One of the many indie games that I got to check out when I went to PAX East this year was The Seed, a game for iOS from a small team out of Winnipeg calling themselves Little Bit Games. From this small team with a small name comes a small (for now) game with some big potential.
Admittedly inspired by The Incredible Machine, The Seed is a physics-based puzzle game where you have to guide a seed from its starting point to a small, fertile pod which will result in a plant growing which clears the level. To get it there, you only have at your disposal droplets of water that you use to change the speed and direction of the seed. After a few levels to get your feet wet, you get introduced to more difficult terrain and also wind that works with, and against you. Oh, and of course the ever-present cruel mistress known as gravity always in play.
The challenge is to use all of these elements to your advantage, and challenge is what you get. Once you get going, most levels will require you to “tweak and try” your chain reaction of water droplets many times to find that one optimal one that clears the level. It’s quite addicting, and to make matters worse (or better, depending on your view of things) there’s also a “par” time for each level that you can try to beat for an extra challenge.
Not content to just be a fairly brutal puzzler, The Seed also has an overlying narrative, and an interesting one at that. Without any words, the game implies that something terrible has happened in its world, leaving you to speculate as to what happened here, and also to bring life back, one plant at a time. It reminded me a bit of Flower in terms of its messaging and ambience. Enhancing that is a terrific score that you simply don’t expect to hear in a small indie iOS title. Presentation for this game is at a level that belies the studio’s size.
I just wish the experience would last a bit longer. The game currently only features part one, which comprises 28 levels. The developers are promising more levels in a free update, which is coming soon. I guess Little Bit Games wanted to get what they could out there now to show what they were capable of, aiming for quality over quantity. Still, with other physics-based puzzlers typically offering way more levels for the same price, this could be a bit of a turn off for some. Also, this is not a universal app yet (also coming soon in a free update). While it works okay on an iPhone, this game NEEDS to be played natively on an iPad given the precision you need for direction and speed of your droplets, plus you’ll be able to place them better since it’s hard to see them on an iPhone screen when your finger is covering them. I would have liked to have seen iPad support from the get go.
The GamerPops Recommendation
The Seed is a well-presented and challenging physics-based puzzle game that gives us a taste of what Little Bit Games is capable of. It might be a bit daunting for younger kids given the complex nature of the puzzles, but the content itself is fine, and the overall narrative might present an opportunity to have a dialog with your youngsters about the environment and their role in protecting it. While the studio’s small size does manifest itself in a couple of areas, for the most part I’m really impressed with what they’ve done here, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the levels coming out.
A review copy was provided to GamerPops.