Game Eaters

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Professor Fizzwizzle

It would seem that as a game-eater I have been fasting in the last couple of months, shame on me. So back to blogging duties!!

I should have written my entry on Professor Fizzwizzle a loooooooooong time ago. It's a really cute puzzle game that is also a fine example of excellent level design. I played it before going to GDC, and then I found out that it was nominated for a couple of categories at the Independent Games Festival this year. I had fallen in love with this game (I'm a puzzle game junkie, remember?), and was really impressed when I read that the developers are just two (extremely nice) guys. (Well, they hired a guy to do sound, but still!). The production value of the game is astounding for an independent game, and considering the size of the "crew", it's just fantastic. When my brother saw the game, he said (in Spanish), "These guys completely rule!".

Professor Fizzwizzle is a puzzle game, in the vein of games like Tiny Skweeks (old but still great), Chu-Chu Rocket (a Game-Eaters favourite) or the newer PQ for PSP (though, come to think of it, it's a lot better designed and more fun to play than PQ). Okay, yeah, all these are rather obscure puzzle games, so probably I should also mention that this is a game for fans of The Incredible Machine.

The aim of the game is to help the Professor of the title to get from the start point to the goal, strategically placing objects to help him in the way. The objects range from boxes to inflatable magnets (sic); the obstacles can be getting stuck, or being caught by one of the Professor's robots run amok. What really impressed me was the level design--there are levels for kids, and levels that are wickedly difficult; when you think you mastered the game, a new type of puzzle comes around to challenge you. The programmer told me that it took him four hours to figure out the design of the last puzzle, so by that you may imagine this it's not your usual "casual" game.

It's certainly worth a try, you can download the demo and see for yourself what a cute game this is. The complete game also has a level editor, and you can download user-developed levels from the same website. What's better, the developers have been mindful enough to release versions for Linux and Mac, apart from Windows. So there's no excuse.

This game evidences that there's still hope for independent videogames.


  • "There's still hope"? I'd contend that with the growing acceptance of the practice of paying good money for digitally-downloadable entertainment, and with the possibilities of downloadable content on all three next-gen consoles, the outlook for independent games is pretty rosy right now.

    By Blogger Philip, at 4:38 AM  

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