Suggested Browsing: 10/26/2012

What with my ridiculously demanding work schedule, Suggested Browsing comes to you a little later than usual. However, I've included plenty of games, my opinions on them, and links to them for you to enjoy.

Sun Hop (GamesFree): More and more often, I find platformers thriving on their ability to wrap the fairly easily grasped mechanics inherent to the genre in personality. Humor and charm are typically the chosen avenues for communicating personality; and in choosing charm as its preferred medium, Sun Hop is yet another title to adopt the method. While differing personalities will often lead to different feeling games, it is certainly possible to experience fatigue in any genre. Sun Hop seems reliant, and designed around relaxing that sort of fatigue, while still presenting itself personality first. The game can most readily be described as a Sunday game. Greeted with a brightly adorned color pallet and repeating melody of plucked and strummed strings, players laze into an atmosphere clearly intended to sooth. Utilizing only the space bar for traversal, players hop planet to planet propelled by the gravity of each in an attempt to reach one or more suns. From simple beginnings, the game quickly introduces impressive water physics, allowing players fast and inventive ways of reaching their destination. The game is not difficult, but the later levels surrounding the gravity of black-hole resembling obstacles might take a minute to process. With only twenty four stages front to back, Sun Hop is a quick, enjoyable experience perfect for a lazy morning - which is free to play here.

Save Merlin the Pig! (Leigh Alexander): Gaming journalism's own Leigh Alexander has a long standing history of openly taking on the social issues surrounding the gaming community. Bringing the issues faced by gamers to the readers has established Alexander's place as a respected journalist; now her attempt to bring social issues faced by non-gamers into a medium they will understand might just start her on the same path in game development. An interactive bit of fiction (Also known as a text adventure), Save Merlin takes place as a couple in present-day Brooklyn head out into the city in search of an enjoyable evening. Taking a chance on a more hand-crafted, six dollar-drafted establishment, players come across an odd twitter advertisement on restaurant's chalk board. The twitter account and dinner reservation list posted on the board are for the same pig - Merlin. As players delve into the story, making decisions that they hope wont bring the game to a sudden end, the question of rather or not it is wrong to treat a pig so familiarly only to eat him. Housing some snappy writing aimed at various parties including - but not reserved to - the farm-to-table community and an occasionally intimate relationship with the fourth wall; Save Melvin does a great job or questioning the things we do, participate in, and encourage. Save Melvin the Pig! is free, and available here. Try it out.

Other Things You Might Enjoy:

Dammit Snake (Zaratustra Productions):Dammit Snake utilizes the simple, frustrating idea of the original Snake. Navigate the screen devouring dots while attempting not to hit the walls or the ever growing tail of your own snake. However, rather than perpetually growing with each dot, Dammit Snake prefers mitosis. After eating a dot, players split into two snakes, having simultaneous control over them both. The frenzy continues so long as at least one snake is alive, and dead snakes remain on screen on as added obstacles. Keeping score of the dots, as standard, is included with a high score counter. Yet, I would have enjoyed a counter for how many snakes I controlled at once, as I was at one point up to five living snakes under my control. This madness is playable here.

The Visit (Exotworking): The Visit presents itself much like other retro-Mario inspired, side scrolling platformers. Yet, the minute you bounce on top of one of the crab-men pacing back and forth on screen, you are surrounded by police and quickly taken to court for murder. Housing three varied, funny endings that I'd rather not spoil - The Visit is one worth seeing. -Each of the play-throughs lasts about two minutes, so it certainly isn't a taxing experience. Try it out, here.

Bear Surfin' Mega Wave & Nuign Specter (Jake Clover): Released only a week apart, these two free-ware pieces for windows are so wildly different it felt best to discuss them together. Released first, Mega Wave is a mouse guided avoid-em-up asking players to dodge sharks, spikes, giant submarines and all sorts of other madness until the timer runs out. Ten chocolate pieces will reward players with a power boost, while a white-green candy restores health. Good luck. Arriving a week after its frantic predecessor, Nuign Specter is described by Clover as an "atmospheric experiment". Set in a seemingly post apocalyptic world, players inhabit an older creature supported by a cane and toting a shot gun. Determining what and when you'll have to use that handy shotgun is best left to your discovery. Bear Surfin' Mega Wave is downloadable here, while Nuign Specter can be snagged here.