This game is pure gold. Probably it's the best puzzle game EVER made for ZZT, not to mention it's even quite nonlinear, since you can choose to solve the puzzles in every order you want to. A must for every ZZTer.
Back in the days when I was Blacken, I beta'd this for Crank. I wasn't cerebral enough for this game and still ain't, but it shore is fun watchin' all those purty squares...
It isn't every day that you find an original puzzle game. Oh, a Puyo Puyo rip here, a Tertris remake here, or a Columns sequel here. When I read the name "Little Square Things", I though this would be one of the above. What a shock I was in for!
No, Little Square Things is a crazy game where you control little square things. Like in boulder-xod, (if I recall) you guide boulder-like objects onto fakes. Unlike boulder-xod, there are many types of boulders, some which aggravate me to no end. Which is the real killer of puzzle games: difficulty.
But, the author side-stepped difficulty and cussed at it. How so? The game operates on a pyramid. After completing a stage, you can take two paths (which boosts replay tremendously), leading to a rather lengthy game.
The gods (god?) of ZZT have brought forth Little Square Things, and I have to say it's probably the best puzzle game I've played in terms of gameplay. Though I think it gets a bit tough around the 4-area or so. It took me hours to figure out each level I went through, playing Tseng was too easy but craNK was quite a lot harder. Awesome concept, I CAN'T WAIT FOR A SEQUEL.
CraNKGod is either the reincarnated spirit of Henry Dudeney or some kind of puzzle savant. How else can you explain Little Square Things?
This puzzle game is at least as cleverly designed as most of the commercially released ones I've played, and better than most of them. The levels are varied and continually surprising, ranging from frantic action sequences to subtle planning exercises.
But Crank isn't satisfied with offering just a few levels of quality gameplay. Using a branching-path system that allows the player to give the game who-knows-how-many different playthroughs, Crank makes absolutely certain that there's always something new to see here. And, of course, there are the bonus boss levels...
And it's bug-free, as far as I can tell. No bugs. Did I mention that I didn't run into any bugs?
If you've ever tried to program a game of this scope, you know how miraculous that is. Solid proof of the time Crank put into making this the best game it could possibly be.
So, are there any flaws here? Well, a few levels have rather unrealistic expectations of the player's reflexes, but, thanks to the branching level system, those can be avoided. And the boss races are insanely, horribly difficult, but then, you'd expect them to be, wouldn't you? The plotline, well, is sketchy, but there's more than enough there for a puzzle game, definitely. Nope. No real problems here. Maybe one or two poorly conceived levels, but that's about it.