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Geek of the Week: Ty Taylor solved the puzzle and found success with his indie video games – GeekWire

Ty Taylor, Seattle-based creator of The Bridge and Tumblestone video games.

The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild sounds like an organization where scientists might gather to stare into telescopes. In fact, Quantum is a 6-year-old Seattle video game company a shining star, if you will, among small independent studios.

Ty Taylor, our latest Geek of the Week, is the founder and creator responsible for the success of the studio, which has put out two of the most award-winning and highly rated independent video games in the world: The Bridge and Tumblestone.

Taylorgraduated from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, earning both a BS and MS in Computer Science in only four years.

After university I immediately started working at Microsoft as an engineer on the Xbox One speech recognition team, Taylor said. But while working my 40-hour weekdays at Microsoft, I was also working 40-hour night and weekends to create my own games on the side.

Taylor kept that up for three years, eventually shipping his first game, The Bridge, in 2013 while still at Microsoft.

I was immediately making more money from the sales of this game than my Microsoft salary, so I decided to leave that company to grow my own, Taylor said.

In just the three years since leaving, Quantum has earned over a million dollars in gross revenue and has grown from just me to over a dozen contributors to the projects, selling copies of our games in every country in the world digitally, as well as creating physical discs that have been sold in Toys R Us, Target, and Best Buy.

The latest creation is the action-puzzle game Tumblestone, which just had its mobile launch on Monday.

Learn more abut this weeks Geek of the Week, Ty Taylor:

What do you do, and why do you do it?I make independent video games. Unlike major AAA games like Call of Duty or Skyrim, which have millions of dollars of budget and hundreds of people working on them, independent games are created by very small teams with very limited budgets. Like most indie game developers, I started creating them as passion projects. Playing video games was always a hobby of mine growing up, and Ive always enjoyed building things, so creating games is something that I naturally gravitated towards. But starting out, I didnt view making independent games to be a sustainable job, especially with AAA competitors who have more marketing budget to spend on a single commercial than an entire indie games budget. But once Steam (Valves digital PC game distribution platform) started to become popular, the ability to make money on a game that I created by myself in my living room on evenings and weekends suddenly became possible. And thats exactly what I did when I released The Bridge early in 2013. That enabled me to leave Microsoft and grow my own company. Weve recently released our second game, Tumblestone, which is one of the highest-rated independent games on Metacritic.

Whats the single most important thing people should know about your field?A big misconception is that game developers spend all day playing video games. In fact, its quite the opposite over the past 12 years that Ive been making games, my desire to regularly play them has dropped significantly. As a designer, I will play my own game, but only very specific sections of it as Im designing, developing, and testing the product. There are so many people whose response when I tell them that Im a game developer is that must be the most fun job ever. Well, it might be a cool and interesting job, but with over 80 hours a week put into the job, spending years on the same project, and sacrificing sleep and sanity at times to finish a project, the job transitions from fun to obsession very quickly.

Where do you find your inspiration?For game ideas, I find much more inspiration in art and the world around me than I do from other games. I like all of my creations to be very original since with so many games releasing every year, its important to stand out from the crowd. With that said, I prefer to look outside of the world of video games for inspiration. For my first successful game, The Bridge, I looked to the works of M.C. Escher. Ive always been fascinated by the impossible realities that he had created, and Ive always imagined what it would be like to walk around inside of one of his drawings. I created a game that allowed people to do just that, and because I looked towards a medium far removed from video games, I was able to create a unique and somewhat groundbreaking game out of the concept.

Whats the one piece of technology you couldnt live without, and why?A computer a device I require to program and produce video games. While I would still be able to answer emails from a smartphone, theres no way I could create games without a computer. Since thats my livelihood, I literally could not live without one!

Whats your workspace like, and why does it work for you?I work out of a Seattle-based co-working space called the Indies Workshop, where independent game developers come together to work on their own projects. There are about 25 people in an open office working on their own projects or in small teams its incredibly inspiring and helpful to surround myself with creative and talented people, and even though were not working on the same projects, we learn quite a bit from each other just from the lunches and other interactions that we have in the workspace. Plus, its in an incredible location in Capitol Hill, near almost all of the game industry events that happen in the Seattle area.

Your best tip or trick for managing everyday work and life. (Help us out, we need it.)I used to think that the trick to this was to physically separate my work and my home, only to realize that if I put too much of a workload on myself, I wont be able to escape it no matter where I am. Ive found the best way to manage a work/life balance is to not enforce deadlines or other pressures for finishing a task within a certain timeframe. If you dont feel like working on something at a particular point in time, then dont, and if you do, then do, regardless of the number of hours youve put in that day or week already. This somewhat hedonistic work schedule has allowed me to let go of the stresses of finishing tasks in particular orders or by particular times, and has made me happier, allowed me to work from anywhere and at any time, and made me overall more productive when I am at work.

