Game Plug: Induction

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Z-Man
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Game Plug: Induction

Post by Z-Man »

Ok, this little thing called Induction got waaaaay too little press, so I'm going to write a few words about it for you, because it's good.

It's a time travel puzzle game. You probably played one or two before; here's a very old Flash game with a very similar premise: http://www.onemorelevel.com/game/time_bot If you still have flash, do go ahead and play that, it's only four or six levels.
However, Induction is different than all previous versions of this idea before. Like with the other time travel puzzlers, you do your regular puzzle stuff. Here, you're a cube rolling around an isometric cube landscape, you can activate cube switches, you can push barrels, barrels can activate barrel switches. Switches control bridges. You have to get to the exit. Really basic stuff, but trust me, that's just perfect. Anyway, after doing this stuff, you can travel back in time to the beginning of the level (beginning in time; your location in space stays fixed) and do new stuff while a playback of your previous actions is doing its stuff again.
And here's where things get different: The other games would have your playback past self move along the same path you went when you did it yourself. If your past self rolled over a bridge and your future self turned that bridge off, your past self would just hover over the chasm and be fine. Your past self does not play back your trajectory, it only plays back your left/right/forward/backward moves. So in the bridge removal example, your past self would fall down. Which is probably bad, because if by the time it activates its time travel power, it needs to be in the same spot you were in when you activated it, or you have an inconsistent world history (commonly called 'paradox') and won't have solved the level. Induction picks one of the ways real time travel, should it exist, could work; I've never seen that before in a game. Sometimes, you have to screw over your past self anyway and find a way to repair the timeline later. In other games, interaction is one way, your past self influences your future self, but not the other way round (though there was an Unreal SDK game where you could shoot your past self, that's different different.) Past the introduction levels, Induction is all about making all time copies of yourself work together to get the last one to the exit.

There are three and a half more time travel related mechanics. One is a pickup that gives you more trips back in time, usually just one. That makes three of you to worry about. That's expected. The rest are spoilers. Interestingly, it's never part of the challenge to get the pickups, they're usually just right there at the level start, and if not, they're on the path you'd take anyway. My favourite spoilery thing is the pickup that looks like a laser gun.

One spoilery bit: You will re-enact the logic from the finale of Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey several times. Well, in cube form.

It doesn't look like much, but the effects are nice and the music is soothing. It has comfort features: you have an undo/rewind button and a wait/fast forward button, because in those games, you often don't know how long you need to hold a button to give your future self enough time do do its thing. It gives you indicators about what your past selves are up to next. I never got angry at it. I usually get angry at puzzle games at some point, or really annoyed because the levels just get complicated instead of clever. That only happens here in isolated cases, and IMHO, they're worth it.I have pencil drawings of four levels here where I sort out which thing to do with which version of myself (that's not to brag; I probably could have used better planning for other levels that did not fit into my brain, but my drawing plans are lousy). None of them look like the character interaction graph from Primer. There's one level where I think it's a bug that it's solvable, but I may be misinterpreting the effect of <spoiler> on <spoiler>, there's a nuance that only matters in that one level. For most levels, it's about figuring out that one amazing trick, and the game is good at gently guiding you towards it. If stuck, convince yourself that the level is impossible to solve, then question every reason in your chain of logic. Something unusual in the level is a counterexample to one of them.

I'll quote from the currently only review, because it was true for me too: "Every success makes you feel smart, but uneasy, like you just broke some causality laws. This is, of course, because you did. The first time I finished a really tough level I couldn’t process what I’d just seen. This, in spite of the fact that I was the one who caused it to happen." Well, not just the first time. A couple of times. The game shows you the final combined timeline when your done and I can see that's a solution, even though even then it's hard to trace which version does what and when. I also remember thinking about it and arranging things. But still, what you see while playing can be so different from what the final effect is that you completely don't understand how you got there. That's quite unusual.

Site to buy and for videos: http://www.inductiongame.com/

Safety warning: Don't do async programming after playing this game. You'll be expecting futures/tasks to contain the result of work yet to be done.

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sinewav
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Re: Game Plug: Induction

Post by sinewav »

The music in the trailer is really cool and I like how some of the levels feel like Escher's impossible figures. I generally don't like puzzle games (because I'm pretty stupid) but this looks like something I might try once I get some time, hopefully by the end of the year.

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stereo
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Re: Game Plug: Induction

Post by stereo »

I kept counting seconds for each thing i stepped on, was a fun but pretty short game

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Z-Man
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Re: Game Plug: Induction

Post by Z-Man »

stereo wrote:I kept counting seconds for each thing i stepped on, was a fun but pretty short game
I will just flat out assume you only played Timebot, then, because Induction isn't short :) I see where my message may have been confusing there. Go and check out Induction. It only starts out like Timebot, but gets about two times infinity times better after it taught you the very basic basics.

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Z-Man
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Re: Game Plug: Induction

Post by Z-Man »

Z-Man wrote:There's one level where I think it's a bug that it's solvable, but I may be misinterpreting the effect of <spoiler> on <spoiler>, there's a nuance that only matters in that one level.
Half correct! There was precicely the bug I thought there was. It's fixed now, but of course the level is still solvable. I just made a wrong assumption when I convinced myself it wouldn't be.

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Re: Game Plug: Induction

Post by Swampy »

I didn't know about timebot until yesterday and that's a wildly addicting game. I haven't tried Induction because I'm been too wrapped up in TB. Great job on that, it's a very original game and I like the way it makes you "think" :) I'll try the other game too

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