February 8, 2012
MIRRORMOON (windows, mac) is a brief first-person puzzle-exploration game that might last 5 to 15 minutes, depending on how quickly you figure things out. You are given very little context for how to proceed. You are on a mostly barren red planet. Another planet is visible in the sky. Perhaps it's blocking your view of the sun, perhaps not. Text on screen tells you to use WASD to move. Later the mouse will start working as well, but not in the way you're used to.
October 10, 2011
Beret (freeware, Win/Mac/Linux) is the best game I've played this year. It has gotten a shockingly small amount of press despite sporting some of the most consistently well-crafted level design I've seen. It may on the surface look like an early-90s 2-D platformer, but it is in fact a brilliant puzzle game in disguise. Its central mechanic is limited-range telekinesis, and while it steadily introduces new, novel elements throughout the game, your little avatar gains no new abilities. It also makes use of a save-/restore-state feature to distill what might otherwise feel like action sequences into their pure puzzley essence. And while the developer has implemented an unlockable level-editor, at the moment no user-crafted levels have been posted to the game's burgeoning forum. Please fix that. [more inside]