PC, Mac, Linux, free

It must be lovely to have a clever idea. sourencho had a clever idea, and turned it into a very clever game. Mimic, a PICO8 puzzle game in which your character’s movements cause it to turn into different animals.

Viewed from the top down, this lo-fi pixel puzzler has you move a small, red blob around a level’s tiles, trying to reach a gold coin. However, to do so, you’re going to need to take on the form of various other animals that appear in the level in order to cross the varying terrains.

Think Ultima movement, but if you move your blob twice through an inverted L, it’ll turn into a goat, and thus be able to cross the rocks. You can see this move because there will be a goat in the level doing it. Or left and right across the same four tiles and you’re a fish. Up and down to be a butterfly. S-shape to be a bird. In order to be able to move once you’ve changed form, you need to finish the manoeuvre adjacent to the correct tile type. Otherwise your beast is stranded, and you need to start the level over.

So of course it quickly becomes about working out how to find space on each tile type to perform the correct move. This might involve shoving smaller rocks, trees, or – er – bits of sky into a different place. Ooh, but what might then happen if you move a rock that a creature is currently using to perform its movement pattern? And if you can do that, then what on Earth would it do to manipulate two different animals into having the same movement pattern…

There are just 11 levels to Mimic, which the developer rather modestly says will take 20 minutes to finish. Well, yes, if you already know the solutions perhaps. In reality, this’ll last you a fair bit longer the first time through. Especially level 11.

There’s definitely a sense that it stops just as it hits its stride. Pursued further, you can see this becoming a Baba Is You, and I would be just delighted to see that happen. However, given that this can be had completely free, it’s hard to object to just get a bite-size piece of a clever idea. You can play it directly from its Itch page, or download it from there too. I highly recommend it.

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