You’re stuck. You’re standing on a ledge protruding from a massive wall, a colossal work of stone blocks that extends to the horizon in all directions. In your right hand, a wand that thrums to life as you wave it over the blocks, pulling and pushing them out of the wall, arranging them to form a staircase for your ascent. In the distance you spot – it can’t be – a windmill rising sideways out of the mammoth structure, a pulley system running along its base that is sure to bring you farther up towards your destination. But what is that destination? Is there one at all? Does this wall ever end?
According to sole designer and programmer Michael Consoli, Against the Wall takes place against an infinite slab of stone. As you climb, the game generates itself, creating more puzzles for your brain to click through as you ascend.
Consoli made Against the Wall for the Ludum Dare game making competition, a challenge that asks participants to create a game in 48 hours with a particular theme in mind. The theme for Consoli’s Dare was, “It’s dangerous to go alone, take this!” The result was the wand the player holds in this first-person puzzler, which must be utilized to manipulate the blocks in the wall in order to reach a town an untold number of miles above where you begin.
Structures and flora cling to the side of the wall, providing footholds for quick ascent of certain areas. There are strange and unique mechanisms to navigate and deadly creatures to avoid, such as the carnivorous floating trees that attempt to grind you into fertilizer against the stone. It is infinitely creepy and provides a truly eerie challenge.
Pointing and clicking at blocks will either draw them out or push them into the wall, depending on their color. Certain blue blocks provide bounce while others are cracked, crumbling soon after the player sets foot on them. Green blocks are on a time limit, extending quickly then shifting back into place in rapid succession. Manipulating them is the key to boosting yourself up the wall. Miss one and you fall until you hit a ledge, potentially dropping for minutes on end and undoing hours of progress.
Consoli walked me through, demonstrating how to push and pull the bricks in order to reach a mechanism that ran me along the base of the windmill and several hours’ worth of manual block-moving work up the wall.
Those carnivorous trees I mentioned earlier? These trees float above the surface of the wall and hover in mid-air. Against the bottom of their trunk amidst their splayed roots is a platform sporting a gorgeous bouquet of living flowers. This act like an anglerfish’s lure, and once the player has been drawn onto the platform the tree will hover back towards the surface and attempt to crush them into the stone. Oh, and they also have giant eyes all over their trunk.
Consoli’s Kickstarter campaign lasted 45 days, and his initial request for $6,500 was met with an almost $8,500 response. The developer cites press from sites like Kotaku and the IDGA as sparks that spurred the campaign’s success. Fans that were familiar with the campaign spread the good word, often writing tips to the bigger news channels and drawing attention to Consoli’s game. “Gamers are passionate people,” said Consoli. “Fan involvement is a powerful thing.”
Consoli aims to publish Against the Wall on Steam, and is currently juggling a pending release date as he begins his studies in the NYU Game Center’s MA Program. You can check out the Alpha of Against the Wall here.