Mac, Windows or Linux?While Mac is beautiful and Linux is versatile, Windows is a necessity. When developing games for dozens of systems and using nearly a hundred tools programs in the process, Windows is the only system that really makes sense plus, as a PC gamer, a large portion of my Steam library is unplayable on anything except for Windows.

Kirk, Picard, or Janeway?Han Solo. Was I supposed to name a captain from Star Trek? Id rather go to a galaxy far, far away than just within our own.

Transporter, Time Machine or Cloak of Invisibility?With a time machine, you could go into the future when a transporter and cloak of invisibility have already been invented, then come back to have all three easy decision if you blissfully ignore all the paradoxes.

If someone gave me $1 million to launch a startup, I would This is basically my situation now, minus being given the money in advance. But if tomorrow I were given an additional million, Id keep doing what Im doing now, just at a faster and bigger scale. I write down every idea Ive ever had in a Google Doc, regardless of how good, interesting, or feasible the idea is I write down everything. And this document is nearly 50 pages of one-paragraph game and app ideas. By myself, Ill never be able to create everything that I invent, but with a large enough team to delegate to, the dream of bringing all of my ideas to life would be a possibility.

I once waited in line for Before I started creating games full-time, I was a pretty avid console gamer. Ive definitely waited in line outside of GameStop for midnight releases of a Halo or Elder Scrolls game.

Your role models:I look up to game industry veterans who have started with a vision for a game, built up a company around it, executed well on the idea and design to bring it to life, and have created impactful experiences that have shaped the state of video games. This includes people like Todd Howard, John Carmack, and Jonathan Blow.

Greatest game in history:Tumblestone! But, I may be biased in that answer, so to name a game that I did not create, Id have to go with Tetris one of the most-played and most-influential games in the history of computer gaming.

Best gadget ever:Smartphones in general. We live in a pretty awesome future with the ability to browse the web, Google something, answer emails, send texts, and play games all from a relatively small device that fits in your pocket.

First computer:A TI-83 calculator, which is technically a computer for how I used it. When I was only 11, before having my own computer at home, I had this calculator for school, and I quickly discovered the ability to program on it and taught myself how to do so. My first video games were created on that little device, before I learned C++ and started coding on real computers years later.

Current phone:The Nexus 5X its a great phone for a reasonable price. The best part is that it works with Google Fi, one of the best cell phone plans Ive ever seen and would highly recommend to anyone.

Favorite app:Wabbitemu a bit of a hidden gem on Android, this allows you to have a fully operational TI-83 calculator in your pocket, giving you the ability to do anything from basic math, to graphing, to programming on your phone. As a software engineer, I use this app almost every day.

Favorite cause:Theres a Seattle-based charity called Childs Play, whose goal is to provide games and toys to sick children in hospitals. Some of the most emotionally impactful emails that Ive ever received have been from people with serious or painful illnesses who find escapism through games, thanking me for a wonderful distraction. Being able to use video games for so much good, distracting children in hospitals all over the country from their illnesses, is such a rewarding and satisfying feeling.

Most important technology of 2016:Advancements in clean energy sources. I think the planet is on a pivoting point for when its too late to recover from impacts of burning fossil fuels, and I was happy to see the price of solar panels drop so much in 2016, as well as the more widespread availability of all-electric cars and charging stations.

Most important technology of 2018:Advances in self-driving car technology. While it still isnt perfect, and still wont quite be in 2018, having completely autonomous vehicles on all the roads will be one of the most impactful ways that computer science and artificial intelligence will have ever helped mankind. Tens of thousands of automobile deaths happen every year, caused by human error, which can be nearly completely avoided in the future with self-driving car technology.

Final words of advice for your fellow geeks:From a creativity and invention standpoint write down every idea. Even if you have hundreds of ideas that you might never get around to creating. And, as much as possible, prototype those ideas. Build quick proof-of-concepts for your inventions, because when something has potential, youll likely know it right away, or youll know to abandon the idea and move on to the next one.

Website: Ty Taylor

Twitter: @IMakeIndieGames

LinkedIn: Ty Taylor

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Geek of the Week: Ty Taylor solved the puzzle and found success with his indie video games – GeekWire

Review: Why I can’t stop killing a cute, puzzle-solving dog named Fidel – Ars Technica

Enlarge / That says Ars Approved for a reason.

I was already in love with the new video gameFidel: Dungeon Rescue before I realized I had missed one of its most important buttons.What greater compliment can you pay a video game? Fidel is so good that I was hooked even when I didn’t entirely understand it.

One month into my time with the game,I’m still not an expert. Fidel is among the hardest puzzle games I’ve ever played, but I keep coming back, groveling like a… you know.Fidel has everything I want in a brain-busting puzzle experience: quick sessions, a carefully balanced level generator, satisfying payoffs for intelligence, decisions full of stakes, and a dedicated “bark” button. (No, that’s not the button I was talking about.)

