Little Hidden Gems

Recommendations by Cryptic Puffin

Sometimes it takes a lot of digging to find a nice, chill game to play when you feel like it, and sometimes you end up uncovering some really good, small games that don't really get the attention they deserve. So, here it is, a small collection of mostly also small games with few ratings and just not enough attention.

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1. Charlie the Chimp
by Garry Francis
Average member rating: (3 ratings)

Cryptic Puffin says:

Well, okay, so maybe the title sounds a little... but rest assured, this is an engaging game for an audience of all ages. This is a very short game written for adventuron, which fortunately allows it to have those lovely pixel graphics and retro font, and you are a chimpanzee in a bind: you've been moved into the gorilla enclosure by mistake. Meet fellow apes, eat bananas, and master the art of disguise all in the space of around ten minutes' gameplay. Fun, pretty easy yet satisfying puzzles, and a pleasant parser that is not consistently rude to you like some older games tended to be.

2. Lady Thalia and the Seraskier Sapphires
by E. Joyce and N. Cormier
Average member rating: (8 ratings)

Cryptic Puffin says:

I don't understand how this only has 8 ratings. I mean, play as a glamorous jewel thief and stage a thrilling heist, all using your own wits and cunning in the art of persuasion and strategy? In a word, awesome. As someone who enjoys a strong conversation mechanic, I found it really fun and well-written as well (it might take a bit longer than other games on this list to finish, but oh well). If you like that kind of mechanic and stylish thievery as a goal, definitely recommended.

3. Save the World in 7 Moves
by chintokkong
Average member rating: (9 ratings)

Cryptic Puffin says:

Again, after playing it I was surprised at how little attention it's received. It's just how it sounds: the world is ending seven moves from now, and you must save it before that happens. Of course, you'll have to replay several times to do so, but that's the fun of this really well-engineered game; the writing and the format really come together to make it a really intriguing and rewarding experience, with just the right tone of humor. Just give it a shot and don't let those aliens get you down.

4. Baking with Lizzie
by Adri
Average member rating: (2 ratings)

Cryptic Puffin says:

Cute and sweet. If you're looking for something like this, as well as short, this game's the way to go. The writing and puzzles are far from revolutionary (though the puzzles aren't so easy as to be boring-- one part actually took some puzzling for me, but was rewarding afterwards), but the cute, warm atmosphere will leave you feeling good and chillaxed for a little while.

5. Spectrum, by Caelyn Sandel (as Colin Sandel) (2011)
Average member rating: (8 ratings)
Cryptic Puffin says:

Synopsis: you're archangel Gabriel, and you need to go back to heaven, except the sceptre that normally helps you with that is kind of... out of batteries? So yeah, go find the colors of the rainbow to recharge it with. I really liked the premise of searching for different colors in the limited environment and was challenged at times (even if some might say one solution is a little, ergh), and it was well-written as well, with a chill romantic aspect to it to boot.

6. Quest for the Serpent's Eye
by Lazygamedesigner82
Average member rating: (1 rating)

Cryptic Puffin says:

I believe I'm still the only rating for this game, which is unfortunate, because it really is a very nice example of retro fun. Just to give you a heads up, I did not actually finish it, but for a good reason-- the servers on the interactive fiction uk website are not very reliable and I had to restart about 20 times which kind of made the game not so fun. So, yes, probably download it if you want to finish it, unless you wanna do the secret knock on that one door way too many times (just... way too many). So, in short, you're an explorer who's trying to find their mentor who's gone missing in the mysterious rainforest, searching for... well, you know what. Retro awesomeness in the form of excellent b&w illustrations that bring out that fuzzy nostalgic feel even if, like me, you have not actually existed long enough to be nostalgic about this.

7. A hypertext night
by chintokkong
Average member rating: (5 ratings)

Cryptic Puffin says:

Aaaa. Horror. Ok, so this doesn't fit what I said before about chill (at all) and is, in fact, terrifying, but it IS short, so there you go. Another example of fine work from the talented chintokkong, and perfect if you're looking to be spooked to the bone (but not in a gory way or anything). You play as a person who is disturbed from their sleep by a strange noise, and then walks around in their dark house to investigate. Masterful suspense buildup, especially for such a short gameplay time, and the imagery is sure to stay with you, though hopefully not in your nightmares.

8. Fingertips: Who's Knockin' On The Wall?
by Melvin Rangasamy
Average member rating: (7 ratings)

Cryptic Puffin says:

Not so much a game, really, as a generator for a fun little logic puzzle in the form of the famous Einstein's puzzle (not by Einstein at all btw), in which you must use the facts you know about your culturally diverse neighbors in order to determine who the heck it is that is knocking on the wall right now. Get a piece of paper and a pencil and put your logic skills to the test! Then, just bask in your fiendish cleverness as long as you like.

9. Social Lycanthropy Disorder
by E. Joyce
Average member rating: (6 ratings)

Cryptic Puffin says:

This is a pretty short game, but with a lot of replay value; the basic premise is, you're a werewolf and you're going to transform in an hour and a half so you need to navigate a party with that in mind. Also, you don't have the best people skills, so that doesn't help either. I had a lot of fun with this game, trying to find all the various achievements and endings, and the discomfort meter worked well as a mechanic: it really made the pc's anxiety palpable, but also made overcoming personal challenges more rewarding. All in all, a really enjoyable game, which actually managed to make lycanthropy relatable. I mean, not that I would know anything about that.

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