A game about the meaning of life, and feet. But mostly feet.
Colin Northway has a fascination with machination. His first title was the flash hit Fantastic Contraption, which had players constructing makeshift vehicles to guide unassuming shapes to safety. The game quickly became an internet hit, and spawned not only sequels, but curiosity about how the indie developer would follow it up. Now, Northway Games is back with Incredipede: an experience every bit as much about construction, but of a vastly different nature.
Ultimately, it’s nature that serves as the chief inspiration behind Incredipede. After the success of Fantastic Contraption, Northway and his wife Sarah “quit [their] jobs, gave away all [their] stuff and became travelling indie game developers.” It was while travelling in Honduras in 2011 that Northway scrapped another prototype he was working on at the time to begin the early stages of what would become this latest creation. As he puts it, “I think of that time as time spent hacking away vines in the jungle looking for the golden city. Now I’m finally ready to haul my finds back to civilization and put on a show!”
And what an interesting show it looks to be. Starring a wonderfully imaginative made-up insect known as the Incredipede – one named Quozzle, in this case – the game sets you off on a quest to rescue her sisters. Discouraged by the fact that she’s ultimately just a head? Don’t be! Incredipedes can grow new appendages at will, allowing you to attach arms and legs to Quozzle in a way that turns her into a “snake, a spider, a horse, a monkey – anything you can imagine.” The key is to adapt Quozzle to her current environment, whether that means long, unruly appendages used as stilts, or stubbly but dependable legs used to skitter quickly from one place to another.
Functionally, the game is described by Northway as being very much like hilarious indie hit QWOP, in which players controlled a hopeful athlete towards the finish line by alternating q, w, o, and p keys to move muscles in his legs. The difference in Incredipede (and it really does make all the difference) is that player agency over where you place the limbs turns the game from a hilarious test of patience and precision into one of more analytical puzzling. Puzzling which will take place across 60 different levels and three unique worlds, the first of which complements limbs with muscles. Muscles will be used World of Goo-style to reinforce existing leg structures, allowing for a broader range of movement.
Meanwhile, Incredipede comes equipped with a level editor that will allow you build your own puzzles, or simply craft ridiculous QWOP-style challenges to test your friend’s ability to send Quozzle to a designated finish line. The whole experience seems to combine all the games mentioned so far, and deliver them by way of Jumanji in an ambient, beautifully rendered package. Personally, I can’t wait to get my hands (and legs, and other invented appendages) on Incredipede.
And if you’re like me, then you can head to Steam Greenlight right now to cast your vote for the game; let Valve know you want to see it hosted on the digital download service as soon as possible! In the mean time, keep your eyes peeled to Gamezebo for more details, and a full review when the game hits in late October Mac, PC, and Linux.