The Old Tree (2012)
Developer: Red Dwarf Games
The Old Tree is a short free-to-play cinematic puzzle game about a newborn alien baby. Witness this microscopic entity’s first moments of life and help it emerge from its underground lair and ascend towards an unknown destination.
A free one on Steam, and one of the shortest I’ve played. Despite the quick walk through, The Old Tree still manages to be mesmeric in terms of the look / art style, which lays emphasis on the microscopic view you’re in (ie how vast and big the world looks through this lens) and of course, its unusual point-and-click mechanics, simultaneously providing more depth to the environment and thus let you explore and interact with it a bit more.
As a result, finding new and innovative ways for players to interact with components within the space is something I would take from this for my 2D platformer. In this game, you don’t control the alien to wherever its destination is, instead you help it find its way there; this is done by pressing buttons on the screen, removing objects to clear a path for the character and others alike.
In order to live up to the fact that it is a puzzle game, The Old Tree stays ambiguous as to what the players are meant to click to further progress into the game. Due to the non-existent time constraints, this got me stuck a few times. Being stuck is, however, not as tedious as it sounds – the art work and fitting background music are to blame for that.