chocomarsh: (Default)
chocomarsh ([personal profile] chocomarsh) wrote in [community profile] rainbowgames2015-08-05 09:48 pm
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Little Labyrinth

Little Labyrinth is a freeware puzzle game made by LEN, a solo Japanese developer. It was made, kind of incredibly, in Danmakufu, a scripting program for bullet hell shooters. You play a vampire girl (maybe a touhou character?) who arranges mirrors to creatively redirect beams of light. But, of course, she has to avoid light herself, so to assemble the suitable light path while keeping yourself out of the way is a significant task. Later levels introduce elements like stones that block the light's path and gusts of wind that restrict your movement.

Stages are arranged more or less in a heuristic order, with the lessons from preceding stages being necessary to understanding later ones. The overall stage structure consists of three parallel "trees." These three correspond not to different modes or degrees of difficulty but to degrees of baroque complexity. This is carried over from LEN's shooters, the most recent of which has a very similar trio of modes. This lets you wander through the game in two "dimensions," increasing either in breadth or depth.

I'm not much good at puzzle games, so I think this game's really hard, but I still keep coming back to it every few weeks. It's just a peculiar offshoot of game aesthetics as I've known them; it feels foreign in a way that's refreshing and inspiring.

The game doesn't provide any instruction in the way of controls, but I'm pretty sure the only keys are: arrow keys to move along the grid, Z to interact, and X to pivot in place without having to move at the same time. If this kind of awkwardness immediately puts you off, you can maybe skip this one; the whole game is pieced together out of genre scraps in this way. Usually that's a bad thing; it's rare to find a Megaman roguelike puzzle platformer that's worth more than ten seconds of your time. But I don't think that's what's happening here; here the game seems to be putting its own patchworkiness forward as an aesthetic aim, and that's neat. I think there can be space for games like that.

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