The Vault №71
Usually whenever someone calls something "unique", it's accompanied by those little air quotes and maybe a meaningful lift of the eyebrows. But since when did "unique" have to be synonymous with "crazy" or even "crazy in a bad way"? Some of the most popular games we've featured over the years have borne that label, and these are just three of the ones that make us remember it's those standout oddballs that really make gaming the diverse, wacky, baffling, and even meaningful form of entertainment that it is.
- Rose & Camellia - A comedian once said the world might be a better place if we were all allowed to pick just one person a month who really deserved it to give them a brisk swat across the jowls, but even he might have found the concept of this fighting game a little extreme. You play a young widow named Reiko, who must earn the respect of the women in her dearly departed husband's household by besting them in a series of fantastically dramatic slap-fights, which you control by clicking and sweeping with your mouse to attack and evade. The crisp artwork combined with the ludicrous premise that's played oddly straight makes this one of the more memorable games you'll ever come across, despite being fairly short and simple.
- Grow Island - eyezmaze has become known for his surreal little puzzles starring little blobby people in a world whose creation is entirely dependent on you. Here, in this installment of the Grow series of games, you're tasked with trying to figure out the correct order in which to click on the icons you have on your screen, each of which represents a different phase in the island's development and depends on the others for growth. The aim is to get all components maxed, and while it's unlikely that you'll be able to figure it out on the first go, it's also unlikely that you'll be bothered by it as you take in the detailed animations of the little people scurrying around to do your bidding. Imaginative, cute, quirky, and absolutely lovely, it's a perfect example of why people eagerly await each new eyezmaze game, and just the thing to get kids, friends, and family members clustered around your monitor to show off.
- The Majesty of Colors - If you had ever told me I'd be having warm fuzzy feelings for a hideous, massive tentacled underwater monstrosity, I would have called you a lying lie-filled lieasaurus and then burst into tears. And yet, here we are, thanks to Gregory Weir, whose name should already call to mind for you the sublime, the strange, and the introspective. In this beautiful little narrative, you control a single tentacle that belongs to a sea monster, who uses it to explore the world above the ways after it becomes entranced by a passing balloon. How you interact with the world determines how it reacts to you, and how the story ends. Even if you're chasing another ending, the whole experience is short, but more than worth jumping into. It's unexpectedly touching and artfully executed, and remains one of the only games I still bring up regularly in discussion years after I've played it.
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!