If you thought Deadpool was bad for fourth-wall breaking moments, like attacking people with the Special bar in Marvel vs Capcom, then you ain’t seen nothing yet. Four Sided Fantasy is a puzzling side-scroller that makes the most of the screen wrap function, a mechanic that had been happily behaving itself. Until now.
A successful Kickstarter, the game looks like a meat and potatoes left-to-right platformer until you discover you can lock the screen in place and cross from one side to the other and from top to bottom. In terms of puzzling this means access to previously out of reach areas, and so requires plenty of outside-the-box thinking.
“One of my favourite aspects of game development is not knowing what you’re going to find until you actually start creating the game. Using screen wrap in the way that we are in Four Sided Fantasy is one of those cases,” explains designer and Ludo Land founder Logan Fieth. “A large part of developing puzzles for the game is communicating those discoveries I had during development. It’s super fun to see players react in the way that they do, because screen wrap is something a lot of players are familiar with, but in this context it’s something new.”
While things start simple, with easy leaps and jumps through the screen to progress, the difficulty quickly ramps up as you have to steer your character (a businessman trying to escape his humdrum office life) through ever more complex environments. Whether you are tilting the world, leaping between split screens, or locking the screen and jumping through chasms, there are plenty of brain gymnastics required. “Challenge is definitely a big part of it. The game has to teach players quite a few new concepts, and to teach something effectively, the player has to be challenged or else it doesn’t stick,” Fieth says.
The brightly coloured visual style is instantly striking, but doesn’t detract from the surprisingly complex game at hand. “I knew from the start that I wanted something that mixed a playful tone with a serious one, like Thomas Was Alone or Superbrothers: Sword And Sworcery,” says Fieth.
“I knew TWA was too minimalist an art style for us, though, and I didn’t want to go for something pixely, so we decided on a style inspired by Justin Mezzell’s work.” Initially Kickstarted for release on PC, Four Sided Fantasy is going to be bending minds across last- and current-gen platforms from early next year.