Walking from the start to the finish isn’t easy, especially as you manage a measly health bar and some specific enemy-killing rules.

Each run starts with a simple mini-challenge that doubles as a practical lesson. Here, you learn that these masked creatures are harmless to eat if they’re asleep, but that any noise (or chomp) next to them will wake them up.

Racking up experience is crucial to success because those “level up” moments refill your health bar. Certain enemies are a pain to take out, but doing so is sometimes worth it.

Occasional boss sequences appear to break up the puzzle rooms and force different decisions.

One boss sequence requires that you juggle your steps and the steps of a rival robo-pup.

Eating a vampire has a very different effect than eating other monsters. Also, note the ghost here: it will follow your leash and end your run, but it only appears if you’ve either spent too long in a puzzle room (you get a robust timer, at least) or if you accidentally lose all of your health.

Fidel leads players into its puzzles with zero formal instructions. Instead, each session starts with a small “you can’t fail this” challenge, followed by a suite of randomly generated puzzle rooms.After a few of these “quick lesson, quick death” instances, the game’s basics become clear.You’re a dog, and you must eat yourway through dangerous dungeons to find and save your elderly owner.

This plays out in top-down, 2D puzzle rooms, and Fidel cannot cross over any steps on his way to each room’sexit. (Because you’d trip over your own leash, you silly mutt!) The game supports a simplerewind for your steps, which is necessary because the path you take matters. Fidel must consume the dungeon’s creatures in order to gain experience points (XP), but many of the things you eat will dropyour health(shown as Zelda-like hearts). In good news, levels are full of health kits, and coins can be spent on things like health boosts and weapons, so you’ll constantly spend and refill your health.

Your challenge is to find the right path that lets you gobble up as many XP-granting foes as possiblewhile picking up crucial health packs and coins. XP is essential, by the way, because it increases your puppy’s maximum health level (and any level-up moment refills your entire health bar). You’ll have to play a few sessions before you come to appreciate how much those health bar expansions make or break your progress.

The first thing I loved about Fidel is that nearly none of its levels can be beaten perfectly. The random-level algorithm powering Fidelstarts by making players bend their brains just to find “good”paths, but once you approach that kind of mastery, you will realize: Fidelrarelylays out a neat, “this is the only obvious path” kind of room. This design decision forces players to make tough choices, and theseare key, asyour pup constantlyprepares for challenges to come. Maybe you try to scrape by with more health and less XP in one room; maybe you sacrifice morehealth in the next in order to grab a few extra coins.

No item or XPgained in a single Fidel run carries over to the next gameexcept, of course, knowledge. I got a significant taste of this once I figured out how to switch my starting point in every puzzle room.

Fidel intentionally holds this information back for a certain amount of time. You will land in a puzzle room, see an exit on the other side, and start mapping out a good path through enemies, health packs, and coins. This focuses your attention on certain tacticslike the turtle who won’t hurt you if you eat it from behind or the “boss” spiders that become harmless if three smaller spiders nearby are eaten in successionand the fact that you can’t always route a perfect path to eat some of Fidel’shigher-XP creatures.

Fidel release trailer

Eventually, after dozens of deaths, Istarted a game with a seemingly impossible mini-challenge. I would die if I approached a scene from the left, I noticed. I furrowed my brow. I tapped some buttons. Lo and behold, my sweet pup reappeared on the other side of the level. My original exit had become my entrance, and vice versa.

Whoa holy jeeps. Fidel justdoubled in size and scope. Now, I had the additional high-level question and challenge of picking my entrances and my exits in every puzzle room. I thought this might “help” me play better, but all it did was double my min-max mental workload in every puzzle room. Start from the left, and I’ll take out more simple turtles. Start from the right, however, and maybe I’ll pin down that incredibly tricky, item-destroying gnome.

In great news, Fideloffers a generous “try-and-rewind” system. Retrace any steps you’ve taken, and the game will undoany kills and restore any health lost. This reduces the agony you’ll surely face when your seemingly great strategy runs you into a dead end (which happens often, since you can’t walk back over.You can always try a brief test run in either directionso long as you don’t take any steps that completely kill you. If you do that, you have to rewind yourdeath step, then try to beat the room as quickly as possible from yourcurrent position, because a game-ending ghost starts coming for you.

At first blush, Fidel looks like one of fifty shmazillion randomly generated “roguelite” gamesthat have flooded online stores as of late. I would counter that Fidel is instead aunique twist on another classic genre: the falling-piece puzzle game. Instead of wondering which of seven tetrads you’re going to get, however, you must endurewhichever enemies and arrangements Fidel serves upand then you must be very careful in picking steps to solve or deal with them. And just like how Tetris will often dump a certain combination of pieces that simply won’t fit together (damn you, Z block!), so will Fidel create not-quite-perfect levels on a regular basis.

