Mirror Drop
Ian Lilley
windows/USD$8 (or free on his website if you're feeling poor)

"An overwhelmingly psychedelic puzzle game full of mirrors, over-saturated colors, and infinities."

Someone tweeted a GIF of this game a while before it came out and I added it to my wishlist on Steam. I hadn't heard of Ian Lilley before now, but it seems like this is his debut solo release after spending some time working for ThatGameCompany. It's ridiculously polished for a first release.

Let's see if I can convince you to play it: well, it's hard to make a stronger pitch than these screenshots make for themselves. But there are two kinds of beauty on display in this game: the visible kind and the invisible kind. I have a feeling that you and I both like beautiful things, and here is one.


The closest thing I can think of to Mirror Drop is increpare's lovely thing from 2009, Mirror Stage. Both games take place in nonEuclidean space of fractal mirrors and reflected reality, but where Mirror Stage is about exploring, Mirror Drop is really about guiding an object through that space.

The puzzle mechanic in Mirror Drop is essentially a very simple gravity-switching design, which should be familiar if you've played Kory Heath's Blockhouse or any of the innumerable similar games out there. In each level, you activate three artifacts and then leave. But here that basic puzzle mechanic isn't the point — it's more of a foundation on which to build fascinating — and ultimately fiendish — spatial puzzles, in the same way that Miegakure builds an interesting puzzle about 4-Dimensional space on basic Sokoban mechanics.


In case it's not clear by now, one of the things I most like about videogames is that they can have original 'brainfeel'. Each of the levels in Mirror Drop starts with you feeling totally disoriented, then reconstructing an impossible geometry by floating around it and manipulating an object inside of it. Sometimes you find yourself in spaces where you can turn all the way around without turning 360°. Sometimes you find yourself in spaces that are inside of themselves. And your brain says: 'alright'. That is a wonderful feeling.


But it's also just so achingly gorgeous. Look at it. It's all raytraced, there are no triangles, and it has a geometric perfection that is extremely unusual. Go play it.