Deep Chalk: First Phase
Bestowing a name like Deep Chalk on your game is not a frivolous undertaking. "Deep" suggests layers upon layers of meaning, complex undercurrents carrying bits of knowledge that are almost as satisfying to examine as the currents themselves. Deep Blue. Deep Purple. Deep Dish Pizza.
On the other hand, "chalk" doesn't bring much to the table. Besides teaching tool, sidewalk decorator, and athletic friction reducer, we don't really have that much use for chalk. Rarely is it considered a plus for something to be described as "chalky".
You can begin to see the clash of ideas that are suggested by the juxtaposition of these two words. Likewise, the game itself encompasses a dual nature, though perhaps not by game author Zack Livestone's design. On the deep side of things, we find a charming and interactive point-and-click, in which you clear the way for a powerful crystal to escape its confines, presumably to reach a higher plane of crystallinity. Certain game elements, rather than activating when you click, respond to the very touch of a cursor; others require more of a karate chop. Otherworldly music sampled from Boards of Canada permeates the black-and-white Samorostian landscapes. No guidance is offered; it is up to the player to figure out what can and what must be done.
Ah, but now we come to the chalk. Yes, I suppose you could say that the white line-objects on the black background suggest chalkboard imagery, the mouse-over interactions reflect the transitive nature of chalkboard doodles and so on. Fine. But there's also a certain dryness to the game that seems to stem from a lack of empathy with the crystal. We don't understand why it's so determined to get wherever it is trekking towards. Similarly, the puzzles also feel dis-connective, making Deep Chalk seem at times more like a find-the-hotspot game.
So, while on the surface Deep Chalk may appear to be a worthy contemporary of Samorost, it doesn't quite reach that level in the end. Not that I'm trying to undersell it — the atmosphere is captured fantastically, augmented by the complex and shadowy visuals. To be fair, the three short levels are only the first installment of the game, so Deep Chalk may yet reach its potential. Nonetheless, they are certainly worthy of a play in their current form, and we'll be looking forward to further installments from Zack.
Play the entire Deep Chalk series...
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click top of the middle icicle. click the crystal that comes out
drag crystal to the bracket to its left.
click button on left side of the end table
mouse over the hook that dropped down
follow the little cube that floated down to the base of the end table. click there. click the box behind the table base. click the floating cube to plug it in.
you found the door! click the crystal you dragged into the bracket, then the crystal in the door and you're out.
click down the vertical switch to set the telescope.
hold mouse over the telescope's eyepiece until something happens.
enter the code into the numbers, then pull the horizontal switch
press the top of the thing that folded out, then keep your mouse on the glowing ball until it goes into a hole. a bridge comes down, and you made it to the last stage!
find all the glowing balls to complete the ladder.
on top of the curly plant second from the right
behind the right leg of the boardwalk
middle of the balcony on the branch
behind the bottom leaf of the top-right 3-leaf. mouse over it to move the leaves.
behind the top leaf of the 3-leaf closest to the ladder
click the doorway to move the crystal up to the second story.
mouse over the 3 hooks in order.
left, middle, right
click the skybox thing
Posted by: neko | April 28, 2008 1:51 PM
For those of you who would rather not be told what to do, I want to try my hand at a hint-through (which I prefer as well).
Looks like a button
This may be a pull cord of some kind
What's the first thing the instructions say to look for?
Where might a crystal be hiding?
Something white or see through--like the window...or the icicles
Click on the icicles until you find a crystal
The intro told you something else about the nature of the crystal
Is there something that looks as though it needs an energy source?
Getting the crystal there may require more than one activity.
Try clicking, dragging--maybe both
Definitely both! The crystal should now be in the generator
Do you see something that looks like it might require electricity to work?
A button, perhaps?
Push the button on the stand. If you knock over the glass of water, that's OK!
See if you can't get that hook to do something
You can't click it--try something else
Once it swings over and attaches, something falls out. Where did it go?
There should be something clickable in the area where the little thing fell.
It's on the pedestal base
I'm sure you can figure out what to zoom in on. And what to do with the little cube. (if not...click!)
Ahhh freedom!....well, not quite....
You know what to do with a door, but for some reason, nothing happens.
Don't forget your endless source of energy!
Click on the crystal, if you haven't already
That telescope looks important, but you can't find the peephole.
Surely there is something that controls the telescope.
Oh look! A lever!
Take a look, but be patient!
Where would you enter those numbers?
If you are still looking, it's right underneath the lever.
The next move should be obvious, but in case it isn't...
Click the lever under the numbers.
This next bit is a little tricky. See the directions to the left of those numbers?
It has to do with the strange machine that pops out of the wall. It produces some sort of little energy blob. Can you get the blob all the way to the upper left-hand wall?
You can't click it. What else might work?
Stay sharp and "chase" the little blob with the mouse until a window opens in the wall. You should go straight to the next room.
This one is fun! There are lots of little moving parts. Wondering what is hiding?
Did you find a smaller version of the blob in Room 2?
Here's the main hint--there are five of them. If you look hard enough, you can easily find them all.
But if not, they are: behind leaves of the two right-most plants, on the upper bridge, hiding behind a leg of the lower bridge, and masquerading as part of the decoration along the bottom.
Do what you do with a door. Just a normal door. This one is different from the first one.
Now the task seems to be getting past the open bridge. Hmmm. Something must affect it.
Do you see something with a bit of a code? A numeric code?
Take a look at those hooks. Remember what happens with hooks?
The trick seems to be getting them all swinging, in the right order, at once. Be patient! It will happen!
From here, I think you can figure out what is going to let your little crystal go through the final door. It seems there is one more button!
Posted by: dsrtrosy | April 28, 2008 5:14 PM