Memorization has been a part of video gaming history since the very early days. Want to make it through the next level? Memorize everything, it's the only way. Arcade cabinets mastered this technique to get players to feed them more coins, but the concept has carried on through today, especially in action-oriented games.
Proun (Windows, 70MB, pay what you want) - An arcade racer with an artistic style you'd have to look far and wide in the indie gaming realm to match. Proun puts you in control of a ball racing against other balls down a wire. You can move around this wire, rotating the world as you do, to keep your path free and clear of dastardly geometric obstacles. The game is mostly about memorizing track patterns and working with your reflexes to refine your times, but it's hard to talk about the game without gushing over its beautiful visuals. I mean, look at that screenshot! Look at the other screenshots! It's like a playable painting! Proun also sports multiplayer splitscreen, online highscores, unlockable speeds, several tracks, and modding tools that help you create your own levels. Note: Proun is released on a pay what you want model, meaning you can even get the full game for free. If you give some cash, though, you'll walk away with a bonus track!
Don't Lose Your Head (Windows, 5.7MB, free) - It's time for another extra-challenging 2D platform game! This simply-illustrated game plays high on your "ooh, that's artsy" meter with its stark visuals and neat "DEATH" text splattered everywhere you bite the dust. The goal is to reach the pulsating orb at the end of the level. The obstacles include spikes, rolling mines (with spikes), and an eye that loves to shoot laser goo at you whenever it possibly can (no spikes there, at least). Frustration can sometimes set in, hence the game's title, but the challenge is there, and you'll never give up because the game is working against you. Only because you haven't mastered the short level yet!
Gridpix - Retro Heroes (Windows, 3.3MB, free) - You like picross puzzles as much as we do? You like retro games as much as we do? Hey, looks like Simple-Media is your new hero! Gridpix is a very simple logic game with 32 puzzles complete, spread across 8x8 and 16x16 grids. It's missing most convenience features modern players are used to, such as lines marking 5x5 spaces, clue numbers crossing themselves out when the row/column is complete, and a mouse cursor that can draw straight lines even if you move the mouse all waggly. Despite that, the puzzles are pretty good, the music is great, and the challenge level is nice and high, perfect for fans of picross!