Sawbuck Gamer

Next, Please screenshot

April 2, 2012: Next, Please!

Men of stone dance a jazzy number.

By Steve Heisler • March 29, 2012

Sawbuck Gamer, our ongoing roundup of free and cheap games, has made the jump from The A.V. Club to Gameological. Rather than a massive compilation every few weeks where we destroy your entire workday with instant-gratification gaming, Sawbuck Gamer will now be a daily feature (Monday through Thursday), chipping away at your productivity little by little.


Jazz combines the musician’s ability to live in the moment with the ability to anticipate the unexpected and roll with the punches—or notes, as it were. Fittingly, Next, Please!, a puzzle game scored with a smooth jazz backing track, asks its players to take on a similarly dichotic mindset. The game supplies you with a stable of stout dog-looking men that can be turned to stone at will. When one hardens, another pops out for you to control. Using your previous men as platforms, you avoid spikes and fire bolts on your way to the next level. Sometimes your guys will block enemy fire, or you can stack them like stairs. When they’ve outlived their usefulness and their stony visages are just getting in the way, you can explode them. Your stable of men is finite, so you must take care when freezing guys in place or blowing them up, in the off chance you end up one man short. (Plus, like Angry Birds, the game awards you a star rating based on the elegance of your solution.) Certainly Next, Please! requires a fair amount of planning in how you set yourself up to reach the exit, but often you must freeze guys in midair at just the right height, mixing foresight with sheer reflexes, like a bass player laying down the perfect groove.

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39 Responses to “April 2, 2012: Next, Please!

  1. David Gray says:

    This game is ok, but the mechanic of using past lives to progress was done a lot better in The Company of Myself, which managed to tell a compelling story too.

  2. It’s a tad disappointing that a little something extra doesn’t happen when you get all 72 stars. It wasn’t that hard a game, but still.

    • The_Guilty_Party says:

      It’s always kind of hard to balance the reward for doing all the little things/getting 100%. If it’s too awesome then it’s like you’re mandating that it be done, if it’s not awesome enough then it’s a waste of time.

  3. Isaac Maddow-Zimet says:

    No grades?

    • urthstripe says:

      Yeah, I think at least the Sawbuck games should have a quick recommendation or grade since these games are cheap or free.

  4. itisdancing says:

    Well, I’ve verified my account twice now and I still can’t link to my damn AV Club account.

    But I am glad these have a byline on them now — I’ll know who’s to blame for all those glowing reviews of Yet Another Platform Puzzler With Spikes, Silhouettes, And Metaphors For Love.

  5. Luke says:

    DAILY sawbuck? This will destroy me.

  6. Basement Boy says:

    Excited about more game coverage, tho I still loathe DIQSUQ, but hey, I’ve now got a more-game-related avatar & username… which means I’ll be anxiously awaiting any Binding Of Isaac news, i.e. “The Wrath Of The Lamb” whenever it breaks…

  7. We totally need a ‘hey, Trine is 2 dollars on Steam this weekend!’ newswire from the Gameological crew.

    • John Teti says:

      We plan to do such things. Definitely tweet any tips to the @gameological Twitter account.

      • Aaron Riccio says:

        So Gameological will start talking about all these indie bundles, even if Sawbuck can’t manage to cover them all? Niiiiice.

  8. Marozeph says:

    It’s a nice little game, but the music gets kinda annoying after a while.

  9. Swadian Knight says:

    Daily Sawbuck Gamer? I’ll never get anything done.

  10. jfudge says:

    It’s like Lost Vikings without the fanciness. The level pictured there is a great place to learn about head spikes.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      It’s got nothing to do with Lost Vikings . . . you only control one guy, and there’s only one power. It’s much more like that Chrono-something game where you create time-synched copies of yourself that you can then use as stepping stones.

  11. Ana Garcia says:

    It would be pretty cool if the little dudes could only move in time with the music and every time the key changed, they got hard. Also it’d be cool if you had to move all of them at the same time. I think that’d be more like jazz.