Beneath the Waves
Gregory Weir tells a story of the worst breakup in history with Beneath the Waves, a short platforming adventure. The Sun and the Ocean have fallen out, and you've been sent to gather the Idols hidden beneath the waves and return them to a series of pedestals high in the mountains. Use the [arrow] keys to move around and [X] or the up [arrow] to jump. All of the Idols are hidden underwater, but luckily for you, you never run out of breath, so you can take your time and explore. To pick up an Idol, just move over it; you'll start carrying it, and a beam of light will appear pointing you towards its pedestal. The catch is that the sea denizens, who will normally ignore you as you swim in their midst, become hostile whenever you're carrying an Idol; the only creature that will actively pursue you is the shark, but all underwater life will damage you, and if you take three hits (represented onscreen by a trio of suns when you take damage) then you'll drop the Idol and have to recover it. You can't actually be killed, however, making navigating hostile territory undersea less harrowing than trying to carry a heavy package through a crowd of clumsy, ignorant people. (Alternate Title: "Shopping Mall at Christmastime")
What Gregory Weir does perhaps better than anyone is to continually present unique twists and intriguing concepts that make you want to find out more about them. Beneath the Waves, unfortunately, needs more; more variation (both environmental and gameplay), more polish, and more resolution. Not only can the prolonged platforming/avoidance sequences quickly become frustrating, they also feel like they're doing little else than padding the game since there's never any real variation to them or the locations they take place in. (It might have helped if swimming didn't feel like controlling a dolphin stuck in a set of rubber bands.) Even just changing the look of the areas would have done wonders. After playing for five minutes, I realised I'd seen basically everything the game had to offer in a visual sense, and trekking up the same featureless mountains and down the same featureless watery caverns meant it was difficult to find a lot of motivation to keep playing when I knew once I grabbed another idol my reward was just going to be a line of dialogue and to get to do it all over again, but longer.
That's not to say you shouldn't play Beneath the Waves. While you'll probably notice some similarities in concept to other titles (once you've finished playing, read the Notes accessible from the main menu for more details), it's worth playing for the dreamlike, surreal atmosphere it creates and the appealingly mythic-sounding narrative. The game probably won't run you more than twenty minutes or so, and there's only one ending, but fans of Gregory Weir's work who appreciate his unusual approach to storytelling will enjoy the time they spend with it.