Interlocked is a puzzle game about removing interlocking puzzle pieces from an already built object. The minute I ran across it over at GameSetWatch I had a sneaky suspicion I would like it because the game actually reminded me of a real wood block puzzle my mother showed to me when I was a child. It was a perfectly round sphere made of wood puzzle pieces that were interlocking. Your task was to put it together. The key to putting it together was figuratively the same thing, two of the pieces formed a key that was inserted last. This was also the “key” to taking it apart. I think this is what it looked like…
In this digital version of the same puzzle, the task (or puzzle game element) is to take them apart. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s frustrating as hell. The control scheme is similar to that of a 3D editor for geometry, as you use the mouse to just look at the object by clicking and dragging around. The way in which you interact with the object is by holding down the space bar, placing your cursor over the shape in question and clicking the mouse button again. A little 3D widget appears and allows you to pick an axis to “constrain” or pull on. The controls are as elegant as they could be for such a rudimentary and simple game, so I don’t have an issue with the interface design. It’s actually quite slick. I think the real problem revolves around the lack of a good tactile feedback system.
The Mouse and keyboard leave a bit of a bitter taste in your mouth about 4 or 5 puzzles in because you have no good way of feeling the loose ends of the puzzle (read: the player doesn’t understand why their tactic isn’t working and cannot “feel” their way through the solution). I’ve seen many a haptic feedback system and all kinds of systems that incorporate gloves so those would be a good match for this. Combine this with some Nintendo 3DS action and you have yourself a dandy little puzzle game!
There are quite a few good games being created out there in the Indie scene that are free to play and have some great moments/elements to them. More and more I am starting to see a trend, a trend in the direction that these games actually speak very deeply to the player, having more to say than just “save the princess” or “destroy anything in site”. I happened to run into one such title a few days ago and really needed to share with you all the complexities of it. Not only does it say a whole lot, but it encompasses a standard game play methodology that speaks as loudly as the actual theme of the story. It’s called, “Every day the same dream” and it requires you to only progress through a series of choices that speak volumes about life and your path through it. I can’t help but wonder how this game came about; what the author was thinking and why they chose what they chose. The game is rather simple, has a nice visual style and implores the use of only the arrow keys and the space bar. What you find out as you play is that routine and monotony are the enemy, and that your only salvation is to search, look and try different things in order to break free and understand. This simple connection between adventure game mechanics and the idea that life is only interesting and meaningful when you take the less traveled road is up for some debate but I found the point to be immensely, if not overwhelmingly, powerful as it relates to me and my own life.
Sit down, relax and let yourself go with this one. It’s well worth it in the end. Hats off to the music and the graphical style.
I would have to say that I was reminded heavily of Daniel Benmergui’s work, especially his “Today I Die” game. His work is a bit more poetical…a bit more out of the box and requires a deeper reason to stay connected to the work for longer amounts of time. However, there is still a wonderful journey there, even if you can’t figure out what to do in the meantime.
There are some powerful things going on here, and I can only hope the Indie scene continues on that trend. And I hope the mainstream picks up on it, implements it, and moves it forward so that games as a commercial endeavor can also become ones that actually say something meaningful; thus changing the way pop culture looks at interactive media.
Would like to give a shout out to Justin over at The Nethernet. He/they are doing a damn fine job of creating a game out of browsing the internet. I suggest that all MMO players get an account setup and give it a whirl. I’m curious to know your thoughts and such on the experience. Here are mine below.
Definitely leads you into some interesting places. Missions (the good ones) give you a variety of interesting sites to check out and allow you to browse through content at your leisure.
Are a constructive or destructive person? The game allows you to pick an alignment with your character and helps create a fun atmosphere for the rest of the players.
Missions are pretty straightforward and allow for some scavenger hunt and trivia type questions. Most of these are simple enough to keep you playing.
Handy browser tool bar for Firefox eases playing.
Not sure where the overall meta-game will lead me. I’m really not sure how much I care about it either yet.
Some of the missions involve a quiz or a scavenger hunt and that’s fine for a few things but gets old. I’d like to see what else could be done to make quests more interesting and hopefully not a “full blown academic test”. So far that hasn’t happened.
Well that’s about all I can write about for now, seeing as how I just got started. More as I delve deeper into the game.