I don't know about you, but I'm sick of rescuing princesses. And villages? They never stay un-pillaged! And don't even get me started on alien hordes…! I work and I slave, and what thanks do I get? End credits! Maybe, if I'm lucky, a scoreboard I can enter my name on for a whole ten minutes before someone better knocks it off. Yeah, I guess you could say I'm a little tired of the effort outweighing the reward. Fortunately for you and me, my friend, Bart Bonte knows that at the end of the day, sometimes the simplest rewards are the sweetest. And that's where Me and the Key comes in and tends to my fevered brow with a series of charming logic puzzles and one very simple goal.
Me and the Key is a series of mini-games that all have the same end — getting the titular key. That's right. There's no zombies, no spaceships, no power-ups. Just you and a slowly evolving set of puzzles designed to test your common sense, and your ability to think outside the box. Most of them can be completed in under a minute once you figure out what you should be doing, and for the most part all you have to do is point and click. It's impossible to really paint yourself into a corner, so you can feel free to experiment. Sometimes the solution is as simple as playing an old arcade classic, and sometimes you'll need to make a tree grow so you can harvest its luscious tangerines. Just like at my old job!
Analysis: Those of you looking for high-res graphics and orchestral soundtracks may find yourselves disappointed. Like its concept, Me and the Key's visuals are simple, incorporating bright, round graphics and adorable design. While this keeps the interface clean and easy to navigate, the endlessly repeating background tune isn't nearly as endearing. The bubble-gum-pop quality of the music is cute for the first five minutes, but you may find yourself thankful for the mute button before long.
But Me and the Key is a success where it sets out to be one. The puzzles, while frequently obscure at first glance, are often exceedingly easy once you figure out what you're intended to do. A few feature mild tests of your reflexes, but most are well-designed adventures in logic. Often when I thought I was stuck, I realised I was over-thinking the game and missing the more obvious solutions. It's like being put into an empty room and trying every elaborate scheme you can think of to escape, only to find the door was never locked at all. Only one or two puzzles had me honestly furrowing my brow and wishing for a walkthrough. Oh penguin, why do your eyes haunt me so?
Me and the Key saves your progress, so you can attack each of its bite-sized challenges on your own time. It doesn't have a lot of replay value, but it fits neatly into your lunch break… or the time between memos when your boss is out of the office. If you're looking for some quick, quirky satisfaction, do yourself a favour and pick up Bonte's newest title. A key may not seem like the greatest reward you could wish for, but the smug feeling you'll get at solving this series of abstract little puzzles will stay with you long after you close the browser.