PEGBRJE: The Wolf’s Bite and Parallax

Y’know, I always saw the wolf as the bad guy, but something about these pigs is making me suspicious. Maybe it’s the whole sabotage plot? Or maybe that mohawk.

The Wolf’s Bite is an delectably devilish multiplayer title made by Eric Bernier, with art by Karen Teixeira, writing by Dave Coughlin and music/sound by Fat Bard. Players are thrust into a post-fairy tale scenario in which the Big Bad Wolf has been ‘forced’ out of demolition and decides to open a restaurant called ‘The Wolf’s Bite. The Three Little Pigs, still holding a grudge against the wolf, decide to sabotage this ordeal as best they can without drawing too much attention to themselves. Who will players pick to win, and who will actually come out victorious?

It’s a tad difficult to describe, but The Wolf’s Bite is a mixture of ‘Choose-Your-Own-Adventure’ with a multiplayer party game twist sprinkled with a competitive nature. After deciding which side to take (either in a local multiplayer or solo player scenario) players will go back and forth making decisions on a town map. The Wolf will be looking to improve their standing within the community and increase their profits and quality, while the Pigs are looking to do anything in their power to lower the quality of the restaurant before the food critic arrives. The town map has many different locations to choose from, such as the restaurant itself, the grocery store, the town hall, and even the ‘bad side of town’, among others. Each of these locations then has two options to choose between for actions — these actions are usually similar for both teams, with some differences focused on the desired outcomes. Upon selecting a location and an action, player’s are treated to the results of their choice, which will affect either their income, their reputation, or the quality of The Wolf’s Bite. Afterwards, however, is a scenario completely unique to whomever initiated the effect, which will give multiple choices to decide between. These choices can have dire consequences if chosen poorly, so ensuring that players read through the scenario carefully is important.

The ‘Mario Party’ feeling I had while playing is due to the fact that the initial decision feels controlled, the scenarios are difficult to predict and can create some truly hilarious and chaotic events. Some instances I would successfully sabotage the reputation of the Wolf only to hand it right back with a poor decision on my part. While I’m under the belief that it is possible to figure out the best courses of action from the context, I would be lying if I didn’t say that many of the outcomes felt difficult to predict and completely random, further adding to the Mario Party analogy. This isn’t a detriment to the title, however; the randomness helps to keep things a little unpredictable so that turns don’t become back and forths of the same thing over and over again. It’s a delicate balance, and I feel that it’s created well.

Add on the softest of artistic aesthetics and The Wolf’s Bite is a fun experience to play either solo or with a friend. The AI was competent which is always a blessing, but I definitely think this is best played against another person. If you’re looking for a fun experience with a twist on a beloved fairy tale, this is definitely a game to grab.

Oh I’m getting dizzy again.

Have you ever enjoyed watching your brain melt in real time? It may not be what is asked, but Parallax delivers as a brain contortionist puzzle game created by Toasty Games, a studio from Canada. Players are simply themselves, tasked with navigating to the Goal that is highlighted by simple text. Where the fun truly begins is discovering that these bizarre circles are ‘portals’ into an overlapping world, similar but different and the only way to get to the goal is to utilize both.

When I first booted Parallax and came to the first puzzle, my mind immediately flew to two games that dominated discussions of FPS puzzle games from my high school years; Portal 2 and Antichamber. While different in mechanics, both offered a puzzling environment based on the manipulation of space and perception, from Portal’s… portals to Antichamber’s colours. Parallax offers much in the realm of similarities for players familiar with the previous titles, as it’s simple control scheme goes with its simple mechanic; movement, jumping and the ability to interact with switches. Players will use portals to enter the ‘other’ world, to go to and from each realm in order to find themselves at the goal. And just like the previous two, my spatial reasoning skills started real strong only to fall flat within the first 8 levels.

Parallax forces players into a scenario in which they must not only be aware of their position in space, but also memorize the position that they may come out of in the other world. Portals may not be aligned in the same place for both worlds, with the only thing they share is that if their orientation changes in one world, it will be changed in the other. This leads to boggling moments of entering one area to exit back into the same world as before moments later in the same place, scratching one’s head as to wonder how they arrived back where they started. Even after memorizing each portal’s locations, the ability to rotate them and many of the platforms results in continuous experimentation with one’s self to see where they may come out after altering both maps. Normally, I’d have found a small way to ‘cheat’ the system a bit as many of these titles give just enough movement that some platforms can be jumped, but not in this case. Parallax gives players limited mobility on purpose. There’s no escaping through ‘cheese’ as it were.

This doesn’t even bring up the later mechanics within the title involving gravity, boosters, timed rotations, lasers, and being able to rotate platforms into positions so they can be rotated on a different axis. But every solution found left me giggling, just as many good puzzle games do — I felt so smart to find each goal, only to be smacked by the next level, running around trying not to touch anything before inevitably rotating everything and just trying my best. I’d also like to mention the brilliant soundwork done by Derris-Kharlan, which gives a bizarre atmosphere to the entire ordeal as if I was being experimented upon yet also within another realm from my own. There are also numerous different colour combinations, so if monochromatic isn’t a good style for one’s eyes it can be altered.

Parallax is a lot of things, and many of them hurt my brain now. It starts so simple, as all puzzle games should, before becoming a mirage of simplicity hidden within the constant switching between worlds. It doesn’t want players to think outside the box, it wants them to think between two boxes while exploring a possible third linking the two together. Solutions come slowly, but the moment of triumph is extraordinary. Anyone that enjoyed those previously mentioned titles will adore Parallax, and hopefully can make it to the end of the 32 levels.

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Jacob Vorstenbosch

Jacob Vorstenbosch

Just a Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.