Developer: Lenny Magner
Launcher Quote: “This little game about a balloon wouldn’t exist without Bitsy. The way Bitsy is approachable and limited stops me from getting bogged down trying to make The Best Game Ever so I can just make A Game and actually get it finished.
I hope you enjoy.”
Games where you had to figure out something in order to progress didn’t always get the attention that they deserved. More often than not, they were overshadowed by some of the more generally popular games, or worse yet, games featuring popular game characters who took from the puzzle game genre. Such it is that puzzle games kind of languished in obscurity with a few notable exceptions (thanks Myst).
These days, however, the games in which you need to find solutions are much more prevalent. Some of these have found life by blending with other genres that are more generally cool, such as the action game (Uncharted comes to mind) or the RPG (old-school RPGs like Divinity), and that’s not a bad thing overall. Games in which you use your head as well as your twitch skills are games that feel to be more rounded in terms of giving you an overall gaming experience, when that’s what you’re looking for.
That being said, it was really nice to go back to the olden days of simpler puzzle games with this entry in the Meditation Games series. The objective is simple – rescue the balloon – but the way in which you have figure out which objects to interact with and where to explore to eventually find a way to it is a microcosm of the experience of puzzle games today – a blend of exploration, thinking, and itemization wrapped around another game genre, in order to serve as a way to deepen the experience of the game being presented. The games that do this are better for it, and even though the solution turned out to be as simple as finding a ladder to climb a tree to get to the balloon, it didn’t make it any less satisfying.