The line puzzle system here clearly resembles The Witness, which makes sense, as Fidel creatorDaniel Benmergui contributed to that 2016 puzzle sensation and was inspired in part by his work on it. But Fidelreally is a distinct and different take on that style of play, and anyone put off by how The Witness presented its puzzle world may be delightedeven relievedby the “get to the puzzle guts” presentation of Fidel. It’s cute. It’s quick. It’s tough. And it’s absolutely memorable. Should you be OK with its restriction to computers and its lack of multiplayer modes, you owe it to yourself to try this surprise summer delight.

Verdict: This is my favorite quick-burst, brain-busting puzzle game in years. Buy it.

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Review: Why I can’t stop killing a cute, puzzle-solving dog named Fidel – Ars Technica

‘Neo Angle’ Review – This 80’s Inspired Minimalist Puzzler Brings Neon Colors, and Fun, to your Phone – Touch Arcade

Puzzle games have really upped the ante in recent years to add challenge and tension to the gaming experience. Time limits, move limits, stars to earn, and points to accrue all say, “Sure you can win, but can you win the best?” There’s nothing inherently wrong with these mechanics. When employed welland not just to sell packs of hintsthey can make puzzle games more fun. Sometimes, however, you don’t want to worry about moves and stars and points and how long it takes you. This is where minimalist puzzle games find their niche. They set aside the quest to find the very best solution and challenge you to find any solution. This week’s freshly releasedNeo Angle [$0.99] is a minimalist puzzle game and well worth a look.

Neo Angle is the latest title from indie developer Dropout Games, the makers of Blyss [$0.99], which still owns a well-earned place in my iPhone’s puzzle folder. Their new offering is once again a simple and intuitive, yet challenging puzzler. In it you flip a bright neon triangleseriously, it’s bright, you won’t miss itthrough a maze of squares and seek to disarm roadblocks and traps, travel through portals (I assume through both time and space), swing around on a rotating square, and grab a number of rotating pyramids before ending up at your final destination. Makes total sense, right? Ok, it is a bit abstract and such games are tough to put into words, so check out this GIF and I’ll spare you another thousand of them trying to explain it better.

Neo Angle was created as an homage to the days of Miami Vice, the Pet Shop Boys, and giant clocks as fashion accessoriesyes, the 1980s. This retro theme is supported by a synthesizer-laden soundtrack and neon-colored graphics reminiscent of the signs behind Tom Cruise in 80’s flick Cocktail. It’s bright and stays on script when it comes to the theme, but it won’t cause your eyeballs to cry out for mercy.

Gameplay is minimalistic, as promised, it’s just you and the puzzle with none of the aforementioned stars to earn or times to beat. Your only job is to collect all the spinning pyramids and get that bright triangle to the exit without getting boxed into a corner. This is easier said than done and naturally the difficulty ramps up as you progress through the game’s many levels. New mechanics are introduced and layered on top of each other as you go.

The game’s difficulty is set just right, letting you ease into it before ramping up the challenge. The harder levels become an intriguing game of trial and error that is both relaxing and fun. My sole complaint is the lack of an undo button to take back your last move. An errant flip of the triangle can easily force a restart, which is a real bummer when you are deep into a tough level.

Neo Anglesupplies just the right mix of relaxation, challenge, and fun. Its 80’s theme is cool without distracting from the gameplay. If you’re a fan of puzzle games in general, and especially the minimalist niche, picking this one up is a risk-free decision.

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‘Neo Angle’ Review – This 80’s Inspired Minimalist Puzzler Brings Neon Colors, and Fun, to your Phone – Touch Arcade

Linelight Review: You’ve Got the Glow – Gamezebo

I should probably be burned out on abstract puzzle games that use minimal (but still somehow striking) visuals by now, but I actually cant get enough of them. Theres just something about less conventional brain teasing coupled with a unique look that always piques my interest. Its a weirdly specific preference that Linelight fits quite nicely.

Linelight looks pretty in its simplicity right from the start thanks to the use of intricate lines and faux light effects. Its like watching the sentient glow from a neon sign move around on its own. The way your movement reveals more of the environment as you progress is another very neat touch.

The approach to visuals was enough to draw me in, but what ended up cementing my regard for the games look is what happens when you hit the pause button. As the menu appears the camera pulls back to reveal the world youve been revealing in its entirety, which looks like a series of line scribbles made with light that get more and more intricate the farther you go.

