Alto's Odyssey

First Impressions: Very simple mechanics to this game, just tap the screen, or tap and hold to continue to rotate your character mid-air. Once again, like my review for Monument Valley, this is a great example of simple done well. Hitting combos and earning points to purchase upgrades in the store feels like you are doing more than timing jumps. 

This is a very good game for anyone looking to pass the time and zone out for a bit. It even has a “zen mode” where there is no score, or deaths, just endless mode for fun.

Going Further:

Monument Valley

First Impressions: This is a mobile game that I would put in the puzzle/platformer genre. It cleverly uses perspective to create the puzzles. You only need to tap the screen where you want to move, and tap and drag to manipulate the world. Think of a more aesthetically pleasing Fez combined with a Penrose stairs Escher painting. The combination of interactive sound fx and peaceful ambiance is very soothing. For backstory, all that you know in the beginning is that you are some kind of princess. Every beginning level does a great job of introducing mechanics.

Her Story

First Impressions: When I started this game, I was playing as a detective solving a homicide case. I was controlling a police department computer looking at video interrogation footage. The art design wasn’t fancy but the acting in the video was very convincing and this is what kept me continue playing. There were ambient light bulb sounds which gave a glow to the computer screen in the game. This reflected a game image of myself which was creepy but also brought up my curiosity.

Wheels of Aurelia 1978

First Impressions: When I first saw the trailer for this game in class, I was interested, even if it was mainly to listen to the Italian soundtrack. Even though the trailer was enough to pique my interest, it didn't do enough to explain the depth of the game.

Gone Home

First Impressions: At the start of the game you are greeted by a foreboding phone call of you, returning to your family after a trip overseas. Reaching your family home, you, Kaitlin Greenbriar, are greeted to an empty home on a stormy night. On inspection of the door to the home, you only see an ominous scrawled note by a family member telling you to not look for them. With that, you explore the house looking to find the cause of your family’s disappearance learning more about them in the process.

Alto's Odyssey

First Impressions: At first glance, this was just a typical casual game. The reason I chose to play it was that I seldom play video games (except for this class) but when I do, they’re always casual games. I’d seen trailers for Alto in the past and the graphics really appealed to me. The tutorial level was very informative and helped prepare me for the game. The game is centered around a snowboarder who rides down snowy peaks and sandy hills. The gameplay is really simple: tap to jump, hold to do a backflip.

Monument Valley

First Impressions: This indie game can best be described as a physics-based puzzle solving game with incredibly visually pleasing art. You are tasked with moving Princess Ida along three-dimensional platforms to reach the end of each level. In order to make it through most of the scenes, you rotate, pan, and slide the platforms and various other structures so that the princess can travel across seemingly impassable obstacles. The backstory is slowly introduced as Ida finishes a series of levels and communicates with a ghost.

Alto's Odyssey

First impression: Alto’s Odyssey is a game where you control a character that is sand surfing across many different sandy hills. The beginning of the game revolves around the tutorial where you are taught the basic control scheme of the game. The controls are simple, you just have to tap the screen to jump and hold your finger down to rotate counter-clockwise in the air. There are several things in the world you’ll have to watch out for. These include: rocks, jars, balloons, coins, powerups, and the rope strung between hot air balloons.

Monument Valley

First Impressions: Monument Valley is about a princess Ida who is on a mission exploring various monuments. Each monument is a puzzle maze where you as the player must move pieces to get Ida through each level. The game mechanics are very simple -- rotating, sliding, clicking -- and done very well, while the puzzles are still challenging and thought-provoking. Similarly, the artwork is also simple but captivating. The colors are bright, the monuments are all geometric and 3D-like, but the animations give life and movement to the geometry.

Crab Jam Review

This is a review for the Global Game Jam 2017 game "Crab Jam". It was developed in Canada. ( In this game, you play as a crab that has to avoid getting swept away by oncoming waves, by solving a puzzle to block yourself with rocks, plants, and other sea life. In order to move the crab you use either the arrow keys or WASD keys. To move an object, you push it by moving behind it and pushing it forward. There are 12 levels to the game, each one getting progressively more difficult to solve with additional obstacles you have to maneuver.