The first game I decided to dive into this year (that wasn't Rocket League or Dying Light) was a small, short, mechanics driven game from Galvesmash. Let's take a quick look at Breathe.
I decided that I would use the blog section of Permanent Beta to discuss these shorter experiences since they don't really fit into a review category. Breathe is the perfect example of this; how could you possibly review something like this?
Breathe is a game based around one central mechanic; breathing. You are Ni-tsu and you're in a deep meditative state. Unfortunately the evil spirits of the Japanese forest won't leave you in peace. You'll have to protect Ni-tsu by moving the cursor around to fend off spirits but, also, press the space bar to "breathe" and illuminate the area. There is a bar at the top of the screen that has three segments to it; as you hold down space the bar fills and the longer you do so sees more of the area light up when you release it.
There's an intelligent risk and reward situation in Breathe; you can only destroy spirits while they're illuminated, but the longer you hold space, the longer you wait to illuminate the gorgeously styled world, the closer these creatures get to you.
I didn't expect to be quite so engaged by such a simple concept; but the art and mechanics did enough for me to sink at least half an hour into this.
There's a constant sense of tension and fear in Breathe, and when you successfully kill enough enemies there's an immensely satisfying 'release' of power that illuminates everything and kills every enemy before the game continues at a more frantic pace.