The week has just begun, but for a lot of us, this is the time of year when it's far too easy to get run down, and the weekend seems too far away. When the doldrums start, we could all use a little bit of colour in our day to remind us that there's beauty everywhere that can serve as a welcome respite from the chair you accidentally head-butted (don't ask), the cold cat barf you stepped in on the way to the shower, or the painfully bitter coffee you had to choke down because you forgot to get any creamer. That's why this week's installment of The Vault features some of my favourite lovely games from different genres.
- Grrr Game - Bunnies. They got those floppy legs and twitchy li'l noses. But this isometric arcade puzzle game is a lot more than that. Actually an advergame for Honda, the goal is to collect all the carrots on each stage and get to the finale with all the bonuses, which you rack up by destroying certain objects and replacing them with lovely or positive ones. It's fairly simple, though just a little challenging if you're "going for the gold", and may involve a bit of trial and error, but Grrr Game is still just the lovely, sweet sort of thing you need every now and again. Just ask yourself this... what's with all the carrots? What do they need such good eyesight for anyway?
- Thinking Machine 4 - Ordinarily, chess isn't pretty... chess is ugly. Or at least it is when you're playing it with me, and therefore subject to a full-on tantrum upon my loss that results in more than a few creative but incoherent swears as the board goes flying across the room. But this java version of the game has a few surprises in store that makes it worth a look. As you play, the AI opponent's thinking process is revealed to you in dozens of thin, criss-crossing lines of colour that light up the board and trace all the possibilities and outcomes that the game is considering. It's really unexpectedly lovely to watch, and is just as tricky as you'd expect a game of chess to be. If more board games were like this, I might be slightly less disinclined to cheat and just enjoy the experience... slightly.
- Small Forest Story - Though the weather outside is frightful, this site is so delightful, so if you've no place to go, click this rabbit, then this stick, it's on the snow! This tiny little point-and-click puzzle adventure is about little tiny animals and their seasonal quests. With simple, adorable visuals and the sort of odd-ball logic you'd typically find on the internet, it's extremely simple but definitely worth experiencing. After all, how many of us can say we've fought off a giant, worm-ridden apple monster for our tree-toppers? You kids today have everything just handed to you. In my day it wasn't the holidays unless we'd vanquished three impossible beasties before lunchtime. My grandmother says that's just a hallucination brought on by the time I stayed outside making snowmen villages too long and wound up with a 104 degree fever, but I know better.
While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!