Weekly Web Game: Tealy & Orangey
You'd think with a name like Tealy & Orangey, a game about a teal ball and an orange ball wouldn't be much of a hotbed for subtlety. And while the game is fairly blunt in describing itself, and its mechanic is quick to pick up (you control both balls at the same time), its puzzles become more devious and require the player to have an increasingly sharp mental focus.
This doesn't mean that the game is completely mental. On the contrary, you're going to need some fast reflexes to be able to land jumps safely for both balls at once, not to mention avoiding cannonfire. Later levels grant some reprieve when each ball can enter the other's field, protected from the differently colored spikes and bullets, but even this can present its own challenges, often lulling you into a false sense of safety.
The game's approach inspires false confidence, presenting itself so straightforwardly that you immediately want to believe that with enough foresight, it should all be a piece of cake, and yet as more and more variables get added, happy accidents become more and more frequently the factor that allows you to reach the goal. This mixture of victory and defeat, of winning without a true understanding of how, dovetails nicely with the notion of simultaneous play (you get both at once). Like watching someone write or draw with both hands, the gameplay strikes us as something humans should be able to do, and occasionally can with enough practice, but just seems beyond the standard capabilities of our monkey brains. And it's both fun and frustrating to try... or should we say "practice."