PEGBRJE: Idioctopus and BROKEN SIGNAL.
Puzzles and a lotta bullets.
Idioctopus is a cute movement puzzle game made by BadgerHammer Games, an indie studio based out of the United Kingdom. Players follow the tale of a single octopus in love, needing to find their way to their soulmate, with one major issue; both of them are utterly incompetent at… well, everything.
That’s where the player comes in to be a guiding light. As the blue octopus seeks the purple, they can only move in a singular direction until a wall impedes their movement and move in a new direction. Traditionally this will be in a clockwise rotation, but can be altered if something immediately stops our tentacled friend from going in that direction. This is the staple rule of the game, and it is up to the player to manipulate the octopus within that set rule to ensure a love victory. To do this, players will be given mobile arrows that can be set in specific locations to act as automatic directions for the octopus; for example, if moving to the left and hit an arrow going upwards, it will automatically move upwards as if there had been a wall stopping it from moving left. Just like those ice puzzles from RPGs but without ability to control the inputs of the protagonist, as it were. These arrows can also be moved after placing them, where the tricky parts come in as players need to plan out the trajectory of the octopus as it moves and place them quickly to ensure that they don’t miss. The other caveat is that the amount of time it takes and the amount of ‘moves’ are documented for extra stars, so being efficient is rewarded as well.
Once this becomes established, Idioctopus begins to introduce some of the more tricky puzzle maneuvers to increase the complexity of each puzzle. There are static arrows that cannot be moved, etched in to the ground and cannot be ignored and kelp-like substances to hide and slow down the octopus. There are hazards like the giant gaping jaws of teeth that will instantly eat the octopus or spiked vines that destroy them if in the way. They all serve their purpose in making things so much more spicy to cover the 80 levels that are provided to maneuver through, and thanks to the adorably gorgeous aesthetic it makes the journey even more fun. If you love sliding-based puzzles that are all about getting two idiots in love together, then this is definitely your game.
BROKEN SIGNAL is a speedy FPS title made by MUZBOZ, a solo indie dev out of the glorious Australia. The protagonist has no name, for they need no introduction. They have a gun with two types of ammo, a sheer desire to win, and a goal in mind; reach the top of the tower no matter what.
Every round starts the same at the bottom of the tower with enemies immediately spawned and beginning their rush to kill. Holding down the primary fire will unleash bullets towards the enemy from the centre-positioned gun — think old style FPS — which can take out anyone with a few shots. However the travel time is visible, meaning that they can miss if aimed improperly which can happen thanks to the lack of default reticle. If players are feeling more explosive, the alternative fire will launch a bouncing grenade that will either explode after a certain amount of time or on contact. Thing is that the enemies also have many of these grenades and melee, so watching to ensure that the player doesn’t get blown up while bouncing around the level is super important. Now in traditional FPS style, ammo and health as scattered about the level to pick up, but what happens when all enemies are dead? Well, find the hole in the ceiling and use the jump boosters to fly upwards to the next floor. This is a tower after all, and getting to the top is important to winning; just need to avoid getting blown up along the way.
Wrapped within the retro-esque aesthetic and promoting any strats one can think of to get the summit, BROKEN SIGNAL is definitely an intriguing title. It’s focus on movement and simplicity allows for different styles of approaches, even if the best is usually going full throttle to the top. If you love FPS titles that can change with every loss while still remaining within the same confines as before, this might be worth checking out.
Guide brainless lovestruck octopus couples safely to their romantic rendezvous in increasingly deadly date spots…