The 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 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.
- Sprout - 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 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!