Four Sided Fantasy
The gorgeous Four Sided Fantasy is a 2D-puzzle-platformer that takes inspiration from Ibb and Obb. Developed by Ludo Land and published by Serenity Forge, Four Sided Fantasy released August 30, 2016. You can find it on Playstation 4 and Steam for $8.99 on sale, regular price $9.99. With PS+ it drops to $7.99. (I could not confirm a release date for Xbox One at the time of this writing.)
Remember in Pac Man how running past the edge of the screen would teleport you to the opposite side? Four Sided Fantasy capitalizes on this mechanic. You are presented with puzzles that are built almost exclusively around “screen wrapping.” By holding a button, the world “freezes” in a way similar to pausing a VHS (a theme that carries through the whole game). This lets you traverse from one side of the screen to appear at the other side. This isn’t just limited to left and right, however: expect puzzles that require you to jump down a hole to land safely at the top of the screen as well as puzzles that integrate foreground and background. Got it? Cool, because now the game is going to mix all these concepts together. It gets tricky in a hurry. You’ve got to have a good sense of perspective and the ingenuity to twist it to your will if you intend to complete this game, let alone complete the trophy list.
There’s also a warm, friendly art style. The world is richly colored with vibrant green trees, warm brown mountains of various shades, and the distinct fading from foreground to background. As you make progress, the seasons change, and with it, the landscape also changes. Summer experiences storms and evenings with sparks like fireflies. Autumnal trees show radiant color and winter showcases falling snow and clear night skies. This is all complemented beautifully by a subtle, soothing soundtrack and appropriately unusual sound effects.
I did come across a few minor ways to break the geometry of the game. I fell through a wall until the game’s safety net reloaded me back to where I had started. You frequently must fall through walls to solve puzzles, however, so it’s obvious that the developer planned for these incidences. I also had a single instance of the game not progressing itself appropriately so I couldn’t continue. A future patch could easily fix these very minor issues. Until then, restarting the chapter fixes the problem, and they’re thankfully bite-sized chapters instead of immense over-arching ones, so it doesn’t feel like a massive setback.
Overall, Four Sided Fantasy is a true mind breaker. Puzzles are brilliantly put together, and the scenery adds charm and charisma to this little indie title. I cannot emphasize enough how complex this game’s laws allow puzzles to be without ever feeling like they’re insurmountable. At about 2-3 hours long, I would consider it well worth the price of admission for fans of puzzlers.
Guest Writer: Rae Svatora
Rae is an active Playstation gamer, cat fancier, and book devourer. That’s not to say she actually eats books with fava beans and a fine chianti, because that would be weird. Horses are categorically cool, summer is the best, and if neither one is available, hot chocolate with a good board game is acceptable. She aspires to learn the name of the wind, and someday publish her own books.