Hempuli is still at it

Hempuli is the brilliant creator of the rule-breaking-and-making puzzle game Baba Is You. That is not the subject of this post, but I couldn’t recommend it more highly.

No, the post’s subject is a series of things they’ve made since. Yes, I said things. I said it and I meant it!

They’re all: (free|wonderful|insane|playable in browser|available on itch.io). There’s twenty-three of them, and they’re all ludicrous ruminations on the idea of Sokoban. We’ve posted about Hempuli’s improbable series of Sokolikes before, but they keep making them, and so now there’s 23.

The basic rules are: there are blocks, and you can push them. If all the Xs on the level have blocks on them at the same time, the flag activates, but it stays active only while every X is occupied. If the flag is active, you can step on it to complete the puzzle.

But there are also buttons. If all the buttons of a given color have boxes (or players) on them at the same time, then certain gates in the puzzle open. Some puzzles have water. Don’t step in that. Boxes will usually float on top of water though.

In (nearly) all the puzzles, the arrow keys move your little Sokoperson, the R key resets the current puzzle, and the Z key reverses your last move. Keep pressing Z to keep going back, until you reach the puzzle’s start state.

Those are the basic rules, but don’t be surprised if they’re upturned in some of these games. Hempuli is diabolical, and sometimes the basics don’t apply, or are turned on their head in unexpected ways.

From Mountris. The character is about to make a surprising mistake.

In Mountris, some of the blocks you push are Tetris shapes, that move as a single unit. Think carefully about the implications of that.

Upon seeing this early puzzle in Permaban, my mouth said, unprompted, “What fresh hell is this?”

One interesting thing about these games generally is how they often break one of the central rules of Sokoban, that you can’t push two or more blocks at a time. In many of Hempuli’s variants you can, but in some of them you can only do it in certain circumstances.

Hell, continued: From the aptly-named (?!) Nabogorf. Notice, this one has a different Undo key. Why do you suppose that is?

As I review these games in order, I’m struck by how they keep getting stranger. Evidently the process of making Baba Is You disconnected some important limiter in Hempuli’s brain, and so now they’ve become a portal, spewing forth constant matter from the Elemental Plane of Puzzles. Weep for them… but also, enjoy the results of that, both now and almost certainly in the future.

From Mayban: Oh, there’s color now. What does that mean? What’s about to happen? Why am I shaking in my seat?
Automount turns the game on its head. But they all do, so that statement is meaningless. This one turns it extra on its head. With cherries on top.

C64 Dungeon Play and Lost World Demonstration

Another personal project post! I have done more work in making David Caruso II’s obscure Commodore 64 CRPG Dungeon, published in the issues of the disk magazine LOADSTAR more than once, presentable to current-day audiences. Although it certainly has its limits, there are some aspect to it that are unique, even forward-thinking. We posted about Dungeon here before. To remind everyone, we sell Dungeon on my (rodneylives’) itch.io page for $5, with the blessing of rights-holder and LOADSTAR owner Fender Tucker.

There are a few bugs in Dungeon, now basically impossible to fix, that I’m trying to track down and document, and I’m also working on improving the documentation, as well as provide some useful goodies with the system, like a disk of monsters, equipment and magic items. That’s useful because Dungeon has a special feature where it’ll take the monsters and items on a “Data Disk,” and scatter them around a dungeon map of its own creation. It calls these randomized adventures “Lost Worlds.”

Lost Worlds operate as a kind of quasi-roguelike. The Dungeon software creates a random map and places random items around it, but once created it becomes a Dungeon adventure that any created character can explore as many times as they like. While it doesn’t have roguelike tactical combat gameplay or random item identification, it does have a form of permadeath. Characters only get three lives to advance their level as far as they can go.

Lost Worlds are interesting places to explore, but there are some bugs in them. It is possible, in fact pretty easy, to get stuck in a part of the dungeon from which one can’t escape. Sometimes a one-way door leads into an area that can’t be escaped, and sometimes a passage-blocking trap will strand the player’s character in a dead-end. And once in a while a Lost World is downright unfinishable, its goal item disconnected from the parts of the dungeon the player can even reach.

While there are spells (Passwall and Teleport) that can release a trapped character, if they aren’t available the character is not completely lost. If you turn off the C64 (or close the emulator), then return to the Guild screen, the character will be marked as GONE. Over time, measured in loads of the Guild menu, the character will eventually find their way back on their own. It takes quite a while for this to happen though: I counted 15 loads, saving the game each time, before a GONE character returned.