Each section is its own puzzle, with things naturally getting trickier as you progress. What begins as a very simple matter of following a single track steadily opens up to add elements like multiple tracks, hazards, button-activated pathways and more. This sort of stuff is kind of a prerequisite for a good puzzle game, but I especially appreciate how Linelight always introduces new stuff in a safe manner. What I mean is, if youre seeing a new type of puzzle element or hazard for the first time, its going to be on a screen thats set up solely to show you how it works you wont have to actually figure out a solution until you move on to the next screen. This is a great way to wordlessly give players the information they need in order to work their way through puzzles, and I wish more games took this kind of approach.

Hats off to the designers for the puzzles themselves, too. It always seems like just as Im about to get tired of seeing one particular element, a new one is introduced. That, or existing mechanics that Ive already become accustomed to are utilized in new and interesting ways. Its yet another thing I wish more games, especially puzzle games, would do.

The one problem Ive run into is the virtual stick used to control your little light-thingy. It works just fine for the most part, but precision movement especially when time is a factor isnt so great. There are times when you need to make quick turns down alternate pathways with a very small margin for error, and accidentally overshooting the turn because the stick didnt register properly can get to be annoying. Ive been able to work around it by way of stubborn persistence, but I wish blaming myself for getting a solution wrong was the only frustrating thing about this. Good thing theres no real penalty for dying other than having to restart that particular screen.

Linelight is the sort of game I never get tired of stumbling upon. Its an unexpected gem slightly imperfect, but far too interesting and charming in its ambition for me to care. Not that its hurting for accolades, but if you havent tried Linelight, yet you definitely should.

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Linelight Review: You’ve Got the Glow – Gamezebo

The Initiate Out Now – Mystery Puzzle Adventure Game & Enigma Website. – Develop

1st Aug, 2017 Wales, UK Deceptive Games Ltd are pleased to announce their newest mysterypuzzle game The Initiate, has been released for PC,Mac and Linux.

Set in Oregon, Astoria, The initiate tells the story of NathanRockford who has lost his memory, and awakens in a house full ofmalicious traps and puzzles. You take on the role of Nathan in thismysterious adventure to discover the truth of who your kidnappersare, and why they chose you, all the while trying survive atorturous trial.

We are very excited for players to get hands on with thegame, we look forward in seeing how players react in solving themany puzzles within the game. – Gavin Powell, gamedirector.

Unravel this mystery and solve your trial. Keep your ears andeyes open at all times. Beware, nothing is as it seems.

Today, we have also released the Enigma Website puzzles.This website will tie in closely with the game. We wanted to expand the game outside of the digital realm andwe believe we have achieved this with the release of the EnigmaWebsite. This website is phase two of the game, and we are veryexcited to see who can solve these mysterious puzzles. A prizeawaits the first 250 people who reach its end. We wish a very goodluck to all those who attempt the enigma websitepuzzle. – Amy Williams, lead designer.

Availability:

The Initiate has released on for PC, MAC and Linux1st August 2017.

Steam Link:

http://store.steampowered.com/app/659480/The_Initiate/

Enigma Website Link:

https://www.the-enlightenment.com/

System Requirements:

Windows 7/Windows 8.1/Windows 10 with Intel i5 Processor or AMDequivalent, 8GB system memory, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 or AMDequivalent with DirectX 9.0c and 7 Gig hard-drive space.

About Deceptive Games

Deceptive Games is an independent video games company fromWales, UK.

For related questions, enquiries, interviews and to requestreview code(s), please contact amy@deceptive-games.com .

Games Press is the leading online resource for games journalists. Used daily by magazines, newspapers, TV, radio, online media and retailers worldwide, it offers a vast, constantly updated archive of press releases and assets, and is the simplest and most cost-effective way for PR professionals to reach the widest possible audience. Registration for the site and the Games Press email digest is available, to the trade only, at http://www.gamespress.com

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The Initiate Out Now – Mystery Puzzle Adventure Game & Enigma Website. – Develop

‘Swim Out’, a Turn-Based Puzzle Game With a Refreshing Aquatic Theme, Is Diving Onto the App Store August 10th – Touch Arcade

While I am a big fan of puzzle games, but it’s extremely evident that there is an overwhelming emphasis on the mechanical side of the action in the majority of titles, while immersive aesthetic design is left at the wayside. Games such as Threes! [$2.99] try and inject some character into their otherwise generic sliding blocks, while You Must Build a Boat [$2.99] and others add RPG elements to feel as if you’re actually accomplishing some sort of swashbuckling feat through the puzzles – however the vast majority just rely on the mental stimulation of the challenge and leave it at that. As a result, Swim Out is an anomaly amongst its peers, as its complete intrinsic embrace of its swimming concept gives the game an accessible edge while also providing abundant charm. Amidst England’s wretched wet and windy summer months, Swim Out looks like the perfect tactical escape into a lush digital paradise, and is set to launch on the App Store on August 10th.

