The perfect reason to finally invent the “Fing-Longer.”
Incredipede begins with a tragic tale: Little Quozzle’s village is ransacked by invaders, burned to the ground, and all of her family and friends kidnapped. She alone escapes into the hills and becomes our unexpected hero, on a tireless journey to find the hidden village across the island and rescue her tribe. In pursuit of this noble goal, we take control of Little Quozzle and her amazing ability to generate limbs on command.
Little Quozzle’s story may lead off with heartbreak, but it quickly becomes a soothing, beautiful game focused on creativity and determination. Our mostly-eyeball hero must inch her way from the beginning of each level to a nearby ray of light at the end, collecting the occasional hard-to-reach item (like apples or crystal skulls) along the way. The challenge in moving these relatively small distances arises from the puzzle-centric portion of the game: before she takes off, you will have to position limbs and muscles around Quozzle’s eyeball body to determine her ragdoll movement. Limbs will stick straight in whichever direction you position them, and rotate according to the muscle (clockwise or counterclockwise) that is attached.
This aspect of Incredipede is very reminiscent of Colin Northway’s Fantastic Contraption games. In both, you’re given a round object (a wheel, Quozzle’s head) in a designated starting location, which must reach the end goal. You have an unlimited number of the tools at your disposal to make this happen: in Fantastic Contraption, these are wheels and rods. In Incredipede, it’s limbs and muscles. The location and number of tools you use are completely up to you, and each level can be solved with a wide variety of creations. The big difference comes from Incredipede‘s polish and ambiance (which is actually a graphical setting) as opposed to its Flash inspiration, and the addition of a control system once you have created your limbed Quozzle.
Anyone familiar with QWOP, or the more recent CLOP (I know you spent your “lunch hour” playing it), should recognize Incredipede‘s basic controls. Only the “A” and “D” keys are used, allowing you to move forward and backward. These simple left-right commands add an arcade aspect to the game, which tests your ability to get Quozzle from her starting point to the end light, instead of merely watching her actions play out as they do in Fantastic Contraption.
This is also what makes Incredipede feel like a game, as opposed to a puzzle or thought experiment. Although both aspects of this title will appeal to different audiences, I found myself much more drawn to the active challenge of walking Quozzle forward (not backward! Why does she keep moving backward?!), swinging her from one hanging knob to the next, or crashing her into a breakable wall (which was part of the goal and not merely eyeball-cruelty). You could expend concentrated effort on crafting your Quozzle: attaching dozens of limbs and limbs-on-limbs, selecting the right direction of muscle, and lengthening or shortening each to the perfect span before moving her smoothly to the end goal. I was equally satisfied by throwing together an admittedly unattractive smattering of parts and then testing my own ability to make them work.
Although this strategy didn’t always work, Incredipede luckily features an extremely useful community-assistance system. Each level contains the option to view user-generated solutions, submitted by the players themselves. With this, you can directly control another player’s Quozzle to complete the same level in your own game, or simply view their creation and how they used her to reach the end. Creations can be up- or down-voted, resulting in an easy selection of the most successful. User-generated levels are also shareable and easily accessed, which greatly extends replay value past Incredipede‘s initial sixty levels. Along with the extremely easy to use level editor, sandbox fans should have nearly limitless options for flexing their Quozzle-creation skills.
This is a welcome extension, as Incredipede‘s levels are mostly short and sweet. Although the joy of the game should reside in the myriad ways you can solve each level, when you “get it right” the first time, it will only take from five to thirty seconds to do so, and there’s little incentive to go back and try alternatives (besides your own motivation to do so). Again, this is subjective, and while one player may spend hours crafting the perfect Quozzles, others will be finished with the main game in that time. When it comes to gameplay, the onus is on the player to get the most out of the game.
As for everything else, Incredipede shines on its own and needs no outside assistance. Visually, it’s a gorgeous game with colorful-yet-dark graphics vaguely reminiscent of Braid. The music is minimalistic, fading in and out during levels to allow for quiet moments of concentration accompanied only by birds chirping. When it fades in, it’s in beautifully smooth and somber wind tones fitting of the game’s Aztec-style environments. Little touches, like Quozzle’s squint if you hover over her eye, highlight Northway’s devoted attention to detail.
This attention to detail, and Northway’s dedication to perfecting the construction-puzzle genre, have crafted an exceptional experience—and often a fun game—in Incredipede. If you’re not sure this experience is for you, there are demo levels available for tryout. If it already had you at “limb generation,” the game could still use support on Steam Greenlight. Flop your fifteen limbs over to either for more Quozzle.