North Wind: Trill of Consciousness
North Wind: Trill of Consciousness by Henry Gosuen is a creative take on the platform exploration genre. You control the tiny hero named Dir who moves through a blocky world of spikes and obstacles and maze-like puzzles. Instead of scrolling levels that keep pace with the protagonist, though, you do all the swiping yourself from a stationary point of view. It's a bit like Office Rush, Rooms or Continuity, only with a decidedly sweeter metroidvania feel.
Walk left, walk right, jump. Those are the powers Dir has at his disposal, though later on he'll gain new abilities that let him do things like break blocks with his nose. For you, though, there are quite a few more options. The screen is divided into three horizontal strips that can be moved independently by a quick swipe across the screen. Changing the map changes the terrain Dir must traverse, creating interesting puzzles of the "How the heck do I get up there?" nature. You'll encounter bosses, traps, items and more as you unlock new rooms to swipe to. It's surprisingly exciting!
North Wind: Trill of Consciousness comes with one notable flaw: a painful and deceptive in-app purchase. You have three hearts that represent your life points. When those reach zero, you die. You're then given the choice to pay for a heart refill or to continue with a single heart for free. Each time you die you are given the same choice, turning a cute and entertaining game into a deep dark pit that wants to eat all of your money. Sure, you can play with one heart, but since the game carries a price tag in the first place, it feels a lot like a bait and switch tactic. "Here's a fun game you bought, it sure is neat! By the way, if you die you have to pay to play it the same way."
Hopefully the developer will consider addressing this in a future update. It's an ugly scar on the face of an otherwise gorgeous, creative and captivating game!
Note: An update has been released changing the way in-app purchases work! Now there are two free options that carry a score penalty, along with a minimum paid option that refills all of the hearts. Cheers to developer Henry Gosuen for the update!