The Vault №109
Those despairing eyes, those trembling hands, that stink of fatigue and frustration... yep, no doubt about it. Either someone made you play Desert Bus all the way through, or you need a vacation. Fortunately, The Vault has all sorts of destinations for you to visit, and we're not going to make you use your imagination... not when there are developers willing to toil and do all the work for you! This week, pack your favourite belongings (I'm not sharing any of my ponies) because we're hitching a ride with games that take you to some very different locales. It's like a staycation, with the biggest air quotes possible around the word!
- Learn to Fly - Don't mess with penguins. Seriously, don't. They may be all the way in the snowy poles, but aside from being able to call in backup from Sea World (have you ever seen a gang of seals reenacting The Warriors on your front lawn?), they're also wicked good at holding grudges, and doing something about it. In Light Bringer's adorable launch game, you play a ticked-off penguin who, after having read something about himself he didn't like on the internet, decides to build a series of contraptions to carry him all the way to the author's house. It's as cute as pie, and though it lacks the glut of upgrades and obstacles usually stuffed in most launch games, Learn to Fly features some of the best skill-based gameplay around... and an ending you'll get a chuckle out of to boot.
- A Small Favor - Well, if I'd known you wanted to go to space, I would have just gone ahead and sent you to the moon for a thousand years or so, but I guess if that's too hardcore or you think it might lead to some festering resentment or something, we can saddle up for an intergalactic point-and-click adventure with Jay "Zeebarf" Ziebarth. Clad in his signature glorious artistic style and packed with all the weirdness you've come to expect, this little adventure will put you in the shoes of an alien assassin who's just going to do a little favor for someone... involving murder, naturally! Boasting all the clever puzzles and imaginative environments that are Zeebarf's calling cards, this is a stellar interstellar adventure well worth tackling. Plus, since you're an assassin and not a bounty hunter, this job is 100% guaranteed not to end in eternal torment within the digestive juices of a Sarlacc!... probably. Maybe. ... no promises!
- Submachine: Future Loop Foundation - You know whenever Mateusz Skutnik is steering your tugboat you're going to have a good time, and doubly so if you're bound for Submachine territory. Existing outside the main continuity you explore within the rest of the series, the game was made for the band of the same name to help promote their music, but also provides a surprisingly engrossing journey into the surreal world you've come to love... provided you can find a way out of your cell, of course. Thick with atmosphere and imagery, it provides both a great way for newcomers to the intimidatingly lengthy series to dip their toes into the sort of intrigue and mystery it provides, but also a solid dose of puzzling and exploration that fans will love to dive right into. Few games have captured imaginations and lead to as many wild theories as the Submachine series, and if you haven't experienced it for yourself yet, this is a great snack to see if it's to your taste.
- Alchemia - Springtail Studio is made up of some really interesting minds, and a trip within them in this gorgeous animated point-and-click adventure is just the way to round out your time. What looks like a simple forest evening takes a turn for the surreal when a dozing shepherd's meal is stolen by a robotic flying lizard, sparking a strange adventure and an unlikely companionship. The mood is fairly mellow, but also filled with an almost unparalled sense of mysticism and fantasy as you explore and think creatively to overcome obstacles. Though the extended version offers significantly more gameplay, this free browser version shouldn't be overlooked as a simple "demo", and will provide you with one of the loveliest (and weirdest!) adventures around for your time.
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!