If you're like me, you love developers for the free entertainment they make to deliver into your grey matter, but you also sort of resent them too. They can make magic, after all, creating these incredibly fun and impressive bits of digital artistry while we can only toddle around in the dirt at their feet, plaintively babbling for the fruits of their labour and wondering if we'd gain their powers if we ate their brains. (Short answer: No. Long answer: I am no longer allowed within 500 feet of Christine Love. IT WAS ONE BITE, GAWD.) So the closest someone like you or I with no experience can get? Level editors! Here are three of our favourites.
- Time Kufc - Edmund McMillen knows what's up. It's not enough just to make a platformer, you have to make it about nutso multidimensional time traveling and then let your players get in on the action too. Essentially it's about swapping between "layers" on levels, allowing you to hop back and forth between planes in a way that lets you bypass blocks or hazards, and then they demanded absolutely insane player skills for some of the hardest levels to boot. With a strange sense of humour and a stranger style, it lets you enjoy some familiar concepts in a clever, challenging fashion and then come up with the most brutal challenge possible for your friends.
- Electric Box - All Twinkle Star Games wants you to do is get power where it needs to go, but the "why" is not nearly as important as the "how" in this puzzle game that's both gorgeous and gorgeously, deviously simple. To get electricity from point A to point B, you need to drag and drop various elements into play that impact it in different ways, from solar panels to magnets, water, and more. Part Rube Goldberg machine, part stylishly simple engineering logic puzzle, it's perfect for experimenting and creating with in ways that will be approachable to kids and captivating for adults.
- Shift 3 - Anthony Lavelle is essentially the grizzled old veteran of browser games, and Shift is one of his simplest, yet most brilliant offerings. The idea to this puzzle platformer is that you can flip between black and white at any time, letting you use the landscape against itself to explore, reach places you previously couldn't, and gather keys. Cliffs become stairs, chasms become platforms as you run along the sides of levels, inside and out, and as the series has gone on it's only gotten stronger by adding new elements while still keeping the original gameplay intact. It's one of those games that's elegant in its simplicity, and yet shows that even straightforward concepts can confound and engage when explored in new ways.
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!