This video (23 minutes) is is something I recorded myself as a demonstration of both Dungeon’s gameplay, and its Lost World adventure generation. It uses a set of 30 low-level monsters and items based on the stats of the old Basic edition of D&D, and a set of magic items I created for usefulness and to show off Dungeon’s spell set.

So, why would someone want to play this game, when there’s so many other newer CRPGs out there to play?

  • The idea of rolling up a character and taking them through scenarios made by other people, to try to get their level up as high as they can get before they die three times, is great. My hope, perhaps misplaced, is this release will inspire other people to make dungeons for others to play, and I look forward to seeing them myself.
  • The magic system of Dungeon, while it doesn’t allow for characters to learn spells themselves, is unique in that most of the spells are utility spells! There are spells for passing through walls, for teleporting anywhere on the map, for revealing terrain, for seeing in darkness, for giving oneself a damage shield, for locating the goal item, for disarming traps, and more. There is only one direct damage attack spell! Spells are more like tools than something you use to pound through the enemies.
  • The dungeon model allows for dark areas, traps that block exits, two-way and one-way teleporters, secret doors, one-way doors, and decorating dungeon maps with PETSCII graphics. The simplicity of the dungeons, all of them fitting on one screen, works in Dungeon’s favor. No dungeon can be too large since they must all fit within the bounds of the map grid.

There are unique design considerations for making Lost Worlds too. Even though the computer creates the maps unaided, since it populates them from the monsters, items and traps that are on the Data Disk, the difficulty of the resulting dungeon is affected. The various doodads are distributed without apparent heed for what they are; I wonder if the generator actually cares for their identities or if it just checks how many of each type are on the disk, so as not to exceed that number.

If there are more easy monsters, more powerful items, and more weak traps on the disk then the dungeon will be easier due to their corresponding numbers being greater, and vice versa. It occurs to me that one of the flaws in the dungeon generation I mentioned could be alleviated, by not giving it one of the wall creating traps that could trap a player in a dead-end, but that also makes the dungeon a bit less interesting, so I’ve left it in the mix I use.

I recognize that, if I let myself, this might become a Dungeon blog. Rest assured, I’m not going to take it that far. But I really hope that some people give Dungeon a chance. While sure it has its inspirations (one person on Mastodon said it reminds them of Phantasie, a somewhat less obscure early CRPG), I think it’s pretty unique, and deserves for more people to have a look at it. I’m particularly pleased how well the sample monsters and items I made work in the Lost World framework, and I’m trying to think of ways that it might be improved. More on this later… but, not immediately, I think.

A 30+ Year Old RPG System for the Commodore 64

It’s been months now since I announced my plans to release some project involving LOADSTAR, a 17-year computer magazine on disk, either here or on itch.io, or both. I’m still working on them.

In the meantime, I present this, a packaged-up release of Dungeon on itch.io, a complete old-school RPG gaming system for the Commdore 64, as it was released on the disk magazine LOADSTAR back in 1990.

Written by David Caruso II, Dungeon is a way of creating adventures for others to play, and a system of creating, maintaining and playing characters in those adventures. It was kind of a throwback even in 1990 (the SNES was released that year), but it definitely has charm, and an old-school kind of appeal.

You start out on the Guild screen, where you create a character from one of five fantasy races, then venture out on adventures stored on floppy disks, which in this release are provided as C64 1541 disk images. Fight monsters to earn experience points, find the object of the quest and then return to the Guild by the exit to have the chance to advance in experience level. If your character dies they’ll be revived, but only up to two times! If something happens and you don’t make it back, but don’t die either, your character will be marked as “GONE,” meaning they’re stuck in limbo until they make it back to the Guild on their own!

Your character advances in level between adventures, but they don’t get to keep any items they found on their journey. If they advance in level however, they get to permanently improve two of their stats. Getting to the maximum score of 25 grants them a special ability, but it’s really hard to get there!

This presentation of Dungeon is being made with the permission of Fender Tucker, owner and former Managing Editor of LOADSTAR. It isn’t free, but for $5 you get the Dungeon system and five pre-made adventures for it, culled from the 240+ issues of LOADSTAR. I include a stock copy of the open-source Commodore 64 emulator VICE, configured for playing Dungeon. (If $5 is too much for you, rumor has it Loadstar issues can be found online elsewhere. Dungeon was first published on issue #74.)

