I have to admit, if I was ever sucked into a Tron-like computer world, I don't know if I would be able to handle the games they would force me to play. Since getting my motorcycle license, I think I could manage a draw in light-cycles, but Deadly Discs? Solar Sailor? Brawls at the End of Line club? I think I'd be de-rezzed pretty quickly. On the other hand, should the Master Computer challenge me to a game of hangman, I think I could take him. Such is the scenario presented by Langman, the new unity platforming word game from Von Lehe Creative. Oh... and while this might be a spoiler: ETAOIN SHRDLU is a good place to start.
Langman is controlled with the [arrow] keys and the [spacebar]. You move your figure around around the dark, box-filled landscape. When on a box with a letter on it, you hit the [spacebar] to select it as a guess for the puzzle hanging over head. If correct, it will light up and be added to the puzzle. If incorrect, they will drop out of place, and one of your "guesses" will be removed from the counter. Watch out... should you drop with it, you'll lose another guess. Other boxes without letters (and a couple of other shapes) will merely fall upon being selected. Sometimes these boxes will drop into the bottomless pit below, but if they land on something, they can then be pushed around to help or hinder your progress. A combo of correct guess adds to your guess counter. Collect bombs to blast boxes out of your way with the [B] key, and should you find yourself in an unwinnable position, an [R] key will reset the level. Complete the puzzle, and you'll move on to the next level. There are 16 in all. G--D L-CK!
Imbued with the greenish glow and beeps of retro-computing and the 3D aesthetics of the Unity platform, Langman is a treat for the eyes, ears and the mind. The concept is clever, the number and variety of puzzles is impressive, and while the game's mechanics are frustrating from time to time, it is the good kind of frustrating that makes you want to keep playing until you've beaten it. It's far from perfect: the randomness of the puzzles means that each level is easy or hard depending on chance (and indeed, a few seemed impossible at first without a bomb on hand) the physics are off just enough to be an annoyance, and the game doesn't really have a sense of depth beyond the novelty of combining such disparate elements. That said, the combination of run and jump with Wheel of Fortune works far more than it doesn't, and will make for an intriguing distraction for word and action game lovers alike.
If you enjoy the game, you might be interested to know that you can download the free soundtrack from the developer's site.
You can also play the game at Kongregate.