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Alex Is A 4D Puzzle Game Depicted In 2D

Indie Games Indie Statik Alex

I seem to be stuck at a crossroads, as in the level is called Crossroad, and I’m stuck in a dimension incompatible with the kind of spatiality my brain can even fathom. Not to mention I’m trapped in this measly two-dimensional form, which is kind of a bummer when you’re trying to traverse a hypercube. Alex is a game by Holger Borum, a man with a name as magnificent as his games are brain-melting. And while Alex itself may be an ordinary name, it certainly isn’t an ordinary game.

You may remember Duoball, another game of his that hates you. Unlike Duoball, Alex is a puzzle game that lets you play at your own pace, meaning it hates you a little less. Think sliding block puzzle in four dimensions. You can take all the time you need to stare at the thing, and there will be no consequences, but staring at it doesn’t help as much as experimenting until the game’s logic makes sense.

There is a logic to Alex that isn’t very hard to figure out, despite the idea of a 4D game sounding intimidating. This isn’t Miegakure; visually, we only have to deal with two dimensions.

Indie Games Indie Statik Alex

The game’s layout is that of a square, made up of nine other squares, though the space as a whole has strange properties. You can move around on each sub-square, in the middle, the corners or against the edges, making for nine possible positions inside. To move to another sub-square, you have to move through the fourth dimension. Depending on which direction you go and where you’re currently positioned in your sub-square, you’ll move into the same position on another. It might sound complicated, but it’s really not, and the starting levels (like the one above) give you a good idea of how this works.

The level above is a landscape without obstructions, though. As the game goes on, you’re introduced to spaces that are impossible to traverse, represented by a dual version of yourself that you have to coordinate your movements with. If it’s impossible to make a move with one version, but seemingly possible for the other, you still can’t do it. This is where the fun starts.

Indie Games Indie Statik Alex

Eventually, you’re able to use the spacebar to swap positions with your other self, given the move is possible. This is key to solving certain puzzles, which obviously just get harder as the game goes on.

I’m still stuck at Crossroad. There seems to be a decent amount of levels in the game, with a few that you can solve easily once you get the idea, and others that need extra brainpower even the second time around. Some I solved through sheer trial-and-error. See how far you can get! You can play Alex at Game Jolt.

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