If you want to know more about it, I have constructed this 40-page PDF of documentation on Dungeon, from the disks of LOADSTAR in 1990, along with the instructions for the adventures and further notes on playing it from me. Here:

(file size: 2.6 MB)

The document refers to an itch.io release, that’s what I’m currently working on. Late in the document there are some spoilers for a particularly difficult adventure using the system.

Dungeon was created by someone named David Caruso II. Neither I nor long-time LOADSTAR managing editor Fender Tucker knows what became of him. I have what is almost certainly an old address for him. It’s been 33 years, and I suspect that Dungeon itself is a couple of years older than that, so it’s possible that Caruso has passed away by now. If he hasn’t, though, I’d like to talk with him. I think (hope?) he’d appreciate that people are still thinking about his creation even now.

Palestinian Relief Bundle on itch.io

I don’t remember, did a bundle with this theme happen before? It sounds familiar. Of course this is not intended to be an advertisement, I’m just getting the word out.

Figures in this screenshot reflect when I scheduled the post, a couple of days ago.

$8 gets you 374 items on itch.io, which is, of course, an amazing deal. 213 of them are computer games, and 103 of them are physical games, where what you get are rules and you construct the game yourself, and the rest are miscellaneous items like soundtracks and game assets.

When I get one of these bundles, I largely end up playing only play two or three things from it, but I feel like the option of playing so many things is what I’m buying, that and helping out a good cause. A standout in this bundle, right up there at the top, is Adam Gryu’s A Short Hike. I also spot Bleed 2, Anodyne and They Bleed Pixels.

I think it could be argued that the ultimate benefit of these bundles, while positive, is ultimately to help make up for the failures of our nations to fucking do something about it themselves, or even helping cause it in the first place. But it is something, after all!

Gamefinds: Nip For Speed

We love it when we find weird and unique indie games to tell you all about! Our alien friends to the left herald these occasions.

From itch.io’s Youtube account, this barely qualifies as a game, but it’s funny. Surreal. Absurd. Bizarre. But mostly funny. It’s Nip For Speed, and it’s from knackelibang.

You’re riding in a car with an orange cat behind the wheel. Not a cartoony cat, a realistic cat, or at least its low-poly model is kind of realistic. It doesn’t act, or talk, much like a real cat though. There’s also a dog involved.

Content warning: the cat does meet its end, but in a much more cartoony way than the cat’s model. It probably shouldn’t have been behind the wheel anyway.

Nip For Speed (itch.io, Web and Windows, $0)

Gamefinds: POOM

We love it when we find weird and unique indie games to tell you all about! Our alien friends to the left herald these occasions.

Found by Varyag on kitsunes.club, this may be the ultimate version of the Pico-8 version of other game phenomenon, not a remake of a classic arcade game but of id Software’s DOOM itself. And it has a great name: POOM. It’s made by freds72 on itch.io, and it’s free to download and play. Its levels are not ports of the original room, unless my memory is faulty, but smaller versions, but the general sense is still there. It even has a good remix of the first level music.

It’s a really good name

Brainscraps.net

I think, when you find a blog that’s been around since 2009, and is still being updated somewhat in 2024, that itself is worthy of celebration, and that is the case with brainscraps.net. It’s maintained by May Kasahara, a member of the venerable community webblog Metafilter (where I can also be found posting and commenting as JHarris).

Blogs come and go. Bloggers come and go too; sometimes they lose interest, but sometimes they pass away, such might be the case with oneswellfoop, a.k.a. Craig Wittier. There was a recent Talk post there about the many members who have passed away.

This is not a Metafilter focused blog. I mention all this to say that people’s blogs, and being around to blog, that’s precious, people’s writing is important, it’s a part of them, and I’m happy whenever I encounter it, whether the blog gets 10 readers or a million of them. But it’s nice when people go by there and read them, and I hope that you’ll be inspired to read Brainscripts, and other blogs, and if you don’t already, that you’ll learn to cherish that they exist. They won’t always, their bloggers won’t exist always either. Neither will I, and neither will you. So let’s all enjoy what time we have here left!

But let’s not be too maudlin. May Kasahara also has an itch.io page, with a variety of fun projects on it, like Mary Sue’s Character Casino, and Daisy Doom, and Senpai Simulator, and Legend of Cascadia! I am more than happy to spread the word.

