I hate you, Milkman Nifflas.

It’s hard enough to work on indie PC games in the hopes of making money off of them with beautiful, solid, and completely free games like Cave Story, Eternal Daughter, and Within a Deep Forest floating around, but at least those each took several years to complete. My hopes were raised when Derek Yu, creator of Eternal Daughter, decided to charge for his next game, Aquaria, but today those hopes were dashed to pieces by Nifflas’ release of Knytt — another beautiful, solid, and completely free game — a scant seven months after his last release, Within a Deep Forest. Knytt isn’t nearly as long as its predecessor, and reuses much of the same engine and tiles, but it’s still beautiful, and it’s still well-made and it’s still completely free.

Near the beginning of Within a Deep Forest, there was a little village full of tiny people (actually, there were many little villages full of tiny people throughout the game). In Knytt, one of the tiny people from this village is abducted by a spaceship, which proceeds to crash on a different planet. The little person, who I presume is named Knytt, must wander around a very Within a Deep Forest-like landscape collecting the broken parts of the spaceship, using a Shadow of the Colossus-style beam of light to guide him. The controls are much simpler than they were in Within a Deep Forest; Knytt can walk and jump and climb up and down walls, and the only special abilities are a couple of optional, secret abilities which are not required to finish the game and are primarily there to help you explore.

Go play it now, play Within a Deep Forest if you haven’t already, fall in love with both, and then shake your fist at Nifflas for totally ruining it for those of us who want to try to make money off of our indie PC games.

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve updated; I’ve spent the last six months deluding myself that if I made a “feature length” “metroidvania” game in Flash that people might be willing to pay for it, even though it’s written in Flash. I don’t believe this any more, so I’m moving on to other projects. If you’d like to check out the demo version of it, you can find it here. I’m also in the process of moving to Portland, Oregon, which has been keeping me very busy. If anyone in the Portland area is looking to hire someone with lots of experience doing unusual things with video game mechanics and working within specific hardware-imposed, budget-imposed, and/or thematic constraints, but who hasn’t had any of his creativity crushed out of him by being a faceless drone at some giant company (that would be me), I’d love to hear about it.

Update: Dessgeega has written a very nice review of Knytt over at selectbutton, in which she uses the recently-coined term “icebergvania” to describe it, which is either awesomely stupid or stupidly awesome. I’m not sure which.


3 thoughts on “I hate you, Milkman Nifflas.”

  1. aaargh, your ‘math’ thing just ate my post, but I’ll try and summarize it…

    I really dug Knytt, as an example of a game without challenge, without frustration, where your only purpose is to enjoy the thrill of exploring this beautiful little world he made.. then, I found out about the rest of the iceberg 😛

    It may sound a little strange that I resent that the developer put in ‘bonus content’, but as per the icebergvania moniker, it’s starting to feel like the game you “unlock” by working to find all the secrets is the real game… it’s still perfectly playable as the “casual exploration-platformer” I thought it was, but I can no longer point to it and say “see, these guys didn’t need to make it challenging OR long in order to feel like they had a complete and worthwhile game”. It seems a little silly to be making any deal at all about something as minor as optional bonus content, but for me the bonuses ruin the principle that made me love Knytt.


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