Sawbuck Gamer

Me And The Key 3

Immersion Learning

Me And The Key 3 teaches you how to swim by throwing you in the deep end.

By John Teti • October 10, 2013

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

There used to be a routine. Step 1: Take the game out of the package. Step 2: Peruse the first couple pages of the instruction booklet. Step 3: Throw the booklet in the trash and play the game already. Everyone seemed okay with this approach. We were desperadoes on the video game frontier. More to the point, figuring out how a game works can be a perfectly enjoyable part of the game, and tossing the instructions aside was an implicit embrace of that notion.

In Bart Bonte’s Me And The Key 3, figuring out how a game works is the entire game. Bonte specializes in a minimalist design of sorts—the word “minimalist” might conjure up images of austere black-and-white art games, but that’s not what this is. Instead, Bonte gives you a picture of penguins, tells you that you have to get the key, and lets you take it from there. Your clicks and keyboard taps do something different in each level, so you poke and prod the game to get your bearings. None of the puzzles are especially daunting, but because Bonte is confident enough to stand back and let you make your own way, each success feels like a little discovery.

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6 Responses to “Immersion Learning”

  1. Burger_Bob says:

    Got bored quickly. I feel like I’ve played this game several times before. Too many of the puzzles can be solved by simply clicking randomly without even understanding what you’re doing.

    • boardgameguy says:

      that was the case for one level for me (the one where the mouse pointer and the circle moved as mirror images) but now i’m stuck on level 20. i must click more, presumably.

      EDIT: and two seconds after posting this i figure it out.

  2. boardgameguy says:

    that was a pleasant enough diversion.

  3. Chalkdust says:

    This seems like as good a place as any to mention that recent Sawbuck favorite Soundodger is coming to Steam within the month, with new content including a way to use your own music library.  That and Audiosurf 2 popping up on Early Access are good news for my music game fanbone.

  4. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    This is the method by which we’re raising our daughter. So far she’s discovered that if she places three different colored Duplo into three cups we keep on the table, we give her dinner.
      If she recites two whole verses of Ray Parker Jr.’s Ghostbusters song, we play with her.
      Being in daycare has tainted the experiment a bit, as she sees the other teachers and children interact in a quantifiable cause and effect manner, so it may be homeschooling for her.

  5. grovberg says:

    Very reminiscent of Hoshi Saga. I really love how some of them are incredibly simple and some are completely baffled, and that the game is built out of the sum of those tiny moments rather than figuring out any one particular puzzle.