Amongst the beautifully drawn environments of Swim Out, you must learn the pattern of numerous different swimmers and obstacles in an attempt to escape the pool and reach dry land. Other oblivious swimmers move in varying patterns based on the stroke they choose to use, and crabs, waves and jellyfish will use their disruptive powers to stop you from reaching the stairs at the end of every level. There’s even kayak riding – I’d be interested to know what swimming pools the developer Lozange Lab has been visiting that are so lax on their rules to allow vehicles and dangerous animals to roam free. Nevertheless, Swim Out may have a relatively simple turn-based puzzle mechanic at its heart, but the way they have incorporated aquatic elements into every facet of its gameplay is mightily impressive, and results in a radical strategy game fit for the summer months. Swim Out will release on iPhone and Android on August 10th, but until then take a look at our forum thread for more details on the game.

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‘Swim Out’, a Turn-Based Puzzle Game With a Refreshing Aquatic Theme, Is Diving Onto the App Store August 10th – Touch Arcade

ChromaGun Review A Portal of a Different Color – COGconnected

ChromaGun is a first-person puzzle game that takes the simple act of color mixing and turns it into a punishing series of trials. The tone and aesthetic approach Portal levels, while the puzzles themselves are easily a match for Valves infamous genre progenitor. Even if youve forgotten your primary school lessons on colors and their origins, this game is more than happy to refresh your memory.

You play yourself, I think. Responding to a series of advertisements seeking test subjects, you wander into the Chromatec office and get started. Its actually more fleshed-out than most puzzle game stories, in that there is a story at all. The trailer embedded above does an excellent job of encapsulating the narrative tone of the game. The actual dialogue and/or flavor text is more thinly spread once you fire it up, but this supports the minimalist vibe given off by the aesthetic.Again, the Portal comparisons are inevitable, but I quickly cast these aside as I got down to business.

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My eventual success never came with any euphoric glee, just a feverish need to press ahead.

Like those childhood lessons about colors, the first batch of levels are pretty basic. I spent several stages getting familiar with the gun and what it does, namely shooting paint blobs. As with any good puzzle game, your abilities are extremely limited. Theres even an achievement (on the PS4 version at least) for trying the laughably ineffective jump button. The real innovative variety is baked into the stages themselves. You work to manipulate worker droids into positions over switches, thus allowing you to exit the stage. The droids will automatically float towards walls that are the same color as them. Simple, right?

Over time, new obstacles are introduced. Youve got your scarier droids, the kind all lined with spikes and ready to bludgeon you to death. Then theres the shields, the floor traps and the esoteric mazes of locked doors. Things quickly go from childish and simple to brain-melting. At least, it feels quick. Several hours blew by while I smashed my head against these puzzles. My eventual success never came with any euphoric glee, just a feverish need to press ahead. Because these are first-person puzzles, youre never sure the stage is done until you see the stairs behind that last door.In the beginning, your progress through the stages feels fairly relaxed. Once youre introduced to the spiky seeker droids, the stakes are raised significantly.

Thankfully, the mechanics involved in completing each stage feel pretty intuitive. I was never lost as to what my job was, or whether or not something I tried was going to work. The rules of the world are established quickly and easily. One of the ways the game does this is with the graphics. The bare walls and floors make swathes of color stick out like beacons. Your color mixing produces clean, gorgeous results that feel like they should be on the set of some ultra-modern music video. I wish there was just a space wherein you could mess with the gun, producing dazzling palettes that shine crazy bright on those industrial surfaces. Everything makes enough sense that I didnt get really stuck until halfway through the game. Even then, it was more the result of my own mental degradation after hours of playing, rather than an issue with the game.

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Your color mixing produces clean, gorgeous results that feel like they should be on the set of some ultra-modern music video.

I wish the first chapter moved a bit faster. If tutorials feel long, its because youve grasped the lessons faster than the developers anticipated. In this case, it felt like the teaching section could have been cut in half. Id love to chalk this up to my superior intellect, but my eventual (constant) stumbling doesnt support this theory. I also wanted more out of the narrative elements sprinkled throughout the game. While that trailer was pretty snappy, the same intercom overlord loses a lot of his panache once hes introduced to the actual game. His lines feel stretched out and exhausted like hes spokenthem countless times already. ChromaGun isnt shy about comparisons to the Portal series, but this confidence doesnt extend to the spoken dialogue. The other areas of the game better capture that feeling, but its still distracting to see this one shortcoming in action.

That comparison between ChromaGun and Portal has come up a lot, but the game doesnt suffer for it. In fact, this brazen admission of influence written all over the game works to its benefit. Rather than sneak these things and hope you dont notice, its all refreshingly forthcoming. And why not? Portal re-wrote the book on first-person puzzle games, its only fair that the torch be passed on in a transparent fashion. Pacing for these games is such a delicate line to lay down. If its too slow, they feel easy and dull. Too fast and the game feels brutally unfair. ChromaGun slips from one side to the other somewhere between chapters two and three. But it looks great and feels natural to control, so it didnt bug me as much. Id love an HP bar so I know how many more mistakes I can make before I bite the dust. That and an empty room to bring in this gun and go crazy, a sort of coloring book you can walk around in. If youve got an appetite for puzzle games and fond memories of Portal, youd do well to give ChromaGun a good look.

