(Not) Just Another Brick in the Wall

If you find this disturbing, I recommend tilting your head 90° to the right. There there, all is well.

A correctly-oriented screenshot from Against the Wall.

One of the primary strengths of videogames is their ability to make hypothetical worlds come alive. In the case of Against the Wall, an indie game in alpha by Michael Consoli, the world is an infinite vertical wall, made of interlocking bricks. All life—plants, humans… monsters?… well, no monsters that I encountered—cling to the side of this unforgiving plane. Against the Wall is far from finished, but it’s already shaping up to be a prime example of the experimentation, wonder, and fun that are often the hallmarks of the indie scene.

I'm normally the sort of person who likes my games to contain a sense of realistic living: people should have logical jobs, food sources, shelter, etc. But here? Who the hell cares?

A village hangs out over the infinite deep.

The story is still under wraps, but I hope the final story sticks with the current minimalist approach. As it stands, your goal is as simple as climbing to the next visible landmark. This is aided by an annoyingly-shaped wand with the power to cause the bricks of the wall to emerge or retract, allowing you to puzzle your way upwards. As the blocks are different sizes, the route up is not often simple.

Along the way, you’ll encounter deserted towns, curious feats of engineering, and even examples of the types of plant life that thrive on the wall. The current alpha only took me about an hour to explore, with plenty of bumbling about and doing silly things like jumping from the highest point and recording my fall past everything I’d climbed (which you can now view here).

This is still the only screenie I can look at without getting a touch of vertigo.

Looking straight up, it seems much easier than it is.

If you do give it a try (you can play the current alpha for free, or preorder for ten bucks), I’d recommend persevering past the first bit. The early segment with nothing but the white bricks felt a bit tedious, but eventually you’ll reach much more interesting… terrain? In later sections, different colors of blocks possess different properties—best left discovered for yourself—and the process of climbing becomes much more fulfilling and puzzle-like. Also, the quicksave button is your dear friend here, and I’m glad it was implemented in such an early build.

So yes: please do take a look. Maybe something in the water affected me, but for some reason Against the Wall managed to completely grab me for the space of about an hour.

Posted on May 29, 2012, in Indie and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Could it be the shortest Space-biff article yet?

    Not that I’m complaining. =)

  2. All I want is two quips a tweet like description and one last quip to send me on my way. This is how all the internet should read when I’m at work in a zombie state.

    I guess this works too 🙂

  3. Jar Jar is Dead

    Ooo, a youtube channel too eh? I’m excited about that.

    I get the feeling this game might scare the dickens out of me, or possibly make me feel a deep seated sense of dread. I *hate* the idea of climbing a cliff side period. To have to live on one and move upwards would be like bringing my nightmares to life on a screen. Still, the idea and the artwork both draw me in despite the fact. I don’t know, how was the dread factor in the game while you played it?

  4. Lol, true, the quick save option does tend to offset the worst of it (thank you valve for that at the bridge in Half Life 2) it stinks when a game starts you in awkward save/checkpoints or worse – at the beginning, be it of a level or the game itself.

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