is an independently developed game available on Xbox Live Arcade. It's available for 800 Microsoft funbucks
($10 USD real world currency).
Originally announced in 2007
, the game's development process was long, and somewhat tortured. The game and its creator, Phil Fish, were featured prominently in Indie Game: The Movie
, a documentary about independent games and the developers who make them. Like Jonathon Blow, the creator of Braid
, Fish's outspoken nature has occasionally landed him in hot water
finally saw the light of day on April 13th and has received nearly unanimous praise
from the gaming press.
The game is, at least on the surface, an open-world (ala Metroid
) 2D platformer. There are no enemies, no death in any meaningful sense, and very little penalty for missing a jump. Rather than focusing on jumping skills, the game uses an interesting 2D/3D perspective mechanic to build various spatial orientation puzzles. The launch trailer
and Giant Bomb's Quick Look
at the game do a good job of scratching the surface.
But just under that soothing, rotation-oriented surface is almost an entirely separate game filled with puzzles that are far more devious than any of the simple spatial puzzles. This aspect of the game, when combined with the gentle exploration has brought comparisons to Myst
. The presence of an alphabet and number system in the game, among other things has lots of people resorting to pen and paper
to figure things out (spoilers abound in that tumblr obviously). The game's most difficult puzzle, far and away more difficult than anything else in the game, was so hard that it took almost a week for the collective internet to solve
The striking, gorgeous soundtrack
which has been described as "chiptune Vangelis" is available for $7.
What's next for Phil Fish? He's not saying
much yet, beyond the fact that it probably won't be an XBLA title, and might be at least partially Kickstarter-funded.