*** PS4 code provided by the publisher ***

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ChromaGun Review A Portal of a Different Color – COGconnected

Hob, Adventure-Puzzle Game Set To Hit PC And PS4 On September 26th – One Angry Gamer (blog)

(Last Updated On: August 2, 2017)

Adventure and puzzle fans looking for a colorful game with hints of action sprawled throughout might just find Hob to be something of interest. The upcoming game by Runic Games is set to debut for PC and PS4 come September 26th.

Currently slated to hit PC and PS4 this fall comes Runic Games Hob. Gamers who are into pre-ordering games will find that the adventure-puzzle title on PC will include a 10 percent discount while those who own a PS4 and are PS Plus subscribers will receive a 20 percent discount. Additionally, anyone who pre-orders the game will gain access to the World Shift dynamic theme.

According to the developers behind Hob, the game is said to be a suspenseful adventure set in a stunning and brutal world caught in disarray. You the player will slowly uncover your role in saving the vibrate world by exploring and solving the complex landscape to progress forward.

Hob is a wordless narrative presented without any text or dialogue. In other words, the story is revealed through exploration, interacting with strange lifeforms, and solving various puzzles around the land to understand whats really going on in the games strange world.

If you havent heard anything regarding Hob and wish to see the game or you are a fan looking to get an early look at the adventure-puzzle game, Runic Games just released a new trailer for you to look over as seen below.

The game known as Hob that sees you the player transforming an open world by solving puzzles, using various items, and utilizing your glove-arm abilities to make short of any threat, is set to release for PC and PS4 on September 26th.

Lastly, if you happen to be curious and want to learn more about Hob, additional information on this game can be found by heading on over to runicgames.com.

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Hob, Adventure-Puzzle Game Set To Hit PC And PS4 On September 26th – One Angry Gamer (blog)

‘Linelight’ Review – A Fine Line – Touch Arcade

In years to come, the App Store will be both commemorated and condemned for revolutionising the delivery of digital content, implementing the use of innovative gaming inputs, and instigating an industry-wide transition away from fully priced releases. However, one of the most profound impacts this emergent platform has had on video games has been its ethos of show, dont tell. Monument Valley [$3.99], Sword and Sworcery [$3.99], and a number of landmark titles have fought against the limitations of a handheld device to completely immerse the user through pure aesthetic bliss. Despite not originating on the iPhone, Linelight [$1.99] is the next notable independent release that champions these values, through slick puzzles, accessible controls, and stunningly dynamic visuals and audio. The resulting concoction is an extremely memorable mobile experience that, while by no means perfect, is far grander than its subtle minimalistic design suggests.

Linelight exudes charm in every aspect of its design, presentation and gameplay, and elevates what would otherwise be an agreeable puzzle game into one that feels like an emotional journey. Through using freeform joystick controls, you send a glowing white bar across numerous challenges full of obstacles, switches and platforms in an interconnected world. However, Linelight is by no means a lonely existence – other colored bars can be encountered across the six worlds, all of which have a unique behaviour that must be both harnessed and understood to proceed. For example, an ominous red light is predictably deadly in its perpetual march onwards, a yellow line only moves upon touching the screen, and a purple light is propelled with mysterious magnetic powers. Apart from merely introducing new mechanics to learn, the variety of intriguing entities within Linelights 200 unique puzzles results in a vibrant environment, lit up with the sensory appeal of a colorful Christmas tree.

Linelight fully embraces its minimalistic aesthetic principles to devastating effect, although its the soundtrack that provides the bulk of the emotive power within the game. Music crescendos when the screen flares up with activity, and instruments are removed and added at will to complement the action taking place within the games worlds. Best of all, a beautifully poignant harp-driven melody accompanies the strikingly melancholic climax to each level, whereby another colored line that may have acted as an obstacle comes to your aid in a tragic act of self-sacrifice. This end phase is repeated in every world, however the powerful harp track will make each successive culmination as mortifying as it was in the beginning. As the developer rightly claims, you will develop a relationship with bars of light without exchanging a word in Linelight, and the absurdity of that statement underlines the effectiveness of the audio and graphical prowess within the game. The generic overworld songs may end up blurring into one (barring an excellently foreboding and pulsating theme for the fifth world), but when that one track is so great, it is really hard to complain.

