Roll7, best known for the OlliOlli games, Laser League, and Not A Hero, just released a free puzzle game called RunMe.
RunMe started out as a personal project for designer John Ribbins, but Roll7 did try pitching it to publishers in 2018. It had some bites, but the game never really went anywhere, and the studio's since moved onto other things. So, as Ribbins put it, "we thought it would be cool to just put it out and let people see where we got to."
You can download RunMe over on Itch. It's a tiny download, and while it is PC-only, all you need to play it is a mouse with a scroll wheel. Just download it, extract it using a program like WinRar or 7Zip, and run the application file.
Roll7 describes RunMe as "an esoteric turn-based puzzle game with glitch graphics, weird sounds, and a bunch of strangeness. It's deliberately a bit opaque, you'll need to figure things out for yourself."
You play as a little node on a grid, and your goal is to collect all the other nodes in each level. There are also little enemies in each level - let's call them bugs - that chase you, and if you end your turn adjacent to a bug, you take damage. Each time you move, the bugs move, so you have to outmaneuver them as you make your way toward nodes. You can move vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, and you can also defend against bugs by swapping places with them or knocking them back - select how to attack them using your scroll wheel. Clearing levels gets you money, and you'll eventually reach checkpoints where you can spend that money on other abilities like a short-range teleport.
It's a neat little puzzle game, and more than anything, I'm surprised by how unsettling it is. There's something about the red-on-black aesthetic that reminds me of Overwhelm, and the glitchy audio feels like the machine jump-scares in Dead Space were turned into a whole soundscape. It's definitely worth a play.
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