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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Infinity Inc> Dora Get by with a little help from your friends... or yourself, anyway, in this dark puzzle platformer by The Shpufa. Use a cloning gun to make expendable buddies to trigger traps and press switches for you as you traverse an abandoned facility. It's harmless... right?  ...
Concrete Jungle> Dora You'll need a good head on your shoulders and deck in your hands to master this cunning indie game of cards and strategy! When you're called in to help rebuild a town and the surrounding area with the help of smart Laney Thompson, every tile counts, especially since different buildings you place have different effects that can negatively impact your total! With multiple game modes and a brilliant cartoony style, Concrete Jungle is addictive and clever in equal measure.  ...
Redemption Cemetery: Clock of Fate> Dora You thought your biggest problem was being late for your train, when suddenly you find yourself hurtling back through time. You're stuck in the 1940s unless you can help the troubled spirits you encounter right the wrongs in the pasts in this gorgeous but gruesome hidden-object adventure.  ...
Old City Escape> Dora You're in the slammer once again in this short but satisfying escape game from Pine Studio. But maybe with the help of a fine feathered friend, and a little heavy weaponry, you can escape the tower and sail away to freedom!  ...

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