For our next part talking more about playability in games, we turn to a hard (no pun intended) topic: how difficulty can be applied.
Nis America/Nippon Ichi made a name for themselves with the mechanic and system heavy Disgaea franchise and have been since trying to find a suitable follow up franchise. Last year in the US we got Labyrinth of Refrain and I finally had a chance to go through it. What we have is their take on the dungeon crawler which hits more than it misses.
Between Two Point Hospital and Little Big Workshop, we seem to be having a mini-revival of the Bullfrog sim-style of games. Trying to balance the light-hearted gameplay with depth has always been a struggle with this kind of design. With Little Big Workshop, the developers have a fantastic foundation, but leave us without much else.
Manifold Garden is the passion project of artist William Chyr who was inspired by MC Esher to create his first game. Seven years later and after a lot of work and struggles, the game is finally out; delivering an impressive game for puzzle fans.