... very unforgiving, unashamedly harsh and without giving out any sort of initial crutch, but an excellent and clever idea that's very well executed and is much more interesting than most games out there, this is very, very good. Allow me to detail my review:
- Graphics, oh boy, this is just too clever. You deliberately use a isometric projection to create an intensely tricky illusion that's very hard to deal with and requires readjusting our mental processes so that we can make progress. That's the core essence of the game and, as such, it's vital that the projection is spot-on, as it is in this case. Kudos on that alone!
Now, the actual pixel art is pretty good, but not exceptional. The designs are somewhat sparse and functional, which I guess helps to keep the focus on the puzzle resolution, but a bit more eye candy throughout could have made the game even better. I will say that the outside the 'main puzzle areas' there are a few very nice areas, though.
- Music is pretty solid, it fits the tone of the game well and is well used. The sounds effects are very '8-bit' and fit the bill very well.
- Gameplay, oh boy. It's very interesting to be able to explore the illusions presented and I think you provide us with a good diversity of challenges, mixing things up just about the right amount, to keep things interesting throughout. But it really is very unforgiving, a necessary consequence from the lives system, clearly an attempt to stop people from simply brute-forcing the solutions.
In other words, it works, but it's a tough game.
- Story-wise, well, it's very bare-bones, so keeping things vague and allusive is a good choice; it sets the right tone for the game and doesn't distract too much, which is probably ideal in a (relatively) short game like this. I like the comments that Naya makes, they usually work well.
- Finally, the pacing and length are spot-on, again. The game could have been longer, a lot longer in fact, as there's plenty of ways to expand on the gameplay, but that would have required a lot more effort, so given the chosen length, I think the pacing is very good, providing infrequent stops to help create an atmosphere (but see above about eye candy) and give the players save points.
So, to summarize, a clever idea that's very well executed and a challenging and demanding game, that's fun, frustrating and interesting to play; well polished, but could have been a bit more rewarding to the players in some ways.
Finally, a note on some of the frankly abusive reviews below: this is not a game for everyone and does it show, unfortunately. By not providing a clear tutorial and/or demonstration of the game mechanics, a lot of people have failed to grasp the very basics of the game, and even some that clearly understand how it works, have despised it, which is a shame.
The former are reprehensible (in that modern games are too generous in that sense and have spoilt people a bit too much), the latter more understandable, since, as I mentioned right at the start, this is a surprisingly tough game; the mental adjustment necessary to be able explore the game and succeed is non-trivial and the game is frustrating in many ways, so a lot of patience is required; sadly, I guess most people's expectations of a flash game preclude the notion of having to have patience, with the resulting reviews.
So I say kudos and congratulations, Terry, this is a great game that deserves praises for executing a deceptively clever idea very, very well.