Most of you will probably know of Konjak from his amazing Noitu Love series
. Well, Joakim Sandberg(Konjak) has released a new game into his already stellar roster, the oddly-titled Solar Plexus. It's a puzzle platforming game where you play as Zaya; a space agent who's sent to find out why a certain space colony ceased communications with the home planet. And in Konjak's own words, "And then events occur that don't resemble Metroid at all, seriously." Unfortunately, Solar Plexus is going the way of Ivory Springs
, and is being abandoned by Konjak. Which is a damn shame, because if the unfinished version is any indication, then we would have one fantastic puzzle platformer on our hands.
It isn't all that bad though. Konjak released what he finished up until he abandoned the project, and while it is far from complete, it gives us a peek at what could have been. The first thing you will notice when you boot the game is that the platforming is a bit... slippery. This is of course a side effect of the games unfinished status, but it is still very much playable, and you do get used to the controls. The puzzle aspect of the game will have you manipulating the purple blocks throughout the level. They can be used to create new platforms and open locked doors. There are also specially designed purple blocks, like the bullet block which will replenish your ammunition, and the gravity block which will suspend you in mid-air and allow you to travel closer or farther away from it. W,A,S,D are used as your directional keys, and your mouse is used for the puzzle solving.
As is usual for a Konjak game, the graphics are drop-dead gorgeous
. Instead of making the usual pixel-based artwork for Solar Plexus, most of the graphics were hand drawn himself, which just reiterates my claim that the graphics are beautiful. Unfortunately, the soundtrack doesn't offer much except for 2 level tracks, 1 boss track, and a main theme. Even so, they are well composed and fit the game nicely. I'm hoping Konjak releases these few songs on his website. Sound effects are non-existent or are way to muffled into the background by the background music. This is, of course, because the game in incomplete, but it really makes me long for a finished version.
Konjak stated that he had many different purple blocks in mind for the game, which could have seen the puzzles in Solar Plexus delve further in complexity. He says that he "really hated working on every aspect of it, I'm not sure why. I think it's the chore of building so many levels meticulously, whereas an action game like Noitu Love 2 has much more varied designs that constantly change and keep me motivated"
. I can only imagine how much work must be put into a game like this where every stage needs to have some sort of puzzle in it that hinders your progress. It can surely take a lot out of the creator. Konjak has also said that "I won't be finishing Solar Plexus, at least not in this iteration"
, so hopefully the core gameplay might make it's way into one of his future projects, which he says he's working on quite a few at the moment.
I've come to absolutely love and hate Konjak for his contributions to the indie gaming community. The hate aspect usually comes from his unfinished games. To often has he dangled an abandoned project over our heads and tease us that we will never see it's finished state. Sure, I don't have much right to complain about an indie developer who provides most of his games for free so that we can enjoy them, but it really pains me to see a title with so much potential be scrapped by it's creator. Be sure to play Solar Plexus as well as his previously abandoned game Ivory Springs so you can get a sense of what I'm talking about. You (more than likely) won't be disappointed! Download Solar Plexus
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