Cosmic Collapse Level After Sun

A few days we linked to Cosmic Collapse, a Pico-8 Suika Game clone that, I claim, is better than the original, or its many many other clones. Its graphics are less cloying, its music is much better, its physics are livelier which adds a greater element of skill, and it has missiles awarded at different score levels that can be used to destroy individual planets.

Cosmic Collapse’s bin is slightly smaller than Suika Game’s, and to compensate a bit for that its “winning” “planet,” The Sun, is only the 10th item in the game, unlike of Suika Game’s Watermelon, which is the 11th of its orbular objects. Nether game really ends at that point, it’s the kind of game that continues until you lose, but it serves as a thematic success point.

But as it turns out, as revealed by a comment by creator Johan Peltz on its itch.io page, Cosmic Collapse has two levels beyond sun. The first is a rather striking animated Black Hole object! After a lot of playing I finally managed to get to it. Here is a screenshot:

Pretty neat! The comment from the game’s creator mentions that there is a level past it, but that they don’t think it’s possible to reach. I don’t think it is either: to get to the Black Hole you have to have two Suns, and to get to that you have to have one Sun plus one Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Earth, Mars, Mercury and Pluto. (I think it’s Pluto. What would it be if it wasn’t Pluto? Ceres?)

So, to get to the last object, you’d have to have a Black Hole plus a Sun, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Earth, Mars, Mercury and assumed-Pluto, which probably won’t all fit in one bin. My guess is it’s a guest appearance by some galaxy or something. Maybe someone can look at the game’s resources and find out what.

In addition to playing to get to Sun/Black Hole/Whatever Follows, it’s also possible to play Cosmic Collapse for score. The best way I’ve found to do that is to use missiles to destroy the largest objects when it becomes evident that you can’t do anything more with them. My highest score is nearly 15K. Indefinite play doesn’t seem quite possible, as missile awards come less frequently at higher scores, but it’s still fun to see how high one can get. (That’s not meant as a drug-inspired euphemism. Or a Donkey Kong-inspired one, either.)

Addendum: After writing this, I managed to get to Black Hole again, and got video of what it looks like in motion, which is pretty cool:

Game Finds: Cosmic Collapse

We love it when we find weird and unique indie games to tell you all about! Our alien friends to the left herald these occasions.

A fair amount has been said about Suika Game, an inexpensive and addictive Switch game that has players dropping fruit into a physics-enabled bin. Two fruit of the same type that touch immediately merge into a larger fruit, and the goal is to join them together like this until you create a mighty Watermelon. You can keep going at that point, although with one of those majestic spheres in the bin it won’t be much longer before one or more fruits extends up out of the bin, which brings the game to an end.

The history of this unexpected Flappy Bird-like phenomenon is laid out in an article in the Japan Times. Until recently the game was exclusive to the Japanese eShop, although that needn’t actually a barrier. People from any territory can create eShop accounts for any other, and play all their purchases on the same Switch, but now I notice that Suika Game is even on the U.S. shop. And of course, as often happens when a simple and elegant game blows up out of nowhere, a horde of imitators has arisen, which a quick Googling will reveal. I count six free web versions just on a quick perusal of the search results.

But what might actually be better than Suika Game is the Pico-8 recreation of it, Cosmic Collapse.

Cosmic Collapse is more expensive than Suika Game, but that just means it’s $5 instead of $3. Instead of happy fruit, you merge together planets. They go up in size from Pluto (an honorary planet), through Mercury, Mars, Venus, Earth, Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter and then Sol herself. If you’re wondering, all planets are presented without rings. If joining two suns causes anything to happen I don’t know. (In the comments on the itch.io project, the developer says that there are objects beyond the Sun.)

Cosmic Collapse could be played just like the original, but it adds some extra features. Scoring is modified by a simple combo system: successive planets merged due to one drop have their points multiplied, encouraging the planning of sequences. And, at certain score awards, you’re granted a missile that can be used to destroy any one object in the bin. Used judiciously, it can allow your game lengths, and scores, to greatly increase. My highest so far is nearly 15,000.

The biggest advantages it has over Suika Game is in the polish and the physics. The many web clones tend to play like they were hacked together in an afternoon, but even the original is clearly a low-effort production, right down to its generic, non-looping music. The celestial orbs in Cosmic Collapse bounce around in a lively manner after merging in ways that take some practice to master, and even the smaller planets have their uses. The tiniest of space rocks, dropped at the right spot, can be just what you need to knock two other planets apart from each other, or separate one from the wall of the bin. You see? Pluto’s good for something after all!

