The Vault №80
Physics! Don'tcha just love it? You may think physics is boring and edumacational, but when you get your first taste of physics games you realise just how wonderful physics can really be. It's a surprise, and a delightful one, not unlike how someone who grew up during the '90s feels discovering for the first time that Bill Nye is a real, live scientist. (CNN, seven years ago. I think I might have actually called several people at the time just to tell them. They already knew, of course. Don't you dare ruin this for me, friends and family.) And just like Bill Nye, each of the games in this week's installment of the Vault incorporates physics in different ways for a fun new experience.
- Totem Destroyer - Gabriel Ochsenhofer kicks things off for this theme in simple, addictive fashion with a game about balance and g-g-gold! Golden idols, that is. Your mission here is to simply delete the requisite number of blocks onscreen without letting Tot, the shining, grinning idol, hit the ground. It should be easy, but as the structures get more and more precarious, and new materials are added, you'll quickly realise it's anything but. Combining reliable physics, which helps you plot when Tot teeters, and easy to grasp gameplay on top of a bouncy soundtrack, it's a perfect example of casual gameplay. It may even make you want to break out Jenga from your attic again, for the full five minutes it takes you to remember that Jenga is stupid and real gamers cheat at Scrabble.
- Fantastic Contraption - Colin Northway and Andy Moore's creative puzzler is what would happen if you forced Willy Wonka to design cars instead of candy. The goal is simple; get from point A to point B. BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! The charm of Fantastic Contraption lies in the whole "contraption" bit; use a variety of strange tools and objects to build a means of getting to your objective, overcoming any obstacles in your path. Figuring out how different materials like water or wood will help you move when they're placed in different designs makes for a game packed with fantastic "ah-ha!" moments, and after just a little bit of experimentation you're sure to unlock your inner engineer, and even indulge your creative side!
- Spin the Black Circle - It sounds like something you'd find at a seedy carnival, doesn't it? You know, the weird midway game where you win a prize that later turns out to be cursed, but when you take it back the next day there's just an empty space where the stall was, and a toothless old man that yells at you, "I dun tol' ya to stay away!"... where was I? OH. Alejandro Guillen. The creator of Magic Pen also gave us this funky but brutally hard game of reflexes and skill where the goal is to rotate the screen and safely guide the ball to the black dot. Make no mistake, this is a game that requires patience and a steady hand to complete, but the style, performance, and reliable physics makes it one challenge you'll be glad to sink your teeth into.
While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!