Welcome back. Todays game is Lugagge Retrieval Officer, a puzzle game made for the Gameboy Advance.
The games concept is simple and you are likely to have seen in in a similar incarnation before: Your goal is to get a red suitcase to the luggage caches exit, but the way is blocked by the other cases – and objects can only be moved lengthwise. But the game takes this rather simple idea and totally runs with it. While the first few levels are rather simple, they get tricky really fast – while trying to solve the puzzle you will create constellations that prevent your assumed solution to fulfill, and often enough it is the target object itself that is in your way. After the early rise in difficulty it keeps steady (with some spikes) midgame and gets somewhat brain melting towards the end of the campaign, allowing the game to carry its rather big scope over the whole 50 levels (as I just saw on their github-Page, the puzzles are sourced from a mathematics-website – no wonder they are that wicked). For those who don’t have enough after this there are another 50 bonus „Arcade“ levels with a reduced amount of moves available.
The overall production quality is rather high – the game has simple, but solid graphics (including a color-blind-friendly alternative mode) and features a thematically fitting Muzak-Style soundtrack. Over the course of the game, a small story that could be interpreted as affirmative at the first glance, but that I found – thanks to its sly wittiness and understated humor – to be rather charming, is told. All in all, the game plays and feels very complete and furbished – much more so than any other console homebrew game that I can remember, and it incited me to burn much more time than I would want to admit.
On the games Itch-Page a browser-emulator is embedded, but I do recommend to use a local GBA emulator to be able to save your progress, as it is unlikely that one beats the game in a single session. This also opens the option to use a gamepad – and playing this in a armchair is quite cozy. I couldn’t test it, but apparently the game runs on the original hardware as well.
The game is Open Source, most graphical assets are under free licenses – and while I didn’t find it clearly stated, I suppose the game is – like the underlying Butano-Engine – zlib-licensed, which would make it free/libre software. The developer, Jono Shields, did some other GBA and PC titles that are available on Itch and certainly worth to be checked out.
You always learn something from games like these, mainly how to create a supercomfortable UX — which along with the cosy lounge music is what makes this game so nice to play.
Glad to see the author took some time to make the game accessible to colourblind people, small modifications mean a lot, gaming is for everyone!
I agree that the interface (and general level of polishment) helps a lot, but I think it is also the central game play loop that just works very well.
Red/Green color blindness is very common – sat together with 3 friends a few weeks ago, and we noticed by chance that 3 of us have it; only the fourth person in the room had the „normal“ vision. While I admit this to be a freaky exception, around 8% of all adult males are affected. For some (video and board) games it is a total killer; I noticed it prominently at Super Mario Party (although only some minigames require you to differ red/green) and Hyperborea (that I basically can’t play since distinguishing tricky colors is a essential part of the game).