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Mix and Mangle Your Skeleton to Survive in 'Osteotic Bypass'

Don't let the grave government take your skeleton.

by Cameron Kunzelman
Nov 14 2016, 9:07pm

A few years ago the brilliant QWOP appeared in the world and showed us one important thing about games: arbitrary challenge is a hell of a good time. In that game, you use your keyboard to move each one of a runner's leg muscles independently of one another. It is devilishly hard, and it's much easier to fall backward over the starting line than it is to run even the shortest distance.

We're now living in the wake of QWOP, and we keep seeing really interesting games where the divide between what the player wants to do and the controls they perform is quite large. Surgeon Simulator makes surgery hard by making the movements of each surgeon finger decidedly non-abstract, and Rocket League has forced us into playing a much closer simulation of the activity of kicking a ball than any soccer game has managed.

​Images courtesy of From Smiling.

Osteotic Bypass does for puzzle games what QWOP did for action games. It's a simple little thing that presents the player with a maneuverable skeleton that needs to make it through a moving wall. There's might be a gap in the floor, or a hole in the middle, or an X shape, and you have to manually manipulate each joint of the skeleton to make sure that it will be able to pass a majority of its bones through the way. Not all of its bones; a majority of it's bones. It's profoundly difficult, but watching my crumbling skeleton friend get 60.1% of its bones through the hoop is profoundly satisfying.

I'm often frustrated with how puzzle games focus on finding the abstract solution to a problem rather than honing in on the difficulty of implementation. After all, most problems can be solved in the abstract really easily: global warming, whether this bed frame will fit through that doorway, or universal basic income. The real devil is always in the details, and Osteotic Bypass makes the details into the game itself. It's a welcome bit of design.

You can play Osteotic Bypass for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux .

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