Hans Hans the Biking Viking:
Leaving Loki's Lockup
As familiar as you may be with Norse mythology, there's one parable you've probably never heard of. Fortunately, it is retold in Hans Hans the Biking Viking: Leaving Loki's Lockup.
As the legend goes, a courier named Hans Hans (and his sentient wooden bicycle, Sykkle) traveled to Loki's castle to deliver an important package to Thor. However, Loki tricked him and deposited him in his dungeon, an elaborate eleven-level maze full of tricks and traps.
Hans made full use of his ability to move around with the [left] and [right] arrow keys, jump across gaps and onto platforms ([space] bar), and pedal to activate conveyor-belt contraptions ([space] bar again). He wasn't alone, either; he later joined up with Freya, the goddess of love, war, and things that grow. She could fire arrows at phantoms and crystal switches, as well as make potted plants grow into thick vine bridges. Thor had massive muscles and could push and pull heavy blocks, as well as punch statues and other obstacles. And they later teamed up with a fourth character... and you can find out for yourself who that is. (You can switch control between the various characters with the [ctrl] key.)
Analysis: There are multiple reasons why I loved this game, which happens to be based on an upcoming Nickelodeon cartoon (You can watch a few webisodes and play mini-games at the show's website). Let's start with the more topical reasons and work away.
One: it motivates you to stick to it till the very end. Although the game has an autosave feature, I beat it happily in one sitting. There is also one hidden Rune to collect per level, and if you've got them all by the end of the game, you get an extra little bonus.
Two: the puzzles are very innovative. The same series of tricks makes up puzzles in many different ways plus several levels have unique obstacles. It's obvious that this game's levels were constructed by an expert in the trade. The only hitch is that none of them are particularly difficult.
Three: it's in the subgenre of The Lost Vikings-style puzzlers, which I always adore. Something about the concept of multiple characters with different abilities working together towards a common goal just steals my heart.
And four: it's based on an upcoming cartoon I've never heard of before. Sounds counter-intuitive? Perhaps, but I learned about the cartoon in question through this game, picking up quite a lot. I had Hans pegged as the cartoon's "mandatory stupid character" until I met Thor, and I can definitely picture some of the other situations these characters must get into.
Everyone's cartoon personalities are so well carved: Hans's unshakable devotion for package delivery, Freya's boldness and obvious irritation with her less competent allies, Thor's unending desire for sandwiches, and Loki's evil scheming with a dash of incompetence are all easy to pick up. I've gotta watch this cartoon once it's on air.
Thanks for submitting this game, Tina, Kris, Iwa, and Fred!