These aesthetic elements that accentuate Linelights minimalistic ethos are also present in virtually every other facet of the games design, and ensure the immersive visceral light show is not interrupted by clunky logistical flaws. There is no UI to speak of in Linelight, and no laboured explanation as to how a certain challenge or new obstacle must be overcome. The game respects your intelligence, and uses various visual cues and its inherently linear level structure to replace the need for an overbearing tutorial segment. The connected nature of the games worlds may be mechanically superfluous, but allows for the sense of progress as you slide across the multiple separate puzzles within each level. When Linelight hits top gear, it is a fluid and natural experience that is relentless in pace, but also meticulous in the way it makes the most of its relatively scarce content. With controls that feel perfectly suited for the touch screen, Linelight uses its simplicity to create an incredibly accessible puzzle title that is all the better for never straying off the beaten path.

However, the majority of Linelights flaws come as a result of its determination to stand steadfast by these core principles. Keeping controls as one solitary input reduces clutter, but also means that you do not have the level of control required for some of the more nuanced and time-based challenges in Linelight. This problem is exacerbated when the magnet levels are introduced later in the game – while one of the better concepts in Linelight, the need to press and hold onto your bar to activate the skill often obstructs the display and inhibits your ability to quickly navigate out of the way of environmental obstacles. While the latter issue can be easily fixed with an alternate button to use the magnetic ability, the problem with loose controls is one inherent in Linelights level design, and one that may ultimately come down to personal preference. I greatly enjoyed the slower paced, methodical challenges that enabled my light to continuously flow across the screen, but when more reflex-based puzzles came up – especially ones that resulted in a number of deaths – the immersion was lessened.

Control issues aside, Linelight offers a considerate amount of content for its $1.99 cost of entry. The six worlds will only last for around two to three hours, although the abundance of yellow and green stars – the latter being found in secret locations hidden around each level – will ensure completionists have something to do after the main campaign has been completed. Although these bonus puzzles can be as jarringly difficult as their protruding locations may suggest, the way the developer has kept them and many of the harder yellow stars optional allows the player to cater their Linelight experience to the level of challenge they prefer. While the two bonus worlds from the console iteration are allegedly on the way as a DLC update, the way that Limelight culminates in a legitimately epic epilogue is a glowing testament to the subtle storytelling devices that the developer has included throughout the game. Having all of the different colored lines join forces in a rainbow of neon light and then slowly diverge and dissipate will likely be one of my favorite video game moments of 2017, and acts as a satisfying mechanism to conclude Linelight in a complete fashion.

Ultimately, the occasional frustration within Linelight is born out of its uncompromising dedication to its core principles, which is a necessary evil considering how effective the execution the game’s concept is. With audio and graphical excellence throughout, both of which are intrinsically linked, Linelight ends up being far more than the sum of its parts, all the while not sacrificing its entertaining puzzle gameplay for some greater sanctimonious goal. Through being a game that embraces accessibility at its very core, Linelight becomes a game that anyone can play, and everyone should play.

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‘Linelight’ Review – A Fine Line – Touch Arcade

Stylish and Simplistic Puzzle Game ‘follow.trail’ Goes Back to App … – Touch Arcade

The App Store of 2017 is all about fine margins, and it’s the tiniest details that can be the difference between success and failure. Is a core gameplay mechanic immersive enough to warrant repeated plays? Or is an interface slick enough that it remains intuitive and stylish whilst also being accessible to the everyday iOS user? In truth, it’s quite hard to distinguish such knife-edge differences, although I’d wager that the upcoming follow.trail is close to nailing the precarious balance between design and distraction. As a hyper-simplistic puzzle title that requires you to navigate clearly marked domino-esque blocks in a certain order to clear the board, follow.trail is not exactly a new concept amongst its genre peers on the iPhone. However, its understated stylish presentation and intelligible swiping control scheme present a case for follow.trail to join my esteemed collection of one-handed App Store wonders when it launches on the App Store on August 10th.

The design mantra of ‘back to basics’ is one that is understandably met with a lot of cynicism amongst the iOS community, and for good reason. follow.trail does follow such an ethos, although not merely in its presentation, but in every aspect of its composition as a puzzle game. As well as the aforementioned controls and aesthetic design, follow.trail features no hints or skipping levels, no menus or options that may get in the way, and no loading screens to wait through. The resulting combination is a streamlined yet contradictory experience – the lack of a UI or settings to tweak feels like a refreshing yet limiting feature, and while I admire this no-frills approach, it will at the very least feel anachronistic in the App Store’s modern guise. That being said, an ultra-small file size and a $2.99 premium pricing are definitely positives, and the resulting amalgam is a puzzle game that isn’t necessarily innovative, but I’m really interested in trying out. follow.trail will release on the App Store on August 10th, but until then visit our forum thread for more information on the game.

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Stylish and Simplistic Puzzle Game ‘follow.trail’ Goes Back to App … – Touch Arcade


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