Verge is a puzzle platformer originally developed by Kyle Pulver (maker of Depict1) for a TIGSource game competition, and now ported to flash by Kristian Macanga. Its tone can best be described with the HP Lovecraft quote that was the game's inspiration: Life and Death - Death - its desolation and horror- bleak spaces - sea - bottom - dead cities. But Life - the greater horror! Vast unheard - of reptiles and leviathans - hideous beasts of prehistoric jungle - rank slimy vegetation - evil instincts of primal man - Life is more horrible than death. Contemplating the twin opposing horrors of life and death is a haunting, challenging concept, and thus it should be no surprise that it makes for a haunting, challenging game... one where death and rebirth is the only way to progress.
Move with the [arrow] or [WASD] keys, and jump with [Z] or [spacebar]. Your goal is to make it to the door at the end of each level. You might think that you should avoid those enemies and spikes walking around... and you'd be wrong, since that's often the only way to progress. This will send you to the underworld where you'll have to avoid some truly dangerous demons (or shake them off with button-mashing), until you can make it to a resurrection point denoted by an ankh. There are switches to activate and upon which to place boxes, the momentum of gravity to consider, and fairies to collect. The only question that remains is, well, "To Be Or Not To Be?"
Those who played the original downloadable version might be a little disappointed that this is well and truly a port rather than an expansion. Oh sure, gameplay is refined, and there's a couple extra story bits here, an alternate ending there, but by and large it's the game that it was when in .exe form. Of course, those encountering it for the first time should know that this is not a bad thing: Verge is quite the inspired work. Travel between light and dark worlds has been seen in games as diverse as Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past, Trilby's Notes, and Eversion, but it's never been so confronting a mechanic as it is here. Things feel a little morbid at times, with the constant suicide and resurrection, but never so much so that it overwhelms the clever level design and sedate-but-effective special effects. It's not a game that takes time to explain its mechanics, which may be frustrating to those who don't like having to infer what the game wants them to do. Also, difficulty ramps up a couple of levels in, so you may have to have a high tolerance for block-and-switch puzzles to make it to the surprisingly emotional conclusion. That said, Verge is a highly unique game that the downloading-averse should definitely take the chance to experience now.