Posted By Gabriel B. about 2 months, 2 weeks ago
Well, February is over and March has begun. You know what that means, right? Yep, human sacrifice! What, you thought we were going talk about a game by an Irish development team? (To be fair, there actually is a very active game developer community… they just don’t do that many freeware games.)
Maybe a religious game since Easter is coming up? Well, the game is set on Halloween, the day before All Saints Day and a holiday that finds its roots in Samhain, a Gaelic festival where the cattle were prepared and slaughtered and the door to the Otherworld opens long enough for the souls of the dead to cross over. Of course, this game is about pseudo-Aztec human sacrifice, so… let’s just start the review, shall we?
Broken Dimensions has you play as an unnamed boy in a chicken suit who is out trick-or-treating when he receives a cursed piece of candy that sends him into the bowels of an Aztec-esque pyramid which houses a dark, child-eating god and a friendly ghost who wants to help the boy escape. As the boy descends deeper into the pyramid, solving puzzles and dodging traps, the pyramid becomes more and more lethal and the ghost’s advice becomes more and more questionable. This culminates in a very unnerving final level where the boy, still clad in his chicken-suit, must face off with the god that hides in the middle of the pyramid, in the god’s own domain.
Luckily, our protagonist isn’t completely powerless, as his terrifying sojourn has given him the ability to flip the world around him. What’s more, given enough candy, the boy can also freeze objects like blocks so they aren’t affected by him flipping the world around. This mechanic is used wonderfully and doesn’t take long too long to learn, which is good since some of the puzzles can be difficult. The difficulty comes from the spike traps you’ll have to avoid and the anchor-less items in each level. Since you aren’t the only thing that can move around a level, you have to plan for how blocks and some spike traps will be affected by your tampering. Additionally, some levels have two moving objects that need to be interlocked or used to smash through walls, so you have to take even more factors into consideration. Overall, the puzzle mechanic works fine and you’ll have to bend your brain quite a bit towards the end.
There are two problems that hold the gameplay back, though these won’t affect most people. First, you only get the ability to freeze objects if you collect enough candy. While this isn’t too big of a problem (the game even spots you an extra piece of candy in the room where you first need the power), there is a small chance new players might miss a couple of pieces. Second, the occasional glitch can occur, which will make some areas unsolvable. Luckily, resetting the area usually fixes this.
Also, from a presentation standpoint, the game looks pretty good, but not amazing and there’s no music. While I did play on minimum settings (mostly for speed’s sake: this game is very easy on systems) I did look up high-quality footage and there wasn’t much of a difference. Besides, you’re stuck in stone corridors for most of the game (until the completely awesome final level), so it’s not like high-quality graphics would really make things much better. Though I should note that the final level looks great and there are some VERY good lighting effects. The sound is fine, though I should warn you to not play this while wearing headphones, as the blocks make an amazingly loud grinding noise as they shift around the level.
However, the grinding sounds, claustrophobic corridors (which are covered in rather macabre drawings), and lack of music actually adds to the game’s atmosphere. The game does a fantastic job of making you feel small and alone as you travel a lethal labyrinth. Add in the excellent voice acting for the ghost (Ida Dirksen), who manages to be creepy, sweet, and enigmatic all at once and you can easily feel on edge for the entirety of this admittedly short game (less than an hour if you know what you’re doing).
Overall, Broken Dimensions is a great game to get your heart pumping and your brain bending. The puzzles are interesting, the atmosphere is palpable, and it has several great moments. Next week, I think we need to try and play something that’s a bit more March-themed.
Play: HERE (Requires Unity plug-in, which is free)
Download: HERE (Requires Desura Client)
Freeware Friday is a weekly article series by Gabriel B. that explores the excellent indie games out there that won’t cost you a single cent.