I frantically mashed the “D” key, my Quozzle caught between a rock and a hard place – literally. Her limbs flailing wildly as she gripped onto the ledge for dear life. Live! Live! I willed her, with her last attempt at life she pushed this aged, priceless relic through the light. Before hers was extinguished.
After wiping a solitary tear from my eye, I pause for a moment, to remember the valiant work of this great Quozzle. Before cursing and gesturing wildly at the screen, “Stupid alien thing can’t even make a simple gap..”
Incredipede really is a game that draws both sorrow and frustration in a somewhat ambivalent manner. But this is one of its many charms and reasons to play through the many puzzles thrown at you.
Incredipede is a fantastic new puzzler from Northway Games which is the same studio who brought you Fantastic Contraption, a game in which you design fantastic things in a similar way to what you do in Incredipede - Coincidence? I think not.
The premise is you are the last of the Quozzles. Explorers from far off lands have taken her sisters and you are their only hope – not to paraphrase Star Wars or anything. It is your job to take this incredible journey across this mysterious and wonderful land laced with peril at every turn and save the day. Naturally.
Quozzles are as you may expect rather unique and never to be counted out as they are able to grow extra limbs at will. Using this strange power you gain the ability to navigate these ever more challenging levels to reunite this Quozzle with her family.
The setting for Incredipede is fantastic, I love how Colin Northway chose to set the game in the colonial days as this setting is perfect for Incredipede. Back in these days many regions of the world had not been explored. The world was full of mystery as explorers moved all over the uncharted world recording the fantastic creatures and plants they found in these far flung corners of the world.
Documenting their extraordinary findings to be brought back to the drab industrialized “real” world often embellished. For this reason I feel Quzzoles could have existed in the folklore of the day. As people would’ve been none the wiser.
Colin Northway capitalizes on this style in Incredipede. From the story to the artwork, it all fits into place like a well crafted jigsaw, or maybe a well designed Quozzle – something that is indeed alien to me.
The striking art direction of the game was created by the highly talented Thomas Shahan. The concept came from Colin Northway, wanting to implement the feel of the game being akin to botanist’s books from the colonial era. This idea spawned this amazing cut-wood effect in game. That really makes Incredipede stand out amazingly well, it’s easily a 10/10 on looks before you even start on the game. Best of all, the beauty is not skin deep, the gameplay really is something in its own right.
From story to gameplay Incredipede is a beautifully put together game that really contains a great amount of playability. The pacing is fantastic, starting slowly as you are guided through new concepts in the game. This is a must as Incredipede plays like nothing I have really come across before – I really benefited from the tutorial as I still make very questionable design choices. Although once you get out of the tutorial zone it does ramp up quite steadily getting increasingly more difficult as you have to come up with new and innovative designs for your Quozzle.
The Quozzle design element is great fun if not very hard to get right and little beats the enjoyment of getting your Quozzle to the finish line. In a very much trial and error way, you see your Quozzle, you see the items to collect, and you see the light that signifies the end. It is up to you to then design a Quozzle that can achieve all of the above. Believe me, this really is where the skill comes in, it can be very difficult. The approach Incredipede goes for in puzzlers is fantastic and not your typical puzzler – unless you compare it to Fantastic Contraption – really making it all about the design yet not removing the hands on gameplay.
You grow legs, add muscle, add more legs, add muscle. Delete muscle, add a new leg and continue this cycle until you can obtain your objectives for the level. I just found it very amusing when I would come out with the most ridiculous designs under the sun and pretty much brute force my way to victory. It’s this that really stands out of me. You do not simply build her and press play, you have a hands on approach from the start to the finish. Allowing you to direct her and really utilize the building system fantastically.
The active control really allows you to make horribly inelegant Quozzles and still complete the level via virtue of skill – or that is at least what I call it. It’s very fun to build a semi broken design – usually not by choice but rather laziness - and just try to complete the level with it by using really odd and fun tactics. It really feels like the marrying of two games together and it works fantastically.
Many of my runs required my awesome hands on skill as my designs were always deeply flawed. Luckily enough you are given a chance to make even the worst builds actually complete the level. It’s true, she was not going to win any land speed records but I probably would’ve given Usain Bolt a run for his money – if I crushed him under my spider-like body with one of my flailing arms.
If this is not to your taste you can of course refine your designs. And no doubt over a cup of coffee or a glass of fine port, really dig your nails into the bulk of the design – maybe even knock up some concepts in the sandbox mode – to find the pinnacle of Quozzle engineering.
Incredipede really is more than a standard puzzler or design game. It brings together both elements and really does allow you to just go crazy and have so much fun in the process. This is very much the idea that Colin Northway was going for after playing around in the mangroves he just wanted to make a game that was about having fun in life and well, he really has done that here.
The story, while somewhat heart warming, is a little straight-forward and feels more like a side matter to the fun you have in the game. That said you do keep in mind your mission at all times and this can in many ways connect you emotionally to the Quozzle and her to success.
The game length is solid, it gives you around ten hours of play if you are rather proficient at puzzlers. So although you will breeze through the first zone it’s all uphill from there as you start to really explore the meat of the game. If the levels included is not enough however Incredipede has a really intuitive level designer that just works fantastically. This allows users to make their own levels along with the capacity to easily share levels with the world. On top of this you are also able to share creature designs with the world and can easily send them to anyone via URLs, which is a nice touch.
The sharing system is fantastic and allows users to easily post levels and creatures within the game browser for all to marvel at. Conversely, you can get a URL and direct friends to laugh at your failures — clearly I didn’t have any failures here, but, some might… The only shortcoming I have with the sharing is there is no way of previewing the creatures or levels before playing them and there is a lack of filters for searching the content. The system in place is perfectly functional as it is, but a little more tweaking would improve the system.
Incredipede is a highly polished and greatly innovative take on the puzzle genre and it does so with ease. If you’ve ever felt that Dr Frankenstein’s career path was for you then Incredipede will have you laughing maniacally with joy for hours on end. A lengthy, yet fun and rewarding singleplayer plus the ability to design your own levels along with playing any from the community. There is so much playability in this game you really don’t need any other puzzler this year.
If you’re a fan of puzzle games than Incredipede will give you hours of enjoyment. You will laugh and you will cry as you try to navigate through this wonderfully created puzzle adventure. If you need any more convincing than head to the official website and give the browser demo a play, it really is worth your while.
Incredipede can be purchased from the official website for $14.99. I also encourage you all to upvote it on Steam Greenlight. It is a crime it’s not already landed on Steam, so come on guys, lets make this happen.[review pros="Lengthy gameplay, Innovative take on puzzlers, Active community, Browser and client crossover, Amazing art, Great music, Well polished" cons="Sharing system could be developed more, Difficult to master, Browser side had flash hardware issues" score=91]