Both Suika Game and Cosmic Collapse suffer from a certain unfairness. You don’t get to control the order in which fruit or planets get dropped into the bin. It’s been observed that even a lot of skill and practice can only get you so far if the orb-selection dice don’t roll favorably for you. The best advice I can offer, in the early game, is to try to sort the circles in size from one side of the bin to the other, which at least will make it easier to find a good place to drop things. Also in Cosmic Collapse, keeping the surface of the bin as low as you can helps a lot, since the propulsive force of the spheres, especially the smallest ones, is increased the further it falls, and that can be a marvelous prod to shaking up a static bin.

Cosmic Collapse (itch.io and Steam, $5)

Hempuli’s itch.io Collection

I recently made a Metafilter post with the title Exploring the BABA IS YOUNIVERSE. Having used that pun here already I can’t well put it up again, but the links in the article are good ones, so I figured I’d present them here too, with a few extras. All of these, plus more, are on Hempuli’s (Arvi Teikari’s) itch.io page. Everything here is free and for Windows, unless otherwise noted.

Once in Space 2022
Stumblehill
  • The “gravity-changing platformer” Once In Space 2022, which gets pretty tricky pretty quickly.
  • Stumblehill is a platformer, with striking graphics, where the controls are purposely a little harder to master than your basic example of the form.
Baba Friend
  • Baba Friend is a little desktop buddy/toy who wanders around your computer’s screen while you do other things. It’s much like the classic computer amusement Neko!
  • Rude Chess is another Sokoban variant: some of the pieces you have to move are chess pieces, which shift according to their movement rules when pushed. The rude part applies because, if a piece has a choice of squares to move to, it always tries to pick one that doesn’t lead towards a destination square!
Rude Chess

There’s more too, that I only fail to list here because of time-related reasons, including some physical games and a screensaver. Go on and explore their itch page, it’s brilliant!

Hempuli’s itch.io software (mostly free, most for Windows)

Game Finds: Pacman’s Sky

We love it when we find weird and unique indie games to tell you all about! Our alien friends to the left herald these occasions.

It’s one of those games that was made to fulfill the promise of a pun in the title, but turns out to be fairly interesting in its own right.

That’s not to say it’s perfect. Randomness plays way too much of a role in your success, although that could also be said of No Man’s Sky, honestly.

Pac-Man is stranded on a maze-like planet. The maze wraps around vertically and horizontally, but there are no helpful tunnels here to slow down the ghost pursuit, for the screen is always centered on Paccy. There is an escape rocket in the monster house, and the way inside opens up when you’ve eaten a sufficient number of dots. I wouldn’t bug out immediately though; as you eat dots, and also ghosts made vulnerable by the consumption of randomly-placed Energizers, you fill up a fuel meter in the upper-right corner of the screen. You want it to be as full as possible, especially in this first maze, where the game is still fairly easy.

For you see, when you enter the rocket, you blast off into a 2D universe of other planets, and you need fuel to travel between them. (A bit of advice: the rocket’s thrust is always to the right! Press up-arrow to go forward, and up and down to steer.) Use the map in the lower-right to pick the next planet to crash onto, and explore a new maze. You don’t want to run out of fuel! Although you have a total of four Pac-Lives, if you run out of fuel in space, you lose regardless!

You’ll soon find that most planets are much larger than your starting world, and the game sends in a number of ghosts proportionate to its size! You could end up fleeing from nearly two-dozen ghosts! Fortunately, there are new colors of ghosts in the mix, and none of them are as avid a pursuer as the classic hues, although their meanderings will often block escape routes.

Your goal is to collect Cherries, which are sporadically scattered throughout the planets. You want to eat at least 10, then launch with a full fuel tank, and then press the Space Bar to warp out of the universe, and the game.

As I mentioned up top, randomness plays a huge role in your success. Cherries are placed completely randomly: you might find Cherries in the starting maze, you might find a planet with four Cherries on it and all you have to do is find them, but many planets will be Cherry-less. The best strategy is to scout each planet you visit for Cherries as quickly as possible, snarf up the ones you find while refilling your fuel tank with dots, then quickly evacuate and move on to the next planet.

