Tag Archives: Winnose

Don’t let Insidia’s dark creatures consume you

insidia gd impressions capture

I really need to start spending more time perusing Adult Swim’s gaming subsite. I mean, previously, they blew me away with Winnose, a surreal puzzle thing blistering with catchy tunes and tricky riddles, and sort of impressed me at the start of Westerado, that Western tale of revenge murder and retro graphics. Plus, if I remember correctly, they are also behind Jazzpunk, a zany adventure game that I do have in my Steam library and hope to play both before the year is over and I have it spoiled for me on the Giant Bomb GOTY podcasts. Either way, they put out strange, unique experiences–“Too Many Cooks”, anyone?–and Insidia, while actually rather plain and straightforward, is still a solid half hour of fun.

What’s Insidia all about? Well, it’s about a traveler, who may or may not be a female automaton, who has to make an emergency landing on a dark, strange planet in order to fix her broken spaceship. Ten repair kits will do the trick. To find them, you’ll need to explore and collect several power-ups, like double jumping and moving faster, which allow you to access new parts of the map. There are also ten hidden areas containing switches to flip, and if you want the best ending, you’ll need to discover them all. Otherwise, the darkness will consume you, which is probably the same fate that fell on those skeleton in cages you are trying not to notice in the background as you move about.

Speaking of moving about, you can use WASD or the arrow keys to move, X to jump, M to bring up your map, and T to safely teleport the traveler back to the spaceship at any time. That last point is great, considering the spaceship is near the middle of the map, making it handy for cutting down on backtracking. I found both moving and jumping with the arrow keeps to be less reliable and switched to a letter key for jumping and had little problems after that. There are save points everywhere, but you don’t actually lose any progress if you die, so they act more like respawn points. You can totally collect a repair kit, jump into some spinning spikes, and restart four screens over with the repair kit still collected. I persevered, and after about twenty minutes or so collected all ten repair kits, as well as flipping the ten hidden switches, which allowed the little orange robot to lift off the planet free from harm.

Insidia obviously looks like a handful of other small, indie platformers of late. Thankfully, I’m a fan of this simplistic, old-school style, but it does try to be its own thing, with a sort of sketchiness to it. Seeing it and the monster designs in motion shows that there is great personality here, and a single haunting song makes up the whole soundtrack, shadowing your jumps with clinks and clanks and techno-esque bloops. It helps build ambiance. If there’s one nitpick–and naturally this is one I’m always going to gripe on when it comes to games–it’s that the text for both the intro/end cutscenes could use some serious editing, as well as the tutorial messages. Saw a number of spelling mistakes, as well as just strange wording, which is a shame as the cutscene art is quite cool.

Anyways, you can play Insidia right over here, so stop reading and make with the clicky clicky.

Winnose, a surreal puzzle game starring half of a moai statue

winnose final thoughts copy

All right. Deep breath. I’m going to do my best to explain Adult Swim’s Winnose without sounding like a complete crazy goof loose on buckets of acid, but it’s going to be a tough crawl. See, the great Winnowing has devastatingly split the world in two, including you, a moai statue, causing your flower to lose some precious petals. Hopefully you can find your missing pieces and get the world back to a more relaxed, unified kind of life, though that might require a little time-traveling. Spoiler: that’s not going to be a problem.

Created by Todd Luke and Calum Bowen, Winnose is undoubtedly a surreal experience. A fever dream come to life, one you just can’t stop bobbing your head to. It’s half a puzzle game and half a chance to show off its fantastic, flighty soundtrack, ranging from a soft, acoustic lick sung to you by a chicken to an eclectic mix of percussion and culminating with a bouncy, hyperactive J-pop track set out in space. Not lying about any of those things, I swear. This game goes places, carrying you on clouds of strange and unique sounds, certainly ones I don’t get to hear too often.

Playing Winnose is actually quite simple in that your control scheme is limited. You can move around in four directions only via the arrow keys…and that’s it. There’s no jump, no attack, no hold X to charge up your sword for a killer swipe, etc. The main gameplay goal is to reach the screen’s exit; enemies move according to specific patterns or special rules, and the moai head just needs to get by them without making contact. It’s pretty easy in the beginning, but the rules eventually stack, and there’s a lot more to consider later on as you enter and exit different portals. Regardless, I never got stuck for too long, and trial and error works well enough for figuring out the exact path you need to take to move on.

There’s a strange theme in Winnose, and I’m not even talking about its psychedelic, shroom-munching lining. No. There are constant references to, obviously, noses. First and foremost, the name of the game. You hear someone sneeze in one of the early songs, two tracks are called “Snot My Problem” and “Calm Before the Sneeze”, and the final boss battle has you…well, it’s again, without spoiling that truly special moment, related to sneezing. I don’t know if I missed something earlier, but I guess I can only take away from all this that the Winnowing was caused by some giant sneeze. Or maybe it all means something more.

But yeah, if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind experience and have an hour or two to kill, I urge you all to play Winnose. It’s free and can be sampled in your browser over at Adult Swim’s game page. I evidently missed out a chance to do a super secret speed run after beating it, so I’ll probably be going back real soon; really, I’ll take any excuse I can get to lose myself in this colorfully bizarre state of an underworld, where the beats never stop, not even after you pull yourself together.

2014 Game Completed Comics, #15 – Winnose

2014 games completed 15 - winnose facebook

Every videogame that I complete in 2014 will now get its very own wee comic here on Grinding Down. It’s about time I fused my art with my unprofessional games journalism. I can’t guarantee that these comics will be funny or even attempt to be funny. Or look the same from one to another. Some might even aim for thoughtfulness. Comics are a versatile form, so expect the unexpected.