Wyv and Keep: The Temple of the Lost Idol by brilliantly named and rather brilliant indie dev team a jolly corpse has gotten itself a very public demo, that you, oh cuddliest of readers, can download by following this lovely link. As I have already been enjoying the preview build of this demo for the last few days, you can rest assured it will be worth both your precious time and them brutalized brain cells.
Wyv and Keep, you see, is essentially a wonderful re-imagining of ur-puzzler Sokoban; a game I had passionately loved and hated in equal measures, and used to play on a black-and-white Atari ST. A game that had me soul-crushingly pushing crates and solving spatial puzzles while my youth was wasting away. A game that had me sit at bars and mentally rearrange people in order to solve some sort of imagined puzzle. A perfectly designed and ridiculously addictive game.
Dare I say, a game that is about to actually get better. Wyv and Keep retains the central mechanic of pushing crates, but bravely adds a variety of arcade/platform elements achieving a new balance and an excellent pace. What's more the bird's eye perspective of Sokoban has been traded for a lush side-on view that comes complete with excellent pixel art graphics and is supported by quality audio and great production values. Then again, what actually makes Wyv and Keep so much more than a glorious and most inspired remake is the addition of two player co-op.
Using the arrow and WASD keys two friends (two lovers, two inmates, two game designers, two nuns even) can each guide a character through the game's devious levels and cooperate in order to solve puzzles, in what proves to be an immensely enjoyable way to approach truly difficult brainteasers. Lacking friends one can of course miserably switch between characters and play through the thing all alone. It will -judging by the preview edition- still be fun, but definitely not as fun as accusing others for each and every in-game death.
The complete version of Wyv and Keep will soon be available for PC and possibly for some sort of gaming-enabled phone (!) or console. You can even pre-order the PC version today and hope it turns out as good as the eight levels I tried suggest. And now for my tip towards the devs: please, do slightly readjust the difficulty curve of the demo; it's rather brutal.
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