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Monday, November 02, 2009

~Here, have some high culture.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Here, have some high culture.

Small Worlds by David Shute

As far as I can tell, his only previous game was the hilarious comedy movement game Chasm Spasm. (I'll be darned, it has been done before!) This new one's a pure exploration game. I like this guy. :D

With Small Worlds he's playing with zooming-out (much like I did in The Perfect Color), which I don't think I've ever seen before in exploration. The worlds are all pixel-art, which start so zoomed in that it barely has any coherence yet. You explore more of it by jumping around in side view, and it zooms out so you can see where you're going. Any parts of the image you don't go to don't get filled in. So if you don't want to experience the game to the fullest, you're not forced to.

There's an overworld, a science-fiction-y space-ship-y area, cold and gray like so many other games. The soundtrack has the humming of machinery, and everything looks dead and desolate. From there, you get to four other worlds, each of them beautiful and serene. They feature unusual combinations of what looks like man-made structures and natural chaos. When you get to the end, the game jarringly switches back to the overworld, leaving you disappointed to be back. After you've been to all four worlds, you detach from the space ship, the world zooms out further to show that you're leaving it behind, and the word "silence" appears on the screen to indicate that the game is over.

If you think that sounds like fun, you're right - it's terrific. And if you think it doesn't sound like fun, go away, you philistine.

The one weakness of the game is the jumping. It's the annoying kind of jumping, where if you hold down the button it keeps jumping forever. Those controls only ever existed because they're easier to program than sensible jumping- if there's a context in which that kind of endless bouncing works, I haven't seen it.



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