I don't care much for most puzzle platformers; I usually feel they're too basic, or contrived. So understand my feeling when I say that this game is a labor of love, and that it shows in every facet of its design, right down to the oddly (somehow) unique pixel graphics.
The premise is simple: you have three little monsters, you control them one at a time, and you must guide them each to the exit of each level. There is no time limit, and no serious penalty for death; they simply respawn at the entrance. But here's the tricky bit; the world has become fragmented, though not necessarily broken. You can see the full picture, it's just that the full picture is muddled and confused, with pieces going every which way in no discernible order. Simply reaching the exit of each level becomes more complex, as even a straight pathway can take your monsters to every corner of the screen, or worse, numerous corners all at once.
Each monster has a specific color, which may be required when activating a block or, as you'll later discover, special abilities. Each monster can transform into one of three specific beasties, each with their own special ability necessary to complete a stage. The only one I'll mention is that of our orange monster, who transforms into a bird(?) of sorts and has the ability to shift the fragmented world in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. For the other monsters, this matters little, but for her, she can remain still, while the world swirls around her, allowing her to move to entirely different fragments that may have been unreachable otherwise.
To reach each end, you must gather a number of hearts strewn about each stage, thereby opening the door. But as you progress, this task slowly becomes more complex, as mechanics more complicated than jumping ledge to ledge are uncovered. The way these mechanics present themselves is a big part of why I enjoy this game so. See, it's never spelled out for you; there isn't a mid-level tutorial message or loading screen hint giving a dry description of how hitting a switch opens doors. The game simply presents you with the opportunity to touch and experiment with things, and these range from the simple (hitting a block with the correctly colored monster) to the complex (learning to properly manipulate the world's fragments). What makes this game special is that even the simplest mechanics are so often used in different and unique ways between each level. I often felt impressed by the simple brilliance of many of the layouts, and how so many of them would educate and influence your actions in the next. It quickly became intuitive to take what I already knew and wonder, "but can I use it this way..?"
or, "what happens when I try this"
Each level presents the challenge of gathering every heart without losing a single monster even once, rewarding you with a special heart symbol and, on occasion, an entirely new level. Majority of games, I wouldn't care for such frivolity, but the very clear dedication that went into making each and every level stand out as a unique entity makes the practice of perfecting every single one of them feel very, very worthwhile.
At the time of writing this review, I've completed what I suspect to be over half of the available levels, and I do plan to complete the rest before too long. Should I make any new discoveries in that time that I feel just has
to be in this review, I will be sure to make note. That's just how good this game is. I very much want to fully complete this title, and experience every last ounce of thought and love that the developers put into making it. And as someone who typically feels indifference towards these types of games, that says a lot.