The Vault №103


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The Vault

DoraThe Casual Gameplay Design Competitions aren't just to help us figure out which developers are the most talented for when we want to assemble them into a creative hive-mind with brains in jars that will continually churn out amazing games we can profit from. It's for seeing the way developers will take an idea and run with it, taking it in new and usual directions! With the judging currently under way for the 10th competition, what better time like the present to examine some of the entries of competitions past?

  • Factory BallsFactory Balls - When you're looking for clever puzzles, always be sure to give fun maestro Bart Bonte a call... it's like he has some secret factory beneath his house that churns out cleverness and daydreams on command. Created for the 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition, this smart little gem asks you to create balls with various colours and patterns using the tools at your disposal... which includes your logical brain! Though opinions differed on how well this implemented the ball physics theme of the competition, everyone could agree that it was a remarkably smart and engaging concept, and it's no wonder it's gone on to become a successful series.
  • SproutSprout - Jeff Nusz has done some cool things, but his entry into the "grow" themed 2nd Casual Gameplay Design Competition is something spell all on its own. It's a puzzle adventure about a seed on a journey who can learn to grow into various plants to get past obstacles. It looks absolutely fantastic, with a standout sketchy style that gives the whole thing a storybook feel, and it's not surprising the game took home top prize in the competition both from the judges and the audience award, which is arguably harder to win. Unless you have Reese's Pieces. I know what you guys will do for Reese's.
  • Liquid ColorsLiquid Colors - For our very first Casual Gameplay Design Competition, Ddams gave us something short but very sweet with this creative puzzle about colours (yes, with a "u", you can't stop me, Americans), blockades, and planning ahead. Changing a box to a specific colour sounds like a simple idea, but when it involves colour that moves and mixes with other hues unless you direct it, it becomes infinitely more challenging as you place walls to move and mix your liquid colours to (hopefully) get it where you want it, as you want it. The game has a clean presentation, but what really makes it shine is that it shows challenge can be wrung out of the simplest of concepts if you bend your brain to it creatively.

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!

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Crossy Road> Dora Endless arcade action meets classic Frogger style gameplay in this free iOS game where you control a series of hapless unlockable creatures trying to cross some very busy and very deadly roads and rapids. With a sense of humor and vibrant voxel graphics, it's both charming and hard to put down.  ...
Find the Escape-Men Part 126: The Special Property> Dora The apartment in this escape game's rent is suspiciously low, and there's a weird smell here too... so it's probably not a good sign your realtor has locked you inside! Experience a whole lot of weirdness (and a jump scare or two) in this very silly game from no1game.  ...
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Natural Selection 2> Johnny123 Your cute little spider-ball is hungry. Use the mouse to shoot strands of webbing to pull him around each level, catching and ensaring flies and avoiding the angry bees that chase you through each level.  ...
10,556 Views
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This War of Mine> Dora In this compelling and grim indie simulation, you control a group of survivors struggling to get by day to day in an increasingly dangerous city that's turned into a war zone. As the days pass, you're forced to push the limits of what you're comfortable with in order to survive, and rather than glorifying war for heroics, This War of Mine humanizes it for its people.  ...

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