Sawbuck Gamer

Humanoid 47

Totally Tabular

The humble tab key saves Humanoid 47 from its own cluttered beauty.

By Matt Kodner • October 4, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).

The tab key can’t keep pace with the enter key’s deft line-breaking skills, and it has none of backspace’s destructive power, but it more than stands on its own legs. Normally it just creates a new paragraph indentation, but fire up a break-out-of-this-room browser game or one of Strong Bad’s emails, and it becomes a shining beacon. Through tab’s majesty, all secrets are revealed by a dancing yellow box that highlights usable objects. Abuse of tab’s power can all but break a point-and-click game, but Humanoid 47 benefits from our friend, the wild yellow box.

JO99’s newest adventure game casts the player as a would-be cyborg on the run from a mad scientist captor, who is hot to replace your brain with a robotic doo-dad. Like JO’s previous effort, The Queen Of Snakes, the puzzles that you encounter during your escape demand more observation than thought. Taking note of your surroundings will always yield the solution, but sometimes figuring out which part of the screen to click is a bigger problem than the puzzle at hand. The intricate, cluttered artwork makes Humanoid 47 gorgeous, but also compels the use of the tab key. Each room is occupied by at least 3,000 articles of robo-architecture, after all. It looks amazing, but it’s not so much fun to parse through. Fortunately, the game gives you the option of using tab to control which objects are highlighted, a shift in perspective that doesn’t immediately return the puzzle’s solutions but lets you escape with a clear head.

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13 Responses to “Totally Tabular”

  1. Aurora Boreanaz says:

    That is the first Strong Bad Email I ever saw. As for the game, oof, I’m not a big fan of the busy art style, so it’s hard to look at.  I’ll try to get a better look at it later.

  2. SamPlays says:

    The art style reminds me of someone but I can’t quite place it. My immediate thought was Cal Schenkel but it’s not him:

    Google is proving useless on this one. Someone help me out here!

  3. evanwaters says:

    That’s a good one. The puzzle solutions generally make sense and I do really like the style- it’s slightly disturbing without falling into the indie cliche of just making everything dark and ugly. Really like the music too.