Shapeway – PC

You know what I love? Level editors. We spend so much time subconsciously, or explicitly, critiquing the game spaces we navigate; this bottleneck meant I could deal with more enemies, this jump was long and I had to time it well. Remember Adventure Construction Set? I spent hours making spy mysteries for my dad. He actually played them, too. The only thing about ACS was, there was a massive time investment involved if you wanted to make something good.

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By contrast, The Incredible Machine challenged you to design wacky solutions to problems like, “put the ball into the box,” and test them immediately. If your weird contraption accidentally blew the ball off stage, you would see the problem and then address it. But, TIM’s gameplay was entirely creation. Once you pressed play, you had to watch passively as cats and toasters did whatever it is cats and toasters do.

Shapeway is the platformer you solve by first organising the last several blocks of your tiny level into place, then seeing if your design works by jumping on it. If you place a block that will shatter, you may not be able to wait on it. You may need to do so to avoid the circular saw, attached to the block you placed next. Whether or not you are good at platformers will also infl uence how many blocks you place, with less providing unlocks and trophies.

Possible routes are endlessly flexible, though you may start to get a feel for optimal placements. If I have one criticism, it’s that there isn’t a penalty for failure as you test your levels, Finding a solution on your fi rst try seems important, somehow. But, as Technical Director, Peter Mandile, tells us, “To me, the most important thing about Shapeway is learning through trial and error,” and it is certainly this balance of build and play that sets the game apart among PAX 2015’s many platformers.

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