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Mr. Condyle's Escape
Posted On 7/1/2012
Mr. Condyle's Escape is a good example of the principle that one way to create innovative games is to take mechanics from different game styles and cross them. In this instance, Pierre is creating a platformer -- but one that is turn-based, not based on interface mastery.
A set of tools allow you to plan Mr. Condyle's motion -- moving left or right, waiting, or jumping. Once you have decided on a course of action, you click a "play" button. Mr. Condyle does each action in turn -- and, in turn, cannons fire, platforms move, and so on. In other words, at first you simply try some actions, and watch them play, getting a sense of the timing (cannon 1 fires on turn 2 and every other turn thereafter, for instance). Inevitably, the first time you try to complete a level, you will fail, because you don't understand the timing of events; and it is likely that multiple attempts will be required before success.
In other words, we think of platformers as skill-and-action games, but Mr. Condyle's Escape takes the common tropes of the genre, and turns them on their head, using them to create a puzzle game by the simple expedient of making it turn-based.
The game does have one notable UI flaw; you can clear the action sequence and start anew, but cannot edit it. It's very easy to forget exactly what you were trying to do, and the timing of events; I found myself taking notes on scratch paper. The fact that I did so strongly implies that the correct UI would be to allow editing.