Pixelcontinuous' puzzle platformer Humbug is both weird and weirdly charming. You are Ziggy Fraud, the sketchiest looking thief around, whose quest to steal an appealingly large diamond lands him in hot water. Fortunately for Ziggy, he's not bound by the traditional laws of physics (or the game engine) and with some skill and your help, should be able to cheat his way to victory. Initially, gameplay is simple; use the [arrow] keys to look around and jump, [P] to pause the game, [S] to throw switches, and [R] to restart a room if you get stuck. Each room is a puzzle you'll need to solve in order to proceed, but they're anything but traditional. To succeed, you'll need to think like a cartoon character, one who is constantly breaking the fourth wall, and figure out how to manipulate yourself, the environment, and even abuse the pause function. Think creatively, think outside the box, and maybe even channel the soul of Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck if you really want to make it. If you stop playing, you can continue from the last room you finished when you pick it up again.
Humbug is strange, no bones about it. From its slightly off-key discordant soundtrack, to its shifty protagonist, to its unorthodox approach to getting past obstacles, this is definitely an unusual game. Fans of more traditional puzzles will probably find the cartoon-character problem solving required baffling, and if you demand to take the logical approach to games, you might end up more frustrated than anything else with this one. The second-to-last stage feels like it needs a lot of experimentation and trial-and-error to complete, and since every stage has a different solution and set of unspoken "rules", you never really feel like you're building a skillset. Instead, you're repeatedly confronted with situations where the only solution is just to jump right in and mess with everything.
If you're willing to approach the levels from different, illogical angles, (Scooby-Doo'er angles) you'll find a lot to like here for the few minutes it takes to run through the game. Humbug may not win everyone's heart, but it's appealingly different, and with three (very well hidden) secret items to track down if you keep your eyes peeled, you might even unlock a more heroic ending. For my part, it felt like a breath of fresh air despite its faults. There were only two stages that really hung me up for longer than a minute or two, and if that has taught me anything its that my brain apparently does not work the same way everyone else does. I'm not entirely sure what it was about it that won me over so completely... it certainly wasn't Ziggy himself, since he looks like the sort of kid who liked to lurk silently behind other people, breathing heavily through his open mouth. But Humbug made me smile, and if you give it a chance, you might find it does you the same favour.