Mick’s Indie Picks: Plith

Puzzle PC News Mac Indie

With the main industry becoming somewhat stagnant, I’ve found myself drawn more to the independent game developers community lately. I’ve stumbled onto some real gems, but unfortunately, a lot of them don’t get the attention they deserve.

This new segment, which I intend to make semi-regular, will highlight an indie game I’ve discovered or have been playing. They won’t be reviews, per se, but simply try to promote some of those lesser known games you should get in on.

The first Indie Pick is Plith, the debut release from Ya2, an indie developer based in Rome. In Plith, players construct chains of cogs, with the aim of transferring the energy from a spinning starter cog to a stationary target one. Sounds simple, and during the tutorial levels it is. But it’s not long before other cog sizes, obstacles and play spaces ramp up the challenge.

Cogs must be placed on pegs, and the arrangement of these on the board usually indicates the path players must take to build their cog chains. A path of pegs may look quite simple, but the relationship between the different cog sizes means the ones you are given in a level may not mesh in the way you expect. The challenge comes from determining how to use the given cog types in the space provided.

Cogs come in three sizes, and the relationships between them vary. Large cogs will mesh together only either directly above, below, left or right of each other, medium cogs will mesh together diagonally, and small cogs are useful for bridging gaps between the others. The elements are simple to understand while you play, yet the complicated ways they work together are difficult to explain in writing. That’s often a sign of a great central mechanic: straight forward enough for players to pick up quickly, but deep enough to allow for many puzzle possibilities. That’s good news, considering the game boasts over 100 levels.

The puzzling gameplay is wrapped up in a story about the end of the world. It’s 2012, the year pop culture and the realm of historic myth tell us Earth is due for a cataclysm, and Plith presents it as the gears driving the universe being damaged. To restore the rotation of the Earth, players must…connect cogs.

The presentation is lacking some polish, however. The visuals and audio are serviceable but not mind-blowing, and the interface can be somewhat cumbersome. Thankfully, the central mechanic is strong enough to keep things interesting.

If you’re a fan of puzzle games, Plith is definitely worth the miniscule asking price of $3.99. It’s available now on Desura, Indie City and on Ya2’s own site. If you’re too tight for that, there’s a free demo to try out.

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Gaming since the days of Lemmings and Wolfenstein, and writing since Scamper the mouse in Grade Three.

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