Floating Islands Game
Floating Islands Game (Windows, 36MB, free) is a downloadable puzzle title created by Hempuli, author of Once in Space. FIG plays a lot like Rob Allen's Hapland series with more action and a distinct Lemmings slant to it. In each level you must guide the main character through the stage, collecting all of the gold stars before reaching the flag at the end. You can only affect his movements indirectly, however, by clicking and changing different parts of the environment at just the right time. It combines quick reflex gameplay with just enough puzzle elements to make it captivating, and the artwork creates a beautiful setting you just can't resist.
We first mentioned Floating Islands Game back when the community convinced the creator to release a short demo. FIG has since been incubating to emerge with almost three dozen levels! From the start there are two worlds, each divided into themed planets that hold a handful of levels. Each one is named and shows how tough it is according to the number of stars. The difficulty level spikes up and down and can switch between timed puzzles and pure brain teasers without warning, but you don't have to complete stages in order, which is quite helpful.
When a level first opens you have several seconds to click the environment to see what can be done. Move the mouse everywhere, click on anything suspicious, and watch the landscape for clues. After the main character falls to the ground and the traffic light turns green, he starts walking. From that point on you have to act fast, as this guy can get himself into trouble within seconds. Tapping [enter] or clicking the circle icon at the bottom of the screen restarts the stage, so be prepared to use them very, very often.
In addition to the gold stars you're required to collect to pass each stage, there are also blue stars you can grab. These are often hidden in very clever ways that require you to have an inquisitive cursor and be fast with your mouse. They're not mandatory, but completists will want to seek out every one.
Analysis: Floating Islands Game is one of those titles that comes along once a year or so that's so creative and so entertaining you'll sit and play through it without leaving your computer. The artwork is definitely one of the game's strong points, as the sense of fun is evident in every pixel. I love the little monsters, faces, and pieces of scenery that exist for no purpose other than to look cool.
My only qualm about Floating Islands Game is the required wait before beginning each stage. Most of the time it's useful, but when you play the same stage ten, fifteen times in a row trying to get the timing right, the wait becomes a nuisance. There really doesn't seem to be a good way around the pause, however, as on many levels you need those few seconds to get things set up before the guy in green starts his brainless march.
With beautiful, fun artwork, a great soundtrack, and plenty of puzzle/arcade challenge, Floating Islands Game is a must-play.
Download the free full version (36MB)