Shift Escape is an abstract puzzle game for iOS by Toby Nelson. Toby’s also maintainer of the Inform 7 IDE for Mac OS, and (non-coincidentally) my brother-in-law. So my remarks should perhaps not be viewed as wholly impartial, but I’m enjoying it. The interface has a cheerfully hand-drawn look; the puzzles themselves are elegant if occasionally fiendish.
The aim is to move your character to eat all the dots on each level before leaving, with the restriction that your motion can only be stopped by walls, so if you head in one direction, you’ll keep sliding along willy-nilly. The geometry of some levels means it becomes possible to lock yourself out of ever reaching certain dots, but even if you don’t do that, there’s the challenge of optimizing your number of moves.
The slide-til-you-hit-something rules make the floor-plate-activated flippers a significant complication:
It doesn’t all take place on a square grid, either…
And here I am losing, because every time I try to get that dot in the lower right corner I have to pass over the blue diamond and that moves the blue flipper out of the way and I overshoot and argh
Seltani is Andrew Plotkin’s Myst-themed multiplayer universe riffing on Twine, in which authors can add their own explorable Ages. It’s been around for a bit over a year now, and includes the Barbetween age, which I’ve written up before. It just recently picked up a couple of new ages: Ryan Veeder’s interactive museum experience Bluedorn, and Andrew Plotkin’s own puzzle age Salvanas. It’s a timely development, given the considerable interest in multiplayer IF that turned up during our recent discussion on new directions in IF.
Hadean Lands is Andrew Plotkin’s massive parser IF game about an alchemy-driven spaceship. It’s been several years in the making, after a substantial Kickstarter. And it’s now available.
I backed the initial drive, I’ve been following the dev blog since, and I spent probably upwards of 20 hours beta-testing it, becoming (to the best of my knowledge, anyway) the first person to finish the game other than Zarf himself. (Yes, I am bragging. Play it and you’ll see why.)
So I can’t really claim any sort of unbiased reviewer status at this point. Nonetheless, I would like to talk about some things that I thought about the game.
The discussion below will be mildly spoilery for information found in the very beginning of the game and in the ABOUT text. It will reveal no significant puzzle secrets, but if you want to experience the game entirely free of such preconceptions, then don’t read on.
Tea Ceremony is a silly, reasonably easy parser-based puzzle game about satisfying the etiquette demands of an alien dignitary. I played the game to completion.
Fifteen Minutes is a parser-based puzzle game with light narrative elements; while I wouldn’t say it’s super hard, it takes some focus and is not for the puzzlephobic. You’re likely not to win on the first try, though I also wouldn’t quite put it in the replay-to-win category, because once you’ve started making real progress, you probably won’t need to restart again.
I played it all the way through.
Threediopolis is a parser-based wordplay game with minimal story, running probably at least half an hour and possibly quite a bit more, depending on how fiercely you choose to avoid hints and walkthrough helps. No spoilers in the review.