Right, right, ‘regular’ updates. Ahem.

So, when I manage to tear myself away from World of Warcraft (lousy stupid addictive MMOs..) I’m wanting to work on trying to play some of the many, many games on my Steam and other accounts that I haven’t even fired up once. So, starting at the top of my library, I decided to play the first thing that caught my eye. I made it as far as the second game, 140

I suspect I acquired 140 through one of the many, many Humble Indie Bundles that I’ve picked up over the years. As each bundle typically has 8 or so games, I usually end up playing one or two and then the rest of the games just end up added to my library and gather digital dust.

140 is a deceptively simple little game. Like many other visually basic games, you have a single button which makes you jump and can move about. Your player sprite is a square that changes into a circle while moving, and a triangle while jumping. To progress through the levels, you need to pick up a number of small circles and return them to larger semi-circles on the floor (the game doesn’t use any terminology or indeed any language at all, so I have no idea if these things have names) which causes the colours to change and then alters the world around you to activate new puzzles.

As you progress, the puzzles become trickier and you’ll start to see blocks of static in various places. Contact with these, even just brushing up against them, brings instant death and sends you back to the last checkpoint. Towards the end you’ll be jumping over pits with blocks of static shifting all around you, I often got to an area and wondered how I’d manage to get past it leading to some nicely satisfying moments when I did.

This all happens to a constantly evolving soundtrack, with various things such as disappearing platforms timed to the beat. New level elements will appear with each colour change, and the movement of these then adds to the music. Somewhere towards the end of the first level it all just clicked for me and I was in the zone, doing everything to the beat.

Each level ends with a boss sequence, and these each have their own unique mechanics unlike the rest of the game. I was a little confused with the first boss at how different it was, but with each the game gives you a light tutorial without breaking the flow of gameplay to do so and they come together rather well.

After finishing all three levels you unlock the ability to play the next three which are basically the original levels in reverse but with a twist: there are no more checkpoints. This means that you need to finish the entire level in one go without dying, which is a rather daunting task considering how many times I died the first time around. While a younger me, with faster reflexes and tons more free time, would likely have taken the challenge and played the levels over and over until I was able to complete them, that’s sadly really not something I have the time for anymore and judging by the percentages on the Steam achievements, I’m far from the only one.

While short in terms of play time (unless you’re aiming to complete all the reverse levels that is, and hats off to you if you are) with a run of the three basic levels clocking in at about an hour, 140 is a fantastic little game. Games as experiences rather than lengthy titles seems to be all the rage these days, and 140 is certainly a memorable experience.