The Ugly Monster
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The Ugly Monster

Playing Every Game in the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality

PEGBRJE: ‘Perspectrum’ and ‘Temple Scramble’

2D Puzzles Strike Again

As a single man, I definitely feel this.

Perspectrum is a puzzle platformer by Proud Mom Games and published by Vandalia Softworks. Players will explore a mountain world as the ‘Tall Stranger’, a hooded figure able to manipulate the elements of the world. Using this power, the Tall Stranger hopes to revitalize the mountain’s environments and bring each region back to life.

The core mechanic is the alteration of the levels based on different elemental ‘states’. Fountains exist throughout the dungeons and levels which allow for the Stranger to alter the ‘state’ of the level, with each fountain having a specific elemental property.

Below freezing is the ice state, in which all liquids are frozen and become impassable barriers or sweet ice rinks. Warming things up will put the region in a ‘neutral/spring’ state, where the water can be entered without fear. The Stranger cannot swim, but does not require air so players can run along the bottom. Finally the lava state turns all water in to lava, which automatically kills the player upon entry and sends them back to the last door they entered. This reverts the world back to its original state. These three states allow for different interactions and are crucial to solving the puzzles and moving throughout the world.

Once you’ve got a hang of switching states, Perspectrum opens up in to a strangely open world with its five major ‘dungeons’. You can keep moving between regions as you see fit, returning to previous locations to see how the lava has effected it or to find a new door that was previously inaccessible. There are NPCs to talk to in the overworld to assist in uncovering where to go next, and spirit shards to collect so that the player can fully progress the story. If you love level manipulation and exploration, Perspectrum is worth checking out. It can be very easy to get lost, so good luck trying to uncover the mountain’s secrets.

Temple Scramble is a competitive puzzle/match-3 game created by Birdwards, an indie dev and game jammer. Players will choose to play as either Indira the temple adventurer or Phulax the temple protector as they compete to achieve their objectives first.

Depending on which ‘side’ the player takes, the player will have a different way of achieving the five points necessary to win. As Indira, players will try to find the golden item inside of the grid-like temple by maneuvering through the obstacles and grabbing it. Each stage has its own variation on the obstacles themselves, but Indira can use the space bar to eliminate the blockade so that she can move forward.

On the other side, Phulax is trying their best to stop Indira from getting the golden items and gains points when those items (or Indira herself) are destroyed. Phulax uses the mouse to do this by manipulating the tiles on the floor to play a variation on the Match-3 formula. By sliding like-coloured tiles together, the obstacles that Indira is trying to avoid will appear, which will destroy Indira or a golden item upon their creation.

Each stage is technically the same, but the flavour and style alters the approach that both players will need to bring. Courtyard has Phulax constantly dropping spikes to block Indira’s path or destroy the treasure (this is the only stage in which Phulax can destroy treasure), but they do not last forever as she can pummel them back under the ground. Crypt takes players deep underground where Phulax drops boulders for the matched tiles, but Indira can not only dodge them before they land but also destroy them afterwards. Finally there’s Bridge where Phulax wants to drop Indira through the floor, but Indira is able to build pathways to bridge the gaps and avoid sudden death.

It’s a genius way of bringing together two different styles of gameplay under one collective ‘roof’. Temple Scramble will have you trying to either navigate a Match-3 puzzle dungeon, or trying to create one to stop them. Since it only requires a mouse and keyboard to play, it is extremely versatile to pick up anywhere that you may go. The simple controls further add to the ease of introduction. If you love competitive puzzles in real time, or want to play aggressive Match-3 against a friend, this might be the perfect game for you.

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Jacob Vorstenbosch

Jacob Vorstenbosch

Just a Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.

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