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Game Maker Games - Fred the Pea
 Fred the Pea by Nathan Williams
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Review by Jabberwock
Fred The Pea is a small, strange example of the exploration game genre that was once in vogue among the indie game community. In terms of its minimalism, and even its basic gameplay and concept, it is an obvious imitation of Seiklus, but whether on purpose or otherwise, it ends up being something quite different.

The gameplay is rather simplistic platforming. You are located within a small world, which includes a cave and an empty skyscraper sort of building. Your goal is to collect 100 peas (in order to open a door - doesn't make much sense, I know) through an even mixture of jumping challenges and "puzzles".

Why the quotes, you ask? Well, the game's conception of logic is questionable. While it's not really an incredibly difficult game to figure out (at least if you're familiar with platforming conventions - invisible platforms, fake walls and the like), very few things in the game really make sense. The game is mostly a bunch of disparate ideas strung together, with little emphasis on creating a cohesive or meaningful experience. Why is everything suddenly upside-down? How was I supposed to know that fall wouldn't kill me? Why are a bunch of bats and an anthropomorphic vegetable the only inhabitants of this world? Why are there peas on the moon, or any of these other places for that matter? Does life have any meaning? These are some of the questions you might find yourself asking. All this strangeness might be on purpose, or it might not; it's difficult to tell. Once you accept its loose grasp on reason, though, it becomes an oddly compelling and surreal experience; I've actually played it through two or three times and I'm not sure why. The ending is certainly not the reason, as it's pretty lacklustre, but don't let that stop you from playing the game.

The game's mechanics have some seams as well; the room transitions are less than perfect, and the platform engine has some problems, particularly with slope climbing and jumping. Its programming is still functional, though, and in a way, part of what makes the game interesting is its problems.

Graphically, the game is mostly black and white, but there is the occasional intrusion of curiously bright colours - red, yellow, green, blue and fuschia. Its style is minimalistic, perhaps to a fault, though I enjoy it. It gives the game a unique and almost eerie feeling, especially in the empty building with the elevator (pictured), which is to me the most interesting area of the game, for reasons I can't pinpoint. The game's eerie emptiness is emphasized by the complete lack of sound.

In short, while it bears a superficial resemblence to a lot of other games, Fred The Pea is quite a unique experience and a creative piece of work. I still can't decide if the things I like about it are an accident or not, but either way it's still worth playing.

Author's Description:
Fred the Pea is a platform exploring game. You take the role of a lost pea who wants to know what is on the other side of a door he has found. To do so he has to collect all the peas in the strange world he has found himself in, by solving puzzles and exploring.

Download Fred the Pea (EXE, ~1.54 MB , Suitable for everyone )

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Comments (Add your own):
2007.10.22 ForceDevice
Rating: 9

Fantastic game. Creative, long, entertaining and full of smart puzzles. Too bad there's no music or sound effects, or else I'd have rated it a 10.

Seriously, this needs to be reviewed.
2007.10.14 The Third Man
Rating: 8

Cool game, but what was with the ending? If it had a better ending, I would rate it higher.
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