If Life is a Game – These are the Ones I Wanna Play

I don’t spend much time playing video games, but I’ve broken habit a little lately and tried out some creative and different indie games I’m going to highly recommend:

1. Machinarium – This beautiful game evolves around the story line of “a  little robot who’s been thrown out to the scrap yard behind the city must return and confront the Black Cap Brotherhood and save his robot-girl friend” according to the gaming website, Steam. The Machinarium world is beautifully drawn and exceedingly interesting. Game play is controlled by simple point and click actions and there are a variety of puzzles with thought-invoking solutions. One complaint posted about the game I can understand however, is the difficulty of some of the brain teasers. The answers are at times really un-intuitive. I have patience in many aspects of my life but games are sometimes not one of them. For anyone else suffering from this character flaw, check out the variety of online walkthroughs and videos. The game is developed by Amanita Design, the creative team behind many other  beautiful games (some web-based), websites, and music videos.  To play a demo, check out the official Machinarium website. The game also has a beautiful soundtrack like all of Amanita’s games and comes as a download with the game when purchased from the official website.

2. Samorost 2 – This is a game also made by Amanita Design. This short but charming game  can be purchased in its entirety, including its soundtrack (which is fabulous) for $5  at its official website.    The story revolves around the main character’s search for his missing dog which has been swiped by errant aliens. The story is essentially divided into 7 “chapters” each requiring a code to load. I find this aspect a bit frustrating but if you don’t feel like jotting them down or need some help finishing the game, check out the walkthrough at this blog. There are lots of beautiful animations that are part of the game play which, like Machinarium, involves simple point and click actions. This game is a follow-up to the even shorter and strictly web-based Samorost 1 which can be played for free here.

3. Eufloria – This stunner was an independent games festival finalist (just a note to gamers, in a previous life, this game was released under the title of “Dyson”). It also has a strong soundtrack which can also be purchased (this is a great trend in my opinion) by clicking here. It’s an unusual game but is addicting once you figure out the game play. The gameplay revolves around sending “seedlings” with various mixtures of 3 attributes – energy, strength, and speed – to undiscovered asteroids in order to populate them with new dyson trees, the source of the seedlings. The seedlings sometimes encounter less than accommodating populations already controlling the asteroids and must employ multiple strategies during the course of the game in order to exploit the asteroids in any given level.  The official website also provides links to other games that fall under what they dub “ambient gaming” (which appears to be games that have a zen-like relaxing atmosphere much like Eufloria) including the beautiful web-based flOw. Due to what I perceive as the relative newness of the game, you won’t find a lot of strategy tips or insights posted online.

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