Subterrarium is a truly fresh, thought-provoking dungeon puzzle where you play a girl with a soda-powered jetpack and a drill. You earn gold from digging, buy watering cans with the money, and water flowers that help you reach new parts of the (procedurally-generated) level.
It took me a little while to get the hang of it, but once I did I found myself in the midst of a thought-provoking puzzle experience, the kind where every move counts and you always want to be thinking ahead. Every little square of dirt on the vertical levels explodes with a satisfying crunch and ping, but if you just go jamming your drill at whatever you like, you won't make any progress. It feels immensely rewarding to solve a stage: The first time I actually sprouted a flower and climbed it, I exclaimed aloud.
I also think it's pretty cool that its designer, Taylor Anderson, found the spirit of the game by deciding "girl with jetpack" would be the most interesting starting point for the design.
"Subterrarium started off as a generic dungeon crawler where the longer you spent in the dungeon before you left the level the more points you got," he writes to me. "And that was alright, but I hated the dungeon setting so I tried to think of something as far away from that as possible. I also really, really wanted it to be nonviolent. I ended up with a girl and her drill and vending machines underground, which I thought was a nice change. And then like three weeks after that, I arrived at [this] game."
Subterrarium is currently on sale for $2.99 CAD. In writing that I realize it's actually been a long time since I spotlighted a game on Offworld that you even have to buy—this one is sweet, engaging and worth it.