I think so, yeah. Again, it’s short, so I don’t know how long it’ll keep the attention of kids. But it’s simple and easy and not stressful. Which might be a negative for kids I guess, can’t help you there.
Story-wise, it’s just about a witch who falls into a giant well and tries to get out, potentially rescuing some bunnies along the way by giving them a lift in her witch hat. In terms of violence, there aren’t any enemies, but you can “die” via lasers or thorns. But death here just means the protagonist going wide-eyed and -mouthed before respawning a moment before the death (not even at the beginning of the screen!). So it’s gentle.
“Finished” Mu Cartographer. There’re some aspects to it that I like, and some I do not. Let’s start with the criticism.
I don’t really think the writing worked. As a narrative, it was a bit boring and predictable, and it left things unexplored without really being opened-ended. As fragments, it was too straightforward and not evocative enough to really add to the game’s sense of mystery and curiosity. And the “conclusions” were just… eh.
I also didn’t like the monuments that seemed to serve as the major “goals” of the game. What made the “landscape” so interesting to me was how abstract it was; I’d argue that even “alien” isn’t strong enough to describe it. So to see generic forts and castles and towers kinda broke the spell for me. It felt like the opposite of discovery, if that makes sense. Or a discovery that turns what was once intriguing into something boringly understandable.
I did like the feeling of getting more and more familiar with the interface though. The experience of not understanding anything to suddenly having a more or less good idea of how those sliders affect all those shapes and lines was fun. “It’s a videogame” is probably a trite and even arguable thing to say about Mu Cartographer, but it did feel like a summary of what a game is in that you’re interfacing in an arbitrary but defined way to affect an abstract world and its entities. I felt somewhat similarly with Super Hexagon in that it feels like “pure” game, albeit in a formal and admittedly very restricted sense.
And I liked how abstract the “landscape” was for the most part. Like I said above, I don’t even think the word “alien” is enough to describe it. Ignoring a frankly boring explanation offered by the narrative about the world literally shifting and changing, it’s difficult to, well, map out the visualization onto a concrete space. Sure, that spot might look like a mountain range, but fiddle with a single slider a bit and the very same spot can also look like a wide valley. So it feels more to me like an abstract form rather than a “thing.” Or I guess you could also look at it as being somewhat like one of those 4D objects whose shape we can only extrapolate from 3D slices or snapshots of the same. What I’m trying to say is: it’s weird and cool and pretty to look at.
Thanks for the heads up! The game does look interesting. And it does look like a good way of scratching that obscure-interface-fiddling itch without having to look for some random, poorly designed synth or DAW online (we’ve all done it, right?).