Category Archives: Quick Thoughts

yellow remembers when touchscreens were cool

Unassuming and pleasantly warm, Bart Bonte’s SEO-unfriendly mobile puzzler, yellow (2017), finds joy in simplicity. Halfway between a series of vignettes and a digital version of those impossible metal brainteasers, yellow does not ask for much. Simply turn the screen yellow by tapping, flicking, or staring intently at your phone, impromptu Coldplay karaoke optional. That premise, however, fails to capture the delightful sense of accomplishment that causes yellow to be entertaining despite being little more than a series of motor skill exercises. Continue reading yellow remembers when touchscreens were cool

Four Sided Fantasy reconsiders the role of a game’s camera

The camera is videogames’ most ubiquitous component and likely its least commonly utilized in any meaningful way. A good camera is an invisible camera, something to be forgotten about until it clips on a piece of geometry or obscures something important, suddenly reducing the game being played to a scrap heap of early 3D failures and amateur mistakes. Continue reading Four Sided Fantasy reconsiders the role of a game’s camera

Through the fire and flames with Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure

2007 was an earnest, blissfully ignorant year. As the US economy was gearing up for an epic real-estate crash J.K. Rowling was wrapping up Harry Potter, the first iPhone was announced, and the internet collectively turned its attention towards one thing: demonstrating inarguably, with so many blurry off-screen videos and well-worn plastic guitars, that they could indeed finish Guitar Hero 3’s (2007) unofficial anthem, DragonForce’s “Through the Fire and Flames,” on expert. Continue reading Through the fire and flames with Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure

Expand teaches you to dance like a level designer

Expand’s greatest deception is in giving the impression that its stark black and white and red color palette and plain geometric characters were born out of an inability to do anything more. Sandwiched between so many half-finished platformers and blocky top-down shooters, it is all too easy to cast Expand in with the lot as just another amateur, dismissible production. Expand is in turns far too subtle for its own good, as what screenshots fail to convey is the elegance and creativity that guides each screen and level of a game that in many ways closer approximates a digital dance. Continue reading Expand teaches you to dance like a level designer

Sara Is Missing is a Ghost Story for the Digital Age

Horror media relies, predominately, on our ability to suspend our disbelief and sense of reason. We know, somewhere, that there is not a monster under our bed, but with only the slightest provocation we can all too easily convince ourselves otherwise. Sometimes, this paranoia can cause us to entirely mistake fiction for truth, and as early as 1938 with the radio production of H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds horror creators have been doing their best to blur the boundary of reality to increasingly disquieting effect. Continue reading Sara Is Missing is a Ghost Story for the Digital Age

In Karambola, vegetables have feelings too

I am sitting in a bar. Perhaps I’m tending it, but for now, I merely observe the man in front of me. He has been drinking profusely, no doubt on account of the bothersome negative thought bird hovering near his forehead. Or at least, what believe to be his forehead. Above his shoulders, his body expands into an egg-shaped mass of spines, and as his hat slips off his crown, a flowery mouth-like hole reveals itself as the means by which the patron has finished off so much wine. I feel a deep pity for this creature, and begin to tap out a tune on his discarded glasses. He perks up a bit. Continue reading In Karambola, vegetables have feelings too

Planet of the Eyes finds Limbo’s other half

It is immediately evident that Cococucumber’s Planet of the Eyes is indebted to the success of Limbo. The cold open, the parallax art style, and the first puzzle involving a runaway boulder, are all indisputably intended to conjure comparisons to Playdead’s pivotal release. What isn’t as apparent from the beginning, though, is that Planet of the Eyes is not a response but a reflection; the other side of Limbo’s macabre coin, only fully recognizable when both are placed in context with one another. Continue reading Planet of the Eyes finds Limbo’s other half

Metrico+ isn’t a simple port, it’s a rebirth.

This post is a supplement to my original Metrico review, concerned primarily with how Metrico+ differs from the original. For more on Metrico, please see my review of the Vita version.


Originally released exclusively for the Playstation Vita in 2014, Metrico was so heavily entwined with the Vita’s hardware that it was difficult to imagine how developer Digital Dreams would replicate it on other platforms. The short answer is that Metrico+ both is and isn’t the game released on Vita just over two years ago. Continue reading Metrico+ isn’t a simple port, it’s a rebirth.

The Purring Quest Can’t Keep Its Hairballs Down

The Purring Quest is a much cuter game than it is an enjoyable one to play. It seems worth getting that much out in the open right from the onset, as whether or not developer Valhalla Cat’s feline focused platformer is worth any sort of consideration, depends on how much its premise can carry it for you. If you exist at the center of a Venn diagram consisting of cat related paraphernalia, armchair philosophy, and graffiti calling for substance legalization, The Purring Quest is able to provide at least some amusement for a very distinct audience. For those less immediately taken in by celebrity cat cameos and catnip jokes, The Purring Quest quickly becomes more chore than delight. Continue reading The Purring Quest Can’t Keep Its Hairballs Down