Short Subject Saturdays: Plug & Play and The Plan

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In my review of The Old Tree, I said I would like to see more indies tackle short subjects. This got me thinking: why don’t I do a feature where I look for these games? So, I put out a call on Twitter asking for suggestions on games that could be finished in under twenty minutes. I didn’t really think this through all that much. Most developers pitched their own games under the guise that hypothetically, if you never make a single mistake and do none of the side quests, a game could be finished in twenty minutes. Or people pointed me at arcade style games that can be played in bursts of a minute at a time if I so wished. Sigh.

So, here’s my unofficial definition on a short subject indie game. A game with a beginning and an ending that unfolds in a linear fashion, where a player can see 99% of the content in a single play-through, all in under twenty minutes.

Every Saturday, I’ll take a look at a couple such titles. You can hit me on Twitter with your suggestions.

First up is Plug & Play. Originally, my definition of short subject indie games mentioned that they were story driven, but I realized that didn’t apply to this one. There really isn’t a story. Plug & Play is a series of vignettes. Take power plugs, stick them into sockets. Or there are Plug People: anamorphic plugs and sockets that you might end up having to plug into each other. Even David Lynch was like “whoa, slow down there, bro, that’s too weird.”

Human Centiplug?

 Plug & Play. Human Centiplug?

Plug & Play was developed by Mario von Rickenbach and Michael Frei ($2.99 were similtanntious creeped out and turned on in the making of this review. Available now on Steam)

Plug & Play was developed by Mario von Rickenbach and Michael Frei ($2.99 was simultaneously creeped out and turned on in the making of this review. Available now on Steam)

Plug & Play is Chick Approved and ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard.

Plug & Play is Chick Approved and ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard.

Gameplay is just typical point and click puzzle fare. I really wish more short subject indies would incorporate conventional gameplay mechanics into their work. But what’s here is enjoyable enough. It successfully got me to shake my head and say “wow” several times, which I’m guessing was its goal. Heck, it even caused me to laugh out loud a few times. Is there a point? No. Is it worth ten minutes of your time? I think so. Is it worth $3? Maybe not. When I tweeted that I enjoyed this title a lot, many of my fans balked at paying $2.99 for a game that takes ten minutes to finish and has no replay value. If this had been my title, I would have priced it at a dollar. $1 feels more comfortable for a game that is, for better or worse, a novelty. It’s not meant to compete against the likes of Shovel Knight or Super Meat Boy. It’s meant to compete against over-sized gumballs and temporary tattoos. $1 for a game falls into the realm of impulse buy. $3 puts you head-to-head with some more lengthy titles. Why compete against them when you don’t have to?

Jeff Goldblum was unavailable for comment.

The Plan. Jeff Goldblum was unavailable for comment.

Not that being cheap is an indication of having value. I nearly died from boredom playing this next title, which is free on Steam. The Plan puts you in the role of a fly who has to, well, fly. You fly up. At one point you escape from a spiderweb. Then you fly up some more. Than something happens and the game ends. It lasts about five minutes, and I thought it was boring. It felt more like a tech demo. A “get your feet wet coding your first game” experience. Solid graphics, and maybe it was trying to make a point, but I didn’t get it if it was. The Plan is one of those art for the sake of art titles that some people get and others don’t. Those that don’t get it and call it fart-sniffing, pretentious fluff are right. But those that are moved by it and call it a work of genius are also right, because art is always in the eye of the beholder. But I thought it was duller than being trapped in a conversation with Siri.

The PlanThe Plan was developed by Krillbite Studio
Available for free on Steam.

Thank you to Nate for creating the Short Subject Saturdays logo!

 

 

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About Indie Gamer Chick
The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

2 Responses to Short Subject Saturdays: Plug & Play and The Plan

  1. samearl13 says:

    Your description of The Plan suggests it was wrongly titled. Also while some games can be considered art I’d rather these crumb sized games don’t start appearing more often.

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