The LaCoGeSSta Research
Can you walk with the animals? Talk with the animals? Grunt and squeak and squawk like the animals? Well, now's your chance to prove it by setting them upon each other in an all-consuming frenzy! The LaCoGeSSta Research would like you to run a few simple tests. Not on yourself, of course! That's what we have all these different species for. (I can hear your keys rattling off enraged letters on behalf of PETA right now.) In this puzzle game, your job is to solve each level by moving various critters around the screen with the [arrow] keys; when you bump into another critter, the one you're controlling is consumed, and control switches to the critter who ate it. Continue moving from critter to critter until you only have one left. Sound simple? Well, mostly. Each critter has its own set of movement restrictions, sort of like a chess piece, so you'll need to plan your course a bit more carefully. Press the [shift] key to see the entire puzzle at once, and press it again to get back to the game. If you get stuck, or if your critter goes soaring off into the void because you overshot a target, just tap [R] to restart the level. If you find the constant chatter of the background text distracting, you can deal with that in the options menu.
There are, of course, a few issues with the game. The game is, essentially, a one trick pony; ot would be nice to see the game test your brain a bit more by introducing new concepts and rules the farther you go beyond simply "here's a new thing, it moves like this". Your critters also tend to fall off the screen enough that it would be nice for the game to automatically restart the level for you when it happens (or just undo your last move) rather than requiring you to hit the button yourself. The themed menu, where you actually select options using the critters themselves, is a cute idea, but can be a little tedious in navigating when all you want is to change the options or turn off the sound. A simple click-to-pick menu might have been quicker, if not as cute. Fortunately, the team behind the game is already working on a sequel that addresses these problems and expands on the gameplay.
I'm a big fan of light brain puzzles, and The LaCoGeSSta Research fills that niche nicely, despite having a name that is officially the most tedious to type out repeatedly. (Developers, that was not a challenge.) If the gaming world is a newspaper, this would be the crossword puzzle you do over coffee each morning; simple and quick but satisfying. The randomly generated levels should keep you busy until the sequel comes out, but in the meantime, don't you have a bunch of beasties to force into mortal combat... for SCIENCE?!
Thanks to RoomEscaper55 for suggesting this one!