April 3, 2015 7:00 AM | Joel Couture
Sometimes, you just get yourself in a bind in a puzzle game. Through the mechanics and your own dumb ideas, you work yourself into a corner you can't get out of, and most puzzle games have a retry option or some kind of self-destruct. Handy stuff, really, but none of that prepared me for how you restart in SOMI Creates Games' RETSNOM. Here I was, flipping the world around using a mirror I'd found in a science lab while looking for a cure for my daughter's zombie infection, when I found myself stuck. I hit what I thought was a restart button, only to see my poor, tie-wearing character smash his own head into a bloody, pixelated smear on the floor. I'm pretty sure I don't want that to happen again, but with all of the options open for the player to change the world to solve RETSNOM's puzzles, I'm not sure I can avoid it.
RETSNOM gives players a mirror that lets them make dramatic changes to the area around themselves. When you use the mirror, all of the blocks around you will flip from left to right. Holding the button down will show you just how it's going to do this, indicating the blocks that will move and where they'll be going with red and blue outlines. Probably the sort of system you want to carefully examine while standing still, but you can also use it while moving or jumping, so knowing when to flip the environment, and how, is what you'll need to do to get to the end of each area. Further methods will come later in the game that make blocks disappear over time or allow you to switch up and down, further complicating things for the guy in the tie. Oh yeah, and the zombies are around, too. They're kinda out to eat you, as zombies do. And a time limit, since you do have a sick little girl to save. No pressure.
You can give the demo a spin to get an idea on how the mechanic works, which is a good idea as I had an unusual amount of trouble wrapping my head around it once it was in motion. You cannot switch an area over and over, cheating your way to get to wherever you want, but you still have a lot of freedom to play around with each stage. It's the kind of puzzle game where creative minds could do some really neat things, so if you want some more personal input from your puzzle platformers than something with a more 'set' solution, you should look into it (and maybe give the one-man dev team a Greenlight vote, too).