Some tips:

  • If you return to a planet you’ve already been on, it’ll be in the state that you left it! This usually makes it harder to refill your tank since there’s fewer dots, so get what you can and launch again.
  • To help you avoid revisiting planets, I suggest targeting particular planet colors first.
  • Energizers are placed randomly, and like Cherries, some planets don’t have any.
  • Ghost vulnerability times are roughly on a par with those of the first maze of the original game, but with so much more terrain to travel through it’s usually highly difficult to make a clean sweep of all the ghosts, even if there’s only the normal four.
  • The class ghosts have largely the same personalities as in the arcade games: Red chases you directly, Pink looks in the direction you’re facing and tries to get in front of you, Blue seeks to be on the other side of you from one of the Red ghosts, and Orange sometimes loses interest in attacking you when you get close.
  • The new colors have ghosts that try to lurk behind you, ghosts that try to travel in straight lines regardless of what else is happening, ghosts that just bumble around, and even ghosts that just try to get away from everyone else, Pac or ghost.
  • Like arcade Pac-Man, the ghosts periodically enter “Scatter Mode,” and give up the chase for a few precious seconds. Unlike the arcade game, the ghosts don’t reverse direction when either entering or leaving Scatter Mode. Your only clue to the behavior change is them turning away, or turning back towards you. That makes them a little less predictable.
  • Beware! Once in a while you’ll find a ghost that, instead of the usual blue eyes, has an Among Us visor. These ghosts will be one of the other colors, and the same personality as that color, but when you eat an Energizer, not only do they not become vulnerable, they also speed up greatly! If it’s one of the more vicious colors (Red or Pink), this makes eating an Energizer extremely dangerous!
  • Ghosts become dangerous again the moment they reform from their eyes in the home. If you’re venturing in to get to the rocket, and a pair of eyes rushes in behind you, you can easily lose a Pac without having much control over it. This happened to me several times, it’s worth being wary of.
If you want to play in the universe of this victorious game, you can enter this seed at the title screen. It had one planet with four Cherries!

Pacman’s Sky (itch.io, $0)

Game Finds: Mobile Suit Baba

We love it when we find weird and unique indie games to tell you all about! Our alien friends to the left herald these occasions.

Hempuli, the creator of the indie hit Baba Is You, certainly has been busy! He made a number of solitaire games, some with Baba characters; then a number of board games. Now he’s returned to the Baba Is Youniverse, with another charming game that uses some of the ideas and rules of Baba Is You, with a helping of Into The Breach mixed in! The result is Mobile Suit Baba:

Ha ha! You said it Baba!

The scenario goes something like this. Baba and his friends now pilot a number of giant mech robots that look like them. An invasion of Skulls threatens their laid-back society of agrarian animal creatures with fruit theft. Baba and company leap into action to protect their food stockpiles. This is communicated with dialogue from the various characters, which is all adorable.

A simple puzzle, that relies on Baba’s ability to throw other characters over blocking terrain.

Each character has slightly different abilities and movement ranges. The mind-bending, rule-changing aspect of the original game is back: levels have noun and property objects in them, as well as the keyword IS. A noun IS property sequence arranged in order from top-to-bottom or left-to-right makes that sentence instantly true, for better or worse. It’s back, but it is a bit diminished in importance. A couple of levels don’t even have words this time, which in Baba Is You would result in a completely broken level.

As in the original, the difficulty rises fast, although this one is easier than it looks.

In the original, the most important property is YOU, because it assigns agency to one or more of the characters in a level; without [something] IS YOU, you can’t affect the game world. Here though, that dire need to make sure someone IS YOU at all times is gone. Now, all of your characters are considered to be controllable. But you still have to manipulate rules sometimes, to affect the properties of the terrain.

Once you have some other characters unlocked, you can sometimes choose who you want to bring into a level.

Also, you usually have more than one character to control, in a turn-based sequence. And your characters have different movement ranges and abilities. And you have a strict time limit (although it can be made less onerous in the settings). It all feels, like its inspiration, Into The Breach, but derandomized, and turned into a puzzle game. There’s no real combat; instead you manipulate your enemies so their objectives are not met.

A Youtube trailer gets the mood across nicely:

Choose your teammates carefully!

It’s all extremely charming and worth a look. While its sale price will be a paltry $4, for a few days Hempuli is giving it away for free on itch.io! Even at full price it’s worth it.

Mobile Suit Baba (itch.io, $4 [$0 temporarily])