Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Knytt and Knytt Stories

Of Richard Bartles' four types of adventure gamers—explorers, achievers, socializers, and killers—the first type is the most likely to fall for Knytt, a miniaturist platformer where a small monkey searches an idyllic world for the parts to fix his spaceship. Knytt's herowho has pixels for eyes, a squiggle for a tail, and a round, doughy belly—wanders over the clouds and deep into caves, past scrimshaw-delicate villages and fez-wearing beasts shaking their fists at each other. Minimalist music follows the adventure, and the last shot shows a bedroom light switching off.

Developer Nicklas "Nifflas" Nygren released Knytt last December as a free download, and the new Knytt Stories also comes free, with an editor and five new levels. It's just as compelling as the first. A girl named Juni has to stop a machine that's spreading evil across the world, and she picks up a series of new powers and abilities in order to reach the game's simple, elegant ending. The puzzles and jumps are trickier, but they won't trip up the average gamer: The point isn't to beat the game, but to enjoy every new discovery.


Beyond the game: If you like the mood but need a stiffer challenge, try Samorost 2.

Worth playing for: The waterfall animations, the rectangular clouds, and catching a brute picking an apple off a tree.

Frustration sets in when: The obstacles and tight jumps are tricky to pull off with a keyboard. Mashing the jump and arrow keys distracts from the flow of the experience.

Final judgment: A gorgeous storybook that just keeps unfolding.