11th Seed is a retro puzzle game that reminds me a little of the underappreciated classic Chips Challenge. For those of you not in the know – this will be a push block puzzler to build ladders to escape single-screen levels.
The game has a lovely SNES style to it where the pixel art of your character is rather cute. You play as the 112th seed and amble along slowly, germinating the parts of the floor that are soil. You do this by pushing water droplets around. These water droplets are often in awkward places and so you’ll also be pushing blocks about everywhere to create paths to get to them. As each level is a single screen, they are compact and this often means lots of tight manoeuvring in the latter half of the game to get things right. It really is an old school puzzler through and through. Expect no pace or urgency here.
What I liked most is how the theme of plants and regeneration work throughout the game. Flowers can grow and create ledges on petals. Often that’s a good thing but sometimes they’ll actually block your path and you’ll be stuck and need to restart. You can also turn your sprouts into propellers and fly around certain stages too. Flying means you have no body to push or move blocks though so you’ll need to dock into a plant to regain them. These stages are designed in a way that means you need to switch roles and set up blocks in a way that then lets you reach the end of the level – your pot plant – on foot.
There were a couple of things that did slightly irk me about the game design. Your character moves quite slowly and its jump is so feeble. As you can only jump one square up, it feels a little pathetic on the single screen levels when combined with the slow movement. I often found that I’d mistime the jump too or the game was a bit fiddly to get some of the precision of stacking blocks correctly. You would think there was a gap for you to slide the seed into but the game gives the seed a wider actual game space than it visually shows. I was invisibly chonky! It didn’t happen often but when you’ve planned out a way to complete the level and then find that it doesn’t work because the visuals make your character appear smaller than you are – it make me roll my eyes hard.
The sedate pace, simple mechanics (water the soil, grow the plant, move the blocks, get to the exit) and short nature of each level makes 112th Seed well put together but not top tier. I enjoyed the few hours it took to complete it but have little desire to go back and relive any of it. Fans of retro puzzlers will definitely get more out of the game though and so its a sale or tentative recommendation if any of this micromanagement box pushing sounds like a good time to you.
Simply throwback puzzler that is nicely put together without really doing anything new. One for the retro fans.
Simple, consistent mechanics.
Easy to understand and works well in short bursts.
Your character moves slowly and cumbersomely.
Feels like it plays it too safe for the first half of the game, making you disengage a bit.
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