Published on November 5th, 2012 |
by Joe Russell
The Top 5 Hangover Games
Don’t get me wrong. I love violent, intense and insane video games as much as the next man. However, after a night of heavy drinking, the prospect of exploding several faces a minute doesn’t seem quite so appealing. As a result, I’ve concocted a list of hangover-friendly games to while away the hours before you’re able to function again. So now, sit back, relax and read on for five of the best games to play when your mind is on the mend.
If even this is too taxing, maybe turn the brightness down a little
First – or last, depending on your outlook – on the list is the enchantingly calming Proteus. Coming from the mind of Ed Key, with music by David Kanaga, Proteus is the very essence of an exploration game. There’s no set up, no narration, no assassination of the President. Instead, what you get is a first-person ramble through procedurally generated islands that come alive through an ever-shifting musical soundscape.
Every aspect to the island has its own musical layer that mixes and merges with one another to create the sense of a sonic ecosystem. Then the weather might change, and change the musical balance just slightly, the rain falling all around as you amiably chase a frog through a forest.
At first, that’s all there is to it. You’ll wander around at a comfortable pace, exploring the rolling hills and occasional mountain. Then you’ll find something new. A tower on the crest of a hill, or a circle of mysterious standing stones. You’ll investigate it, limited to mere movement by the games mechanics, and then you’ll unlock a tiny bit more of the island’s secrets. It will show just a little more of what you can do, and you’ll feel privileged to have discovered it.
Proteus is available as a Beta/Preorder now, on PC and Mac.
Alternatively, try the similar Mirrors Edge and marvel as nausea sets in before the start menu loads
It’s all very well giving you a calming soundscape to explore at your leisure, but sometimes you just need to slump back in your chair and take it back to basics. Well, you can’t get much more basic that the single-button game FOTONICA.
To people that played the also-excellent free web game Canabalt, FOTONICA’s premise might sound a bit familiar. You’re tasked with running ever forwards, using a single button to jump gaps and avoid obstacles. FOTONICA, however, takes that premise and plants it into the first person perspective, and stripping away any semblance of reality in order to leave you with an abstract world of free-floating wire-frame platforms.
Also unlike Canabalt, the game has a number of pre-designed levels, which gives the more enterprising player the chance to practise and improve scores or techniques. For the gamer with a migraine, however, there’s still an endless mode that clears your mind away with its constantly changing surreal visuals.
You can purchase FOTONICA now for PC and Mac.
Finally, in-game achievements that matter
It might not be a fantastic idea to play a game that visualises the inside of your head when you’re feeling a bit queasy but Brainpipe’s simple mouse-controlled exploration of your thinking tubes makes for an engaging trip through a truly unique setting.
Looking through a wireframe representation of an eye, you’re sent speeding off down a twisting tunnel of obstacles and collectables. To stop things becoming too over-stimulating, a simple mouse click immediately slows down the eye’s progress down the brain pipe, leaving you free to enjoy the slow pulsating glow of the tube itself.
Reminiscent of being inside a lava lamp, Brainpipe gives the player much the same relaxation that one might glean from a lengthy session of idly watching the unending travels of the wax inside the lamps. Accompanied by a minimal soundtrack, it’s ideal to just let your brain settle down.
Brainpipe is available on PC and iOS.
Sure, you could just play Tetris, but Chime’s pastel colours are a wounded player’s best friend
For those of you with a love of Tetris, Chime provides the perfect distraction for a lazy afternoon. Marrying basic block puzzles with mutli-layered music tracks by artists such as Phillip Glass, Moby and Fred Deakin (of Lemon Jelly), Chime is the most relaxing puzzle game in existence.
Given a number of Tetris-like blocks, you’re asked to try to combine the shapes into cuboids in order to eventually fill the entire given space. The twist is that with each successful cuboid you create, the background track reacts and layers over itself, creating an on-the-fly mix of ambient electronica.
Chime only has a fairly low number of tracks available – though each platform has different artists included – but the way it handles music means that the player can select an endless mode, and just keep playing until everything stops hurting.
Chime is available on XBLA, PSN and Steam.
5. Anno 1404
By royal decree: all taverns are to be razed to the ground
The most traditional game on the list, Anno 1404 (also known as Dawn of Discovery in the US) nevertheless provides an experience outside the realm of the usual Real Time Strategy. By ratcheting down the difficulty and slapping on an endless Continuous Game, an afternoon can disappear in an instant of soothing city building.
The normal campaign of an Anno 1404 game is hardly the most stressful experience you can have in a RTS game (Starcraft 2, I’m looking at you), but by giving yourself a head start and lowering the AI opponents to allies, you can focus on making a functioning settlement free of the hassle of war or adversaries, and it still makes for a surprisingly compelling game.
Of course, being a reasonably big commercial game, Anno 1404 is by far the most expensive game on this list. However, it’s also the most feature packed, and dozens of hours can pass without even nearing the entirety of what’s possible to build and manage. The slow pace and cheerful aesthetic are a rare sight in today’s mainstream releases.
Anno 1404 is available on the PC now.