The first episode of a short series on games I discovered at WASD 2024.

The Waking Knot

The Waking Knot from Bongle Systems appears to be – bear with me here –  a roguelike where you have a bunch of characters and have to use them to deal with enemies. But, well, you’re tidying them and transmuting pillow creatures into piles of feathers that you can bonk enemies into. Are they really enemies? And then there’s the bubbles of trouble moving around.

It feels like an intricate puzzle/roguelike but, according to the developers, that’s not where the real deal is. Because the possibility space becomes so vast, players can easily fall into a game of analysis paralysis – thus, The Waking Knot forces the player to make quick, tactical decisions. Yes, eventually The Waking Knot turns into speed chess, where your decisions are timed.

This looks like an exciting title and I’ve got an interview with the developers in the forthcoming Thinky Games at WASD 2024 video.

The Waking Knot is still in development and, at this point, looks like a Windows-only release.

Data Garden

Data Garden from Shaman Garage is a one-button game with a simple comic-like style that seems chill and lovely – but it’s handling a serious topic. The “data garden” is all the personal data you generate every day, stored in company coffers.

On the Steam page, Shaman Garage are upfront that it’s around 10-15 minutes long, but it’s got so many lovely touches that I’m going to have to buy it. Plus, you’ll spend half the time figuring out how that one button actually works in each section.

Data Garden is available now for Windows, Mac and Linux.

LOK Digital

I haven’t played Blaž Urban Gracar’s original LOK book – which went viral after being bigged up by Shutup and Sit Down – although Alan Hazelden was quite forward yesterday in suggesting I should get a copy. “It’s not sold out,” he said tapping the itch page on his mobile. Go and have lunch, Alan. I insist.

Anyway, my first experience with LOK was the videogame version, LOK Digital, at WASD. And, look, reader, I’m gonna level with you. This is bloody amazing. It starts out simple: all you need to do is fill in every square on the grid but you can only do this by spelling out special words hidden in the grid. You can’t just make up words, you know, that’s Blaž’s job. Naturally, your first word is “LOK”. But spelling these words will have a side-effect, as if you’ve cast a spell, which you must use to complete the grid.

It’s involving and I can’t wait to see where the digital version goes – the book and videogame will diverge as what was good for the paper version isn’t necessarily right for a videogame and vice versa. Ferran Ruiz, the developer of LOK Digital, was really excited about the stuff buried later in the game.

LOK Digital will be coming to Windows and Mac and a demo is currently available. My Thinky Games WASD video will also feature an interview with Ruiz.

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5 thoughts on “Dabbling At… WASD 2024, 1

  1. LOK digital is fascinating to me. Because the book’s main thing, is how the game doesn’t confirm any rules explicitly, it just kind of guides you into needing to understand the rules in order for the puzzles to function as puzzles. And the fact that that works is super impressive.

    A digital version can’t do that, at all. But I’ve heard good things anyway, and that makes sense, because the actual puzzles were good! I can definitely see there being enough meat on the puzzle system to explore farther than was possible within the book’s concept.

  2. Yes, talking to Ferran & Alan about the project, parts of LOK lend themselves very well to a videogame adaptation but other parts do not. They’re cognizant of this and sounds like they have a lot more puzzles planned for LOK Digital. It’s not the paper version. They’re also doing stuff in this that wouldn’t make sense on paper.

  3. LOK is a free PDF. If you have a tablet, it works great there. You just draw with your finger.

  4. These all look and sound fascinating! I remember The Waking Knot from a Crashbook I believe? They’ve all gone on the wishlist but I’ll pick up Data Garden and look into the LOK book. Data Garden really does look lovely.

  5. Mr Salty Horse, I have ordered the paper version 🙂

    Mr. Gregg B, yes I made a bee-line for The Waking Knot (first game I played) because I wanted to check it out after the Crashbook listing!

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