The front page of GameJolt has been hitting hard the past few weeks, this time featuring the sublime (sorry) Subline. Jord Farrell’s (@Mr_Tedders) newest puzzler lets you figure out the mechanics on your own, and if you stop reading now and go try it, it’ll be that much sweeter. At its core, Subline asks “What if Snake were more of a puzzle game?”
You control an always moving line, leaving a trail behind you at all times. Your goal, at first, is just to make it to a shiny object at the other side of the screen without dying. I had originally assumed that hitting my own line would kill me, but there’s a deeper set of rules than that. Other lines start appearing onscreen, and touching them lets you teleport. In the beginning, I couldn’t possibly comprehend what the game was trying to teach me. Then it all clicks.
Touching any line will teleport you to two lines ahead of your current position. This forces you to use your tail in clever ways to shoot yourself into whichever part of the screen you need to be in. More puzzles and strategies come into play, but even at its most basic, Subline is very engaging. You’re always moving, and always quickly searching for your next safe area to jump to.
The sound design is what bumps Subline from good to great. A steady stream of soothing music (written by Mark Sparling) is always playing, and movements you make will play a new, soft note on top of the track. The thoughtful design of combining sound and gameplay constantly reminded me of Sound Shapes, Fez, and Journey, and kept me smiling through the whole game. It’s a simple joy in the same vein of The Floor is Jelly, and you should go see it for yourself.