Before our GOTY coverage kicks off in earnest, we wanted to shout out a handful of excellent games from 2021 you may yet have heard of. Every game mentioned in this series is top tier, so if any sound even remotely up your alley, it’s an easy recommendation.
For Your Consideration - Elechead
Too many games in our modern era opt for quantity over quality. Elechead is very much not one of those games.
Every single screen of the cute 2D puzzle platformer serves a purpose. Whether it’s a puzzle to be solved, a lesson to import, or – as is often the case – both, there is a profound sense of purpose to the precision design behind every pixel of the screen.
The premise is so simple, the game wastes no words in getting you into the action. That’s quite literal – apart from the credits, there is no text in the game whatsoever.
Titular character Elechead performs the requisite basics: moving left/right, and jumping. The game’s signature gimmick is that your head is a source of electrical power – perfect for turning on switches, activating platforms and the like. Not too far into the game, you gain the ability to throw your head a short distance, giving your body 10 seconds to perform actions before needing to return to your main source of energy.
And… that’s it. That is all you need to get all the way to the end of the game, solve every puzzle and collect all 20 special keycards. It’s incredibly simple, yet at the same time, the game is incredibly creative in giving you ways to use that basic toolset. Not only that, but controlling our little electrical buddy is incredibly tight – all movement and input is Mario-level precise.
Crucially, just about all of the puzzles involved in Elechead revolve around you figuring out the solution in your head – there’s barely any “I know the solution, I’m just having trouble executing” moments. For those like me who can sometimes have trouble mastering complex series of inputs, it keeps any frustration with the game at bay.
At a brisk couple of hours even when aiming for 100% completion without a guide, Elechead is a brilliant palette cleanser in between those massive hundred-hour epics you might be sinking into over the holidays. With a bunch of optional secrets, the odd bit of humour and a cute little protagonist to boot, it’s an easy under the radar top 10 GOTY contender to round out a busy year.