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Lemma, Monstrum and The Spatials: 3 alternative games that you really should be playing

With the ever-growing list of games available in the market today it is only becoming harder and harder to find and choose the next title to invest and indulge in. With the countless abundance of titles we are provided there are many that don’t live up to their proud boasts of innovation and creativity.

But there are some that truly exceed expectations and are testaments to the ever evolving state of the gaming world.

So we here at Gearburn want to pay our respect to the following three titles and tell you why they deserve some of your time. Let me assure you, it will most certainly not be time wasted.

Lemma

Lemma is a surreal first person parkour puzzle game that takes you on an adventure through a magical alternative dimension. What at first seemed like another attempt at a Mirror’s Edge clone turned out to be a captivating philosophical journey that explores the nature of our reality. And the most surprising part is that it was created by one dude — developer Evan Todd.

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Lemma puts you in the shoes of Berkley grad student Joan Emerson. A college friend of hers, Mark, has recently made a breakthrough in the field of physics but then soon after mysteriously vanished. This project was called “Lemma”.

Whatever Mark’s breakthrough, it lead to an alternate reality in which Joan becomes trapped and her only escape is navigating the eerie yet stunningly beautiful foreign world. The rest of the story unfolds in a series of sometimes rather cryptic paper notes and text messages exchanged with Mark, who it seems is also trapped in his own creation.

Lemma plays much like Mirror’s Edge, boasting smooth controls and exceedingly challenging obstacles to overcome. The twist that makes this game special is that certain areas of the environment are only revealed once you touch them.

For instance, you doing a wall run a apparently clears space and then suddenly million of small blocks start forming under your feet to literally pave the way forward. This concept will appear in a variety of forms, each one as breathtaking as the last.

For a one man project, Lemma is an amazing feat and one that definitely deserves your time. Hell, even if ten people created this game I would still be extremely impressed. Good on you, Evan Todd.

Monstrum

Monstrum is a marvellously frightening first-person experience created by Scottish developers Team Junk Fish. It continues with the procedural generation trend that has been so rife of late but combines it with the survival horror genre. A procedurally generated survival horror — now that’s awesome.

You start out in a small dark room. There seems to be no door and no way out. You rummage through the contents of the room finding various lighting equipment (a different object every time) such as a torch, a lighter or a glowstick. Finally, you open a locker door and it leads to another room.

Carefully you explore until you find a door leading outside and you realise you’re stuck on a large container ship. It seems totally abandoned, that is until you trigger an alarm and monstrous sounds emanate from all directions along with it.

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Montrum is a truly horrifying experience. Its procedural nature means you will never really know from which direction your death will come. And yes, your death will come swiftly. Many, many times.

To complete the round you’ll first need to find one of the three escape routes (helicopter, life raft or submarine). But before you can jump into one of these vehicles and escape from this hellish place, you’ll need to locate various objects you need to make them work, forcing you to canter through the confines of the nightmarish ship.

Though some areas have working lights, other are left in complete darkness and you’ll need to find a fuse and repair the breaker box to restore the power. But between you and your objective lies a sea of monsters (I love puns) with an apetite for your life force. And these can range in form from bony spider aliens to massive juggernaut demons.

Of course, you will be able to hide but that endeavour regularly proves unfruitful as these monsters can easily sniff you out and drag you from your hiding spot, screaming like a little girl.

Monstrum is extremely challenging and I’ve yet to complete a successful escape. I don’t know if I have the backbone or bladder to give it another go, frankly but if you are looking for a survival horror that never stops giving, this is the game for you.

The Spatials

The Spatials is an eccentric and super addictive combination of a space station simulator and Real Time Strategy RPG created by developers Weird and Why.

It drops you into a futuristic, randomly generated galaxy where you take control of a few “colonists” who build and manage a space station on barren meteoroid planet. The success of you space station depends on the happiness of your visitors and the variety of resources and facilities you can provide them. This is the simulation part of the game.

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Building and running your space station is an extremely challenging and complex endeavour which will require you to micro manage about a billion production procedures to keep your staff and the space stations visitors happy. But to do any of this you will need to acquire a constant stream of varying resources. This is where the combat element of the games comes in.

To gather these resources you’ll need to visit foreign planets infested with space pirates and complete the mission entailed, which usually means destroying the pirate army and its leader before you can purchase the trade route for the sought after goods.

Each planet will have its own unique blend of available resources, so you will have to do some serious exploring (or shopping, if you will) before you have secured everything you need. The more your space station grows, with different facilities and provisions, the more you will have to explore and complete missions to ensure you can keep up with the demands of your ever levelling up captains and visitors.

The in-game world consists of a plethora of star systems within sectors within galaxies; basically an endlessly massive world filled with more and more difficult challenges as you progress through the systems.

The nature of this game is so intricate that it’s hard to explain it in its entirety. All I can say is that for someone who is not necessarily a fan of similar simulation games, The Spatials kept me busy for hours on end.

Author Bio

Wiehahn Diederichs: Columnist
Capetonian freelance writer and photographer. Wiehahn is a lover of stories in all their forms, and has been an avid gamer since he took his first breath. If he is not working or gaming, he either pours his creative energy into his passion for music or plays foosball in some... More