Indie games recently seem to have been released a dime a dozen. While most of these are usually not worth the dollar that they cost, there are a few that deserve to be put on a pedestal. Rarely do indie games actually deserve a double take, but this happens to be the case for Null City Software’s recent release simply entitled ‘Breeze’.
Breeze is a simple game in concept. Guide a flower through a maze and/or set of obstacles to a goal by blowing it with a fan. However, the execution is not that simple. As the levels progress, the challenges become more diabolical. With the addition of air vents and moving spikes, the difficulty changes with each new added challenge. In addition to these hazards, gravity is also at work as players will constantly need to make sure to blow underneath the flower so that it does not hit the ground and become destroyed. Later as the levels progress, a new challenge is added to collect orbs to open the goal for level completion. This can be difficult in later levels as players only have one shot to pick up all the orbs at once.
The controls are mechanically intuitive which is also rare to see in indie titles. One button makes the fan blow and the left stick moves the fan around the flower 360 degrees making the controls simplistic in nature. Also the left stick can pull the fan farther back from the flower so that the force applied by the air can vary. This can come in handy for making minute adjustment as the flower is moving.
As for the gameplay itself, Breeze excels as one of the easiest games to pick up and play that I’ve seen recently. However, it takes true skill and patience to progress through the levels as players navigate tight spaces, wind tunnels, and whatever else will be thrown in the way of the flower. One of the funny things about the game is also losing. What I mean by this is that each time the flower is destroyed, a message comes up stating that ‘You Lost’ or something of the like, only in a clever fashion. My favorite of these is the ‘Reverse Win!’ caption that comes up at the retry screen. The other aspect of gameplay that was refreshing to see was the accuracy of collision detection. While most games, and even retail games for that matter, don’t always have the best collision detection, Null City Software took a step up and committed to quality for their title.
As for visuals of Breeze, the only things that can be said are good. The game does everything right. The edges of all the objects are crisp, the wind is actually visible to help show air flow, the flower is intricate in its design, and overall level structure is well done consistently. Musically, the soundtrack fits every level perfectly. After initially listening, I was actually taken back to my time playing ‘A Kingdom for Kelflings’. The smooth acoustic guitar riffs accompanied by other instruments make the soundtrack memorable and after playing for a bit, found myself humming the main theme.
Now with everything great about the game, there is one thing that I do not like. There is no way that I have found to see the entire play field at any given time. This would be an extremely helpful feature to help players plan ahead and know where the goal is located.
Overall, Breeze is quite possibly one of the best indie games that have been released on Xbox. With great audio and visuals, easy to pick up and play, and 60 levels, there is no reason that Breeze should not be added to any game library. And while the price is a little higher than that of most indie games, that shouldn’t hold back players from spending 240 :MSPoints: on a title that will entertain anyone for quite some time.
More information on Breeze can be found on the Xbox Marketplace.