Hidden Folks

Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes

Cooperative games are the best sorts of games, especially if you’re a naturally competitive person. Instead of pitting people against each other, these games encourage players to work together for a common goal, and no sensitive feelings are hurt at the end. Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes is cooperative, addicting, and a game unlike any other I’ve played. The gist of it is a bomb-diffusion scenario. Imagine that, for some reason, you’re alone in a room with a bomb that’s about to go off in two minutes. You don’t know how to diffuse it, but in a different location, several people have the manual containing the instructions to diffuse it. You’re on the phone with them; they can see the manual but not what the bomb looks like; you can see exactly what the bomb looks like, but not what any of the wires or buttons mean. Working together, you do your best to describe what you’re seeing, while the others do their best to describe the steps you need to take to diffuse it. The setup forces everyone to talk it out, while the literally ticking time bomb keeps each round so tense you can actually feel your heart rate go up. At least one computer is necessary for the person with the bomb; it’s nice for the other players to have computers to view the manual, but they can also bring up the page on their phones and play the game just fine. When my group played, the person with the bomb ensconced herself and her computer under a blanket tent, the better to immerse into the situation. There’s also a VR version, where you can virtually pick up the bomb and manually push the buttons and cut the wires, but I haven’t played that. I’m sure it’s awesome. [Caity PenzeyMoog]

Advertisement

Hidden Folks

Websites and app stores the internet over are drowning in “hidden object games,” but you’d be hard-pressed to find one that has anything close to the personality and artistic gusto of Hidden Folks. Designed by Adriaan De Jongh (creator of the brilliant iOS oddities Bounden and Fingle) and using the art of Sylvain Tegroeg, it’s a charming, dense spin on this otherwise workmanlike style of game. It has you searching for cute little people, creatures, and objects within Tegroeg’s bustling line-art worlds. Often to find them, you’ll have to poke at the environment—brushing away leaves or opening up tent flaps, for example—and all those interactions are accompanied by funny sound effects straight from the mouths of the game’s creators. As you get further along, the drawings become shockingly tremendous as you work your way up from campsites to cities. You really have to work to scour them for your targets, but there’s so much detail and life packed in that it never ceases to feel anything other than delightful. The game is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux via Steam for $8 and on iOS for $4. [Matt Gerardi]

Advertisement

1-2-Switch

The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild is an undeniable masterpiece, but anyone hoping to justify their Nintendo Switch purchase with a game that’s not quite so solitary should check out a bizarre little thing called 1-2-Switch. Although Nintendo isn’t giving it away for free, 1-2-Switch is basically the new console’s version of the brilliant Wii Sports, at least in the way that it introduces what the Switch can do with a series of easy-to-grasp minigames. Unlike Wii Sports, though, 1-2-Switch has goofier stuff about milking cows, having invisible sword fights, or rocking your console like a baby until it falls asleep. Also, it only ever uses the TV (or the Switch screen itself) to give instructions for the games or to keep track of the score in a competitive multiplayer round. Instead, the game wants you to stare into your opponents’ eyes and recognize the fact that both of you are pretending to milk a cow. It’s extremely weird, and it probably won’t have the lasting appeal of Wii Sports, but only Nintendo could make something this stupid and this fun. [Sam Barsanti]

Advertisement