Aldo and Gus: The Skeleton Key
In Alex and Eugene Plotnikov's point-and-click adventure Aldo and Gus: The Skeleton Key, you play a cat in an enchanted flying tea-kettle (no, you're ridiculous) who's trying to rescue their dear wizard who was locked up in a dungeon for, well, wizardry. You'll need to hunt for a key to help him escape, which is easier said than done given the propensity for puzzles this jail and the surrounding area appear to have. To play, just click, and your cursor will highlight yellow when it passes over something you can interact with. You can use items in your inventory by clicking them to pick them up, then clicking again wherever you think they should go. There are a surprising amount of scenes to explore here, so it's easy to get overwhelmed at first, though once you know where everything is, things start to become clearer. Most of the puzzles are fairly straight-forward, requiring you to use the proper item in the right place, or unlock doors by spotting the proper codes for them, though not every object has an immediately obvious use. What makes Aldo and Gus so charming, however, is its wonderful surreal style, using simple shapes and bright colours to create imaginative environments that feel like something out of a Tim Burton film. It's weird in an eye-catching way that makes you want to explore it, though with so much going on in some scenes, it isn't often clear at a glance what's useful, so you'll want to waggle your cursor everywhere in case you missed something. That, combined with the way the cursor's colour can get washed out in some places making the highlight hard to see, makes the game feel a little rough around the edges, but Aldo and Gus: The Skeleton Key is still a wonderfully strange little game that makes us hope we see more of this pair down the road.