Do you think when the very first caveperson put a thing on top of another flat thing, he or she had any inkling of the great waves they were making throughout gaming history? We speak, of course, of platforms, and thus the platformer, but it ain't all fat plumbers and princesses. These days platformers are more than a little creative, mixing in arcade action or even physics and puzzles for a unique blend your grandmammy wouldn't recognise. Here are three games who defy the norm to make your platforms look fresh and new!
- Amberial - What would Mario be without his jump? Well... up the proverbial brown smelly creek without a paddle, clearly, since jumping is integral to platformers. Or is it?! OddGoo took the leaps out of your hands and put them at the whims of physics in this lovely but challenging little game where you play a ball trying to get to portals via springs, momentum, plunges, and more. It's odd how just removing a simple function you take for granted in almost every other game can make simple levels difficult.
- Fold - These days gravity is a common mechanic in games, but Joel Esler's stark little title puts it in your hands with a clever mechanic. Click to create "anomalies" on the ground, and drag to direct the force of gravity they produce, allowing you to fashion ways to fling yourself up cliffs or over dangerous divides. It definitely takes some getting used to, but this is one game in which the experimentation is half the fun. It's impressive how much challenge you can find when the levels are often so small and simple looking, and the solutions are usually the sort that make you smack yourself in the head once you figure them out... especially if you're like me and your first instinct is to drastically overcomplicate everything. I think I missed my calling as the new MacGuyver.
- Snow Drift - Come on. It's a Nitrome game. You already knew you were going to love it even before you laid eyes on that grinning, fluffy, ice-skating menace. The premise is simple; guide your yeti to his icy home by knocking over penguins, hoping across various icy platforms, and sliding down big icy hills to catch, like, wicked air brah and take out enemies as you fly. Not only is it gorgeous, it's also gorgeous silly, and there's something about the fast-paced gameplay that's more than a little addictive... though this is definitely one you'll need to be quick on your feet (and with your fingers) in a few places.
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!