You Are Games: Luthy Edition
The following is a selection of favorite games compiled and reviewed by JIG community member, Luthy:
I love and play a variety of types of games. Some players only play escape-the-room games (and are really good at them), some only play arcade games (and are likewise excellent at them). I tend to play whatever strikes my fancy at the time, and so while I'm not as good at any of them, I get to enjoy a wide variety of games. In choosing my favorites, I've tried to represent a variety of genres, with a variety of different looks. What I think binds these games together is more a feel, or a sense of whimsy and nostalgia. I'd love to jump into any of these games and live there for a while, and all of these games have the potential to make me feel. None of them are super-challenging, but I don't necessarily consider difficulty to be a hallmark of quality. I hope this small collection of games can make your day just a little bit brighter.
- Treasure Adventure Game - This game has already gotten a lot of press, but I had to include it because it's one of the best games I've ever played. (No, really.) Despite the pixelly art, this is one of the most immersive worlds I've ever had the pleasure of playing around in. You play a boy who has forgotten his past, and wants to go on an adventure. Gather up a few items on your home island (you can't sail without a, well, sail!) and head off. Along the way, you'll discover an important quest, fight monsters, meet all kinds of creatures and embark on many sidequests (who doesn't want to save a poor sick mouse)? All in all, the game offers hours and hours of questing fun, and the best part is, you always feel at least semi- in charge of your own destiny. There are enough different paths to take through the game that you are never going to feel bored. And something about the world is strangely touching — just try playing this game and not feeling a little wistfulness at the fact that it doesn't actually exist. (I want to live in the boy's little house by the sea!)
- Escape from the Lodge - Tesshi-e has produced hundreds of escape games, but Escape from the Lodge was the first of theirs I ever played. To this day, having played the vast majority of them, I consider it one of the best. The visuals are clean and attractive, as always, but the stand-out feature of this escape game is the puzzles. Some are easy, some are more challenging, but they are all consistently logical. Nothing requires a ridiculous leap to come to (with the possible exception of the construction aspect, if you aren't expecting it, as I wasn't the first time — but a little experimentation should make that simple to figure out as well). The ambience is fantastic, the music sets the mood perfectly, and what's not to love about having a cup of coffee under the stars? Talk about a sense of peace! Like many Tesshi-e games, this one does have a Happy Coin ending, but unlike most, I actually prefer the regular ending to this one. Try them both and enjoy!
- Bloom Defender - Bloom Defender is far from being the best tower defense game out there. It's not even the best with a "cute" aesthetic (can any game ever beat Kingdom Rush in that category?). But protecting your little Mother Tree from the corrupted spirits is strangely compelling. As in any tower defense game, you have a choice of tower types, but where Bloom Defender stands out is its elemental system. Your defenders have to do their jobs, of course, but you also have an arsenal of spells that you will be deploying pretty constantly — a freezing ice spell, a burning fire spell — and these spells have different effects on different spirits. If you freeze a fire spirit, great! They're weak against ice. But if you try to freeze an ice spirit, well... they'll speed right up, making defending against them even more difficult. Burn a fire spirit? Better watch out, it restores a bunch of health. Bloom Defender is pretty easy to pick up, but provides hours of fun battling corrupted spirits until you get your spell timing juuuust right. The whole world is cheery and lighthearted (you don't kill evil spirits, simply cleanse them) and did I mention your defenders are trees? Enjoy the colorful graphics and engrossing gameplay.
- The Book of Living Magic - Have you ever had one of those dreams that is so surreal and fantastical that even as you're dreaming you half-know it can't be real, but is at the same time internally coherent to the point where you wonder how you could have possibly made it up? The Book of Living Magic is a point-and-click game that's just like one of those dreams. (There's a man who lives in a bottle? Well, why not?) Journey to the Land of Dreams (it all makes sense now, huh?) and search for the Book of Living Magic. As you travel, don't forget to click on everything — literally, everything you see on screen — because 99% of the things you click on have unique descriptions, which are illuminating and often hilarious. You could finish this game in no time, but you'd miss out on so much. Ultimately, The Book of Living Magic is much deeper than it appears, and offers a look into dreams and reality, and the impossibility of a "mundane" life. Lighter than some of the creator's other works, it still maintains just enough darkness to make it realistic (inasmuch as a game with hand-drawn marker graphics can be realistic). This game is practically the definition of whimsy. If you liked the book The Phantom Tollbooth, you'll love this.
While we welcome any comments about this particular selection of games, we do ask that if you need any help with individual games, or wish to comment on the games featured here, please post your questions and comments on the respective game's review page.