GDC 2012 Indie Round-up: Johann Sebastian Joust, The Bridge, Antichamber, GIRP
More than anything, Antichamber resembles a particularly horrible drug experience. The aesthetic is simultaneously bleak and wildly colorful, trapping players in a psychedelic prison that results from setting light intensity in the Unreal engine all the way down to zero.
Navigation is disorienting — the game’s gravity seems constantly in flux. To solve puzzles and progress, players use a Portal-gun-style device that allows them to collect colored pixels. These pixels can then be used to boost themselves over obstacles, block deadly light beams, and unlock doors. The game constantly subverts gamer habits and expectations, while also perplexing them with abstruse philosophical quotes and uncanny tableaux. One room is full of what seem like museum exhibits, until the contents of each free-standing display change constantly, depending on what angle they are viewed from. Antichamber is due out for PC and Mac later in 2012.
Many gamers will be familiar with QWOP, a deceptively simple game by designer Bennett Foddy that challenges players to steer a runner using only keys Q, W, O, and P, often with hilarious results. GIRP is another game in the same school, putting players in control of a rock-climber who must evade a rising tide of water by selecting handholds using the various letter keys. Feel free to try it yourself at Foddy’s site and laugh at the goofy ragdoll physics and meddling nesting birds that get in the climber’s way.