Indie Game Spotlight: p0nd

Indie Game Spotlight is a weekly feature where I highlight an independent game that deserves some attention. Given the difficulty these developers have in being heard, every little bit helps. Some will be free, some will cost money, but all are deserving of some attention.

P0nd is a one-button, flash game by PeanutGallery that came out around a year and ahlf ago, I believe. It’s not a long game and won’t take 5 minutes to finish. Go give it a try.

The style of p0nd is what I can only manage to call pixilated impressionism. We press the button only to make our character inhale and exhale once he consumed all of the colored orbs that appear around him. The more you succeed on each screen to more wild life beings to appear. Birds fly off in the background, a rabbit pops out of the grass and squirrels run up and down tree trunks. You are encouraged to breath in real life along with this slow pace and your avatar goes on his walk.

The art style is what I could only describe as pixilated impressionism. It is what I call it. Impressionism landscapes using computer pixels instead of paint droplets. The music is a gentle piano tune meant for ambiance more than melody and the sound effects of the breathing in and out of the avatar is a bit over the top for relaxing breathing, but it works.

This is not a great game, but it is an interesting game that relies as much on synthesis of discordant ideas and much as anything else. I wont say more, but there is a twist near the end. It’s not long, a handful of minutes at most and it doesn’t outlast it’s welcome to show off it’s ideas.

If you find yourself confused, read further thoughts here. (Spoiler abound.)

Published by

Eric Swain

A graduate of Boston University, majoring in English and Creative Writing and has spent significant time studying story structure and theory in the mediums of books, film and video games. His articles offer unique perspective on deep game development and design through his eclectic prose. you can find his critical analysis on www.thegamecritique.com.

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