By Joseph Leray
No disrespect, but Flash games are kind of a wasteland. There are some notable exceptions -- “Wonderputt,” “Traal,” “Hundreds,” “Castle Crashers,” “Bit Dungeon,” “Hexagon” -- but the definitive versions of these games are almost always on some other platform. Sifting through the muck is like panhandling for gold in 1849.
One of those golden nuggets is scriptwelder’s “400 Years,” a thoughtful, meditative puzzle game about the passage of time. You play as a statue who sets off to prevent a “calamity” from occurring 400 years in the future. Mo’ai aren’t particularly nimble, though, but they are patient: impassable rivers will freeze over in the winter, allowing safe passage. When faced with a high ledge, our stone-faced protagonist can plant a tree and wait for it to grow before climbing up.
It’s a slick concept, and a 400 year countdown looms in the corner, reminding you not to dilly-dally too long -- each press of the space bar advances the game one season, the trees losing their pixlelated leaves and then sprouting anew in the blink of an eye. The time constraints add just the right amount of urgency to an otherwise slow-going affair.
In any case -- it’s Friday. Normally, you’re a mover and shaker, I’m sure, so why not treat yourself to a slice of zen? “400 Years” is soothing, and its puzzles are difficult enough to be engaging without adding to your list of weekly workplace stressors. Play it here.