Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep70: Can Your Pet & Blendimals

Two animal-themed games this episode!

Can Your Pet? is a digital pet simulator (kind of like those old Tamagotchis) with a bit of a surprise. It's actually more of a joke than a game, but I have to give the developer credit for presentation and planning. Having the customization options along with the hunger/hygiene bars reinforce the personal investment you can put into this little pet... which gives the "punchline" of the joke even more impact.

Blendimals allows you combine several animals together to solve puzzles. Each animal has a unique ability (such as tunneling, jumping, or smashing obstacles), and choosing the right combination at the right time is vital. As the puzzles get trickier, you have to think ahead about what abilities are going to be necessary to complete the level, as you're given a limited number of each type of animal. Some animals have abilities that are completely worthless for the level, but can be used as "fillers" while completing parts of the overall puzzle.

While this game has a couple of platforming elements (such as jumping over pits or dodging spikes), I wouldn't call it a puzzle platformer due to the lack of control you have over the animals. Once you blend your animals, they drop onto the screen and walk in one direction until they bump into something and turn around, or walk into something deadly. This reminds me quite a lot of the classic Lemmings, though here you can at least use an animal ability or make them stand still to avoid hazards.

I found the overall mechanic and theme of Blendimals very enjoyable, but the game could use more development and polish. For example, the third level seemed more difficult than levels 4-5, even though the latter levels introduced new hazards. Few (if any) of the puzzles offered multiple ways to solve the levels, which would've been interesting to see. Additionally, I once got stuck digging with the mole to where the animal just wouldn't move, forcing me to restart the level due to a glitch.

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