Pity the poor gelatinous cube. Its only crime is being a big gross jelly block that eats people and leaves their bones floating in its translucent stomach. Who among us can claim not to have done likewise? The cube’s rehabilitation begins with Splitting Headache, Alan Hazelden, AKA Draknek’s latest puzzle game. And, as ever from the Sokoban master, it’s an ingenious, elegant puzzle game.
As in most PuzzleScript games, Splitting Headache largely follows the rules of influential puzzler Sokoban. You’re trying to push one or more blocks onto one or more switches, which will end the level, and give you a new stage to solve. The difference here is that you’re given slimy jelly blocks instead of rigid crates or cubes. Jelly blocks will, excitingly, slither around corners, meaning it’s pretty difficult to push yourself into a dead end. But also, if you push the jelly blocks head on, and without walls at either side, the block will split into two.
Two blocks from one. And then, four blocks from two, or however many you need to solve the puzzle. Hazelden says that the central concept was inspired by Terry Cavanagh’s Halting Problem, but it’s implemented wonderfully in this lightly devious, but surprisingly not super-hard browser game. Many puzzlers make you feel powerless, to begin with, and then powerful as you smugly overcome the designer’s challenge. Splitting Headache makes you feel powerful from the get-go, perhaps too powerful, as your runaway cloning power might make you flood the stage with wobbling jelly blocks. (Via Warp Door.)
For more great free experiences, check out our roundup of the best free PC games.