partisan causes. However, web-statistics indicate we actually are getting site traffic for games coverage (and not exclusively for public-transportation simulators), so misgivings be damned! I shall bring you more gaming goodness.
Today’s featured game is Within A Deep Forest, a maddening puzzle game by Nifflas, a well-known indie-gaming auteur. In the game, the player controls a bouncing ball as it attempts to stop an evil scientist (Dr. Cliche) from destroying the world. As players progress across the large and varied landscape, they find new versions of the ball which have different physical properties, allowing them to overcome different obstacles and open up new areas, but the new variants have also have corresponding drawbacks, making earlier areas more difficult. For instance, the player begins the game only with a ball that can only bounce a short height, which makes short jumps easy, but the ball is practically useless in a later area filled with lasers. The player can discover a glass ball to pass through these lasers, but the glass ball can only gain a small amount of momentum or it will shatter, making the earlier jumps extremely precarious.
WADF has been available for some time now (as has been said before, this feature of Yesterday’s Salad is unabashedly behind the curve), but it remains a serious challenge for most gamers, even veterans of puzzle games, a fact which is belied by the game’s cute protagonist and environments. Although said cutesy graphics are quite simple, they are in truth quite humorous and engrossing in their own way, especially in such areas as the “Lunar Cheese Extraction Facility.” Similarly, the game’s non-violent premise and fun, exploratory gameplay should appeal to almost anyone looking for a brief distraction.
The bottom line: It’s an incredible, free game. Highly recommended, even if you never play computer games.