After writing about puzzle games, I felt that it would be appropriate to highlight this wonderful puzzle game that gamasutra brought to my attention.
The link connects you to everything you need to play the game and to find out more. Here's a few design bullet points.
- Mechanics: SNAP a photo & PLACE the photograph.
- The outline of the SNAP box is a clean form that helps communicate to the player that only elements that fit inside the boundary can be repositioned. In this way, the SNAP mechanic is quantified.
- The dynamics of the PLACE mechanic comes from how the different level elements react. The bird flies in a straight line. The people fall due to gravity. The moon is also affected by gravity and the weight of the objects on top of it. Objects that appear to be physical are physical. And with such a sparse level element set, all the elements cleanly fit into the game space according to their function.
- The game takes minutes to play and beat. Each ending is poignant like a poem. A little curiosity goes a long way.
- Almost every arrangement of the game elements yields a specific and relevant ending. Such a design makes experimentation very satisfying and the game very tight .
- The pixel art, ambient lake sounds, the text, and the harp music all support the gameplay experience by matching the play style of the game. I wish I were the Moon is a slower paced puzzle game where each of only a few possible moves can be made deliberately with no fear of consequences. Because the mechanics are as simple as clicking around, the player can easily manipulate the game elements and patiently wait to see the results.
- The pixel art reflects the same idea of simplicity. All of the brightly colored or "non blue" elements can be manipulated contrasting well against the background. The character's heads and eyes are proportionally large allowing the player to interpret where they're looking and their expression easily.
- Like the final boss in Mega Man 9, the sound design is very carefully crafted. In I wish I were the Moon, everything didn't need to make a sound. Sounds from the bird's wings or the ore paddling through the water weren't necessary. All that was needed for the creator was the sound of the waves. It's simple.
- The text that titles each ending is as short and simple as the rest of the game.
- The harp song's tempo is slow and even like the rhythm of the waves, and the solo recording matches the form and fiction of the game.
I wish more developers made games as good as this one...