It should not be this chill. It is somehow very chill.
Page 14, Game 24: adjacency by sleepy macaw
Here are some shapes. All the shapes have an outline of a particular color. Some of the shapes are filled-in — likely with a different color. Click one of the filled-in shapes, and all the shapes next to it will be filled-in, too. Get the inside colors of the shapes to match their outlines, and you have won. Try to do it in the fewest moves possible — or, you know, don’t. That’s your business, mate.
Everything about this game oozes minimalist professionalism. Textured black backgrounds, gentle neon-esque colors that transition smoothly from one state to the next, a chill down-tempo electronic soundtrack. I could see someone banging-out a rudimentary version of this game in a one-day jam; the actual game is what happens when you take those dirt-simple basics and meticulously flesh them out with well-considered graphics and sound.
The puzzles, of course, get steadily more challenging as the game progresses. More colors, more shapes, more mechanisms to manipulate the board state.
These puzzles should get downright frustrating … yet I found the chill vibe permeating the endeavor rubbing off on me to the point where I honestly wasn’t getting that frustrated. The game doesn’t punish you for fucking up and winding up in an unrecoverable state; just click a button, and all is forgiven. You learn anything from that attempt, buddy? Good, good. Try again. I’m sure you’ll get it. I have faith in you.
Does it seem impossible to get one color past another without one of them being destroyed? No, friend, we wouldn’t do that to you. Don’t worry. You’ll figure it out sooner or later. You got this.
The game feels like solving a puzzle with Bob Ross. I mean that in a good way.
If I have a complaint, it’s that the game tends to under-explain some of its later mechanics; the aesthetic is “Click until you understand it,” but some of it would really benefit from just a few words explaining what’s going on. But like I said, there’s no punishment for abandoning a level to just fucking around until it makes sense, and the game makes it damned hard to be frustrated by anything.
I like this game; it’s easily one of the standouts in this playthrough. I definitely feel like I’ll come back to it. I have more puzzles to solve.
All right, we gonna start a streak of really good games here?
Page 5, Game 4: Ironsworn: Delve by Shawn Tomkin
“A massive expansion and toolkit for the Ironsworn tabletop roleplaying game.”
Ah, supplemental material for a tabletop game I don’t actually play. Don’t anticipate being as into this one. But I can certainly poke around it a bit.