Indie Review: The Fourth Wall
The Fourth Wall, a puzzle platformer from Pig Trigger, was a finalist in the third annual Indie Game Challenge. Having played it now, I have to encourage you to do so as well. Read on to find out why.
- Worth The Time?Yes, in every way possible.
- Things LovedThe awesome concept, the cool graphical style, the great puzzles and clever mechanics, the game is well paced and has a decent length, the music is good, it's comfortable to play despite its later challenges.
- Things HatedNothing.
- RecommendationIf puzzle platformers are the kinds of games that get you through the tough times, then The Fourth Wall is an excellent game to play. Still, I'd recommend everyone to try this, because you can't go wrong doing so.
- Name: The Fourth Wall
- Genre: Puzzle Platformer
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PC
- Developer: Pig Trigger (Digipen)
- Publisher: Pig Trigger (Digipen)
- Price: Free
- Reviewed On: PC
You can download the game for free here.
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The Fourth Wall is a rather interesting “screen wrap” 2D puzzle platformer from Pig Trigger, a team of DigiPen students, that made it into the finals of the third annual Indie Game Challenge. Having missed it earlier this year when it was released to the public, I’ve had the opportunity to play it now when I caught sight of it on an indie gaming website. And I’m extremely glad that I did, because it’s an excellent little game overall, and I definitely consider it to be one of my new favourite puzzle platformers. Having said that, and of course considering that it’s entirely free, I felt excited to share this game with the rest of you. Hopefully, this will peak your interest in the game, but I’m sure I got you at the word “free” already.
The game is a bit difficult to explain without making it sound weird. You start out as a kid leaving his home village, and the game follows your journey as you grow up into a young man and finally reach your better years of wisdom. Don’t worry, the game doesn’t take that long to finish. It’s paced really well, and is a decent length. The selling point of the game is that, in addition to your standard running and jumping platforming, your character can travel from one side of the screen to the other. Basically, for example, if you jump out of the screen to the left, you’ll end up on the far right side, provided there’s space. If you fall through the bottom of the screen, and there’s no solid ground below, you’ll come out at the top, and vice versa. Then, what makes it interesting is the screen wrap ability, which at the press of a button locks the screen in place, allowing you to effectively do things like block floors out of the screen so you can fall down and land on top, or block walls out so you can move out of the screen and appear on the other side. No matter how I explain it, you probably won’t get the clearest picture so it might be best to watch the video up above to get an idea of what you’re in for. It’s really cool.
Things start out quite simple, and you’ll be given a fair amount of time to get used to the mechanics of the game. So in the beginning, you’ll mostly be given straightforward challenges, but things will later test you a bit more. What I found interesting about The Fourth Wall is that it doesn’t necessarily get difficult or intense. In fact it stays reasonably comfortable to play all the way through. However, in the later stages of the game you are required to think more carefully regarding how you’re going to solve its puzzles. The game leaves you to work out the solutions, and even though there’s a little trial and error, for the most part it’s a logic game. And there’s zero frustration involved because if you die you’ll instantly respawn on safe ground, letting you get straight back into it without any hassle.
The concept of the game is awesome, but what makes it great is not the fact that it’s unique. Nope, this gameplay mechanic has been used a number of times in the past. But I can’t think of a lot of examples where it’s been executed this fantastically, and in the design of puzzles no less. The Fourth Wall is clever, it’s got style and it feels rewarding to get through and take on its challenges. You don’t have to finish it all in one go, because the game allows you to instantly save your progress at any time by pressing escape and then the F5 key, and if you want to load you simply need to run the game, press escape and reload your save with the F6 key. I find it hard to believe sometimes that this game was created in Game Maker, which is something I used to mess around with as a kid in primary school.
The game has a cool graphical style. It’s all grey, light grey and black, but surprisingly it never feels dull. Some of the traps and obstacles stick out like sore thumbs as a result, since they’re harshly coloured in comparison to the rest of the game, and this means you won’t miss them. The game is rather nice to look at despite its primitive detail, and its simplicity adds to its charm. The rain effects and the blue border that appears whenever you use the screen wrap ability are nice touches, and credit needs to be given to the look of your character, which is great. The music in the game is really good, and definitely does the job of setting the mood with its ambiance and mystical feel, but apart from it sound effects are kept to a minimum, and you won’t hear much else apart from background noise.
The Fourth Wall is an excellent puzzle platfomer that uses a simple idea and executes it brilliantly. You’ll do yourself a favour by playing this, and everyone should at least try it, especially those who are fans of this genre. You can’t really go wrong playing it, and since it’s a free download you shouldn’t have a reason not to. The game is a good pass time, is comfortable to play and will leave you impressed.