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 hero—who 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.