game inside a game

“game inside a game” by Sam Hogan.

The “game inside a game” is less of a metagame than the title might initially suggest. Instead, it is an exceptional puzzle title that has implemented recursion into both the level design and the mechanics in an excellent way. Each of the sixteen levels is about moving pale orange square structures towards their greenish counterparts. To do this, you can hit the first ones like a golf ball, with an angle and force of your choice. The number of shots is limited per stage.

At first, the recursion seems like a visual gimmick, but the first innovations become clear early on. For example, square formations that look huge on the n-th domain may also end up in the n-th-plus-one domain, where they are only half the size. Furthermore, the figures weigh differently depending on how big they are, which also affects their flight characteristics. With these various attributes, the puzzle design of “game inside a game” knows how to amaze, especially during the first playthrough.

However, those who want to can spend a lot more time with it, as it creates incentives especially for completists by means of a visual level evaluation. Depending on how many strokes it takes the player to complete a stage, the level selection box changes to one of three colors: Blue for a particularly low number of strokes, green for a good result, and yellow for an above-average amount. Of course, speedrunners will also enjoy rushing through the “game inside a game” as fast as possible. [PLAY]