Perusing Pointless Platformers Pt I

Oh look it’s Sunday and given my choice between watching Sebastien Vettel winning another trophy shaped feather for his trophy cabinet shaped cap (oh look he did!) or even worse, watching another kind of sport I instead peruse the internet looking for fun, yet incredibly pointless, platform games that can take anything between five minutes and five hours for you to WASD your time on. See what I did thar? Oh ho. I’ll never make that joke again.

#1 Cat Planet

I’ll be honest, when we (yes, seriously there were two of us involved in this) sat down to play Cat Planet, two of us looked at each other and said, ‘this looks like crap’. Ten minutes later, one of us had long since gotten bored and moved on to more exciting pastures, while the other (me) was still playing it, screaming the obligatory, “CAT PLANET!” every time I saw a cat.

cat planet

i don’t want to say that this moment made my day…but it did

Cat Planet is a sweet and simple exploration platformer whereby you take control of (what I’m assuming to be) an angel. You fly around the planet and you look for cats. When you find a cat, the cat will impart sage words of wisdom to you, usually variations of ‘cat’ and/or ‘planet’. The controls are about as simplistic as you can get. You use the arrow keys to move and any other key to fly.

If you play it for more than five minutes chances are you’ll be hooked. Especially as the levels increase in difficulty, giving you objects to negotiate and then *gasp* moving objects to avoid. As a result you can spend a great deal of time, far more than you’d like to admit anyway, determined to traverse a particular map…and find cats on the way.

Cat Planet was made in 2009 for a Ludum Dare competition by ‘chuchino’ and is available to play here.

#2 Don’t Look Back

Don’t Look Back is a surprisingly haunting Flash game, created by Terry Cavanagh Games and available to play here.

and I thought you didn't get more subtle than floating cat heads shouting 'cat planet!'

and I thought you didn’t get more subtle than floating cat heads shouting ‘cat planet!’

Again, the controls are very simple. Arrow keys to move and jump and the Z or Space Bar to shoot. While the environments might look like they were created in MSPaint, this does little to detract from the feel of the game, which is strikingly melancholic and supported with an incredibly atmospheric soundtrack which wouldn’t sound out of place in an emotive segment of a survival horror.

Though simple to play, there are certain segments which are indecently frustrating, and you can expect to die fairly frequently. But you simply respawn at the start of the screen so you don’t actually lose out in dying at all. The game is short and even allowing for frustration shouldn’t take more than fifteen/twenty minutes. Without repetitive dying you can expect to complete it in half that time.
There’s even a story and an ending, though I warn you it doesn’t get much more subtle than this and the narrative relies entirely on implication.

#3 Knytt

After the frustration of the two above, let’s relax with Knytt. An utterly inoffensive platformer that comes with an ‘Ambience’ button so you can choose just how much you want to relax.

Knytt is a small, monkey like creature abducted by aliens. The UFO crash lands on another planet and it’s up to Knytt to rebuild the space ship so he/she/it can go home.

pretty much how I intend to spend every sunday evening

pretty much how I intend to spend every sunday evening

With simple directional controls, S to jump and Up to climb, you can run, jump and climb, exploring a fairly pretty world map, in search of your UFO parts. The game is short and simplicity itself, presenting very little challenge to the gamer. Instead, you can just sit back, relax and chuckle at how climbing walls is actually quite cute.

Knytt was developed by Nicklas ‘Nifflas’ Nygren and can be played here.

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