Somehow I stumbled upon the world of independent computer games yesterday. I spent a few hours playing unusual platform games before chundering everywaah and taking myself to bed with a stomach virus. I don't think the games caused the virus, though, so you should definitely give these a go.
Closure is a dark, slightly scary game about some sort of nightmare world where the ground beneath you ceases to exist if it isn't illuminated. Using orbs of light and moving orb-holders you have to find your way out of a series of dimly lit rooms. It's an addictive puzzle game that grants you the intelligence to figure things out for yourself, rather than include one of those tedious introductory levels where some inexplicable dismembered voice from beyond the fourth wall patronisingly tells you how to walk. It's challenging without being impossible, and quite pretty despite being a simple flash platform game.
Rocketbirds revolution is a preposterously slick-looking cartoon game that seems to be based on the premise, 'What if Metal Gear Solid was a platform game about a chicken Rambo and Communist albatrosses.' The first stage is available for free, and the rest of the game is $10. I'll be saving that for after exams. Aside from looking really cool, it also has an amazing soundtrack. This makes it as cool as any action game or movie I've seen, but also ... it's about a chicken called 'Hard Boiled.'
Meat boy is a fun flash game that takes all of the elements of platform games from the early 1990s, but rearranges them around a cube of meat, a girl made of band-aids, and an evil genius foetus in a jar wearing a tuxedo. As you skid around the levels you leave a trail of blood behind you. Is it wrong that I think that's more adorable than gruesome? The flash game is a bit too simple and not quite pretty enough, but the team behind it are currently working on a much prettier, high-definition remake (called Super Meat Boy, of course) for Xbox Live Arcade, Wii, PC and eventually, Mac. Weirdly, the programmer on the team is really opinionated against the iPhone and insists that Meat Boy wouldn't work on the iPhone platform, even though the gameplay consists solely of skidding around and jumping off walls, which could easily be achieved by tilting the device and pressing a 'jump' button. I guess some people just really like to use four buttons where one would do.