Some time back, I shared a post about an arty little game called Samorost. Since then I've discovered some other cool games online, and I figured now was as good a time as any to share a couple. These are all browser games, meaning that you don't need to download anything, you can simply play the game in your web browser (internet explorer, firefox... you may need to make sure you have adobe flash player installed on your computer though).
For today, here's two series which were both created by Mateusz Skutnik a game designer, graphic novel artist and architect from Gdansk (aka Danzig), Poland. For more info on Skutnik and his work, I direct you to his website.
First up is the very popular Submachine series. These are games in the classic "escape the room" tradition in which the player finds himself trapped in a series of rooms and the goal is to pick up objects and solve puzzles in order to get the hell out of there. Here you find yourself trapped in what the creator calls a "submerged machine installation." Now... I have played all the games and still have no idea what a submerged machine installation is or what it does, but all I can say is that somehow the name "submachine" makes total sense. Each game starts where the last one leaves off, drawing you deeper into the machine and its world of puzzles, teleportation and recursion. As you make your way through the series you'll start to recognize recurring elements from previous games like the bathroom, the lighthouse, the spoon (that's right, the spoon), however submachine plays with your expectations and each installment is unique.
The Submachine games are definitely reminiscent of classic computer games in the adventure genre: they remind me a bit of Myst and even more so of ZakMcKracken and the Alien Mindbenders (yeah, I kicked it old school). I would rate Submachine pretty high in terms of playability: the puzzles are for the most part logical and mesh with the games' environment. Thus far there are five games in the series plus 2 bonus minigames (Submachine 0 and Submachine FLF). My favorites were 3 and 4, but I would recommend new players start at the beginning with Submachine 1: The Basement. This first game in the series takes maybe 15 minutes to play (assuming you don't get stuck on a puzzle for too long which usually happens to me) while some of the sequels might be a bit longer than that. You can find links to the whole series as well as walkthroughs to help you cheat when you do get stuck here. If you like playing point-and-click puzzle games and you have some time to kill in front of the computer, I'd say check them out.
Next we have Daymare Town and its sequel. I would argue these games are more intriguing than Submachine, but they're also super difficult. Here you explore a surreal burg trying to uncover its secrets and/or get out of Dodge. The artwork, which is a bit reminiscent of Edward Gorey, as well as the music and sound effects contribute to Daymare Town's slightly eerie, uneasy, insomniac's hallucination kind of feel. This is precisely what makes the game unique and interesting, and somehow it also diminishes the "I'm going crazy" feeling you may get when you're trying to figure out the solution to a puzzle in this type of game.
Like I said, the puzzles in these games are devilishy hard (oddly enough, I found Daymare Town 2 easier than the original) and Skutnik recommends them only for the experienced gamer; but whatever don't let that scare you too much. Here's the link to the games and here's a walkthrough.
Images from Submachine 4 and Daymare Town games both by Mateusz Skutnik.