Originally starting as a hobby and the product of hack-a-thons, Alveole is an experimental puzzle game built about a single theme – cage. With a unique minimalistic presentation and only using a single button, Alveole isn’t a bad game by any means, just a really odd one with limited replay value.
Playing as a stick figure running in a hamster wheel, the player is given no indication what to do or how to do it. Pressing the “A” button is the only action available – jump. Occasionally, a black bump with appear in this looping wheel. In time, the player will realize this black hump should be avoided… or should it not be avoided? If this sounds weird, that is because it is. Did I mention aliens drop you into the hamster wheel? Yeah. Weird.
Check out my stream embedded below. If you watch the whole thing, you can understand the thought process of the trial-and-error gameplay.
The only hint the player is given are icons spread throughout the top half of the screen. For example, I noticed when I tripped on that black hump, one lens in the eye glasses icon broke. When I tripped a second time, the other lens cracked. Eventually those glasses shattered completely and I was awarded with an Achievement, crossing out one of the 16 available marks to earn. In other words, I was awarded for failure which is an unconventional gameplay tactic.
Since gameplay is kept to a minimum, the player’s best option is to be observant. Whether jumping in place, not jumping, or jumping over the hump, the icons can subtly move or react in some way. Paying close attention is the key to solving all the puzzles. That, or using an Achievement guide. If using a guide, it is possible to earn all the Achievements (or Trophies if playing on Playstation) in a few minutes. When completed, there is no reason to return as there is no replay value. However, it is strongly encouraged to play without a guide and just try to figure it out on your own.
In my stream, for example, I never got frustrated. I got curious and wanted to try more. It is rare to have a game pique your curiosity through gameplay that has not been seen before. Because of this, this is one experimental title that is enjoyable as long as you enter it with an open mind and some patience. Oh yeah, and Alveole only costs $5.
Also available on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch.
Also Try: the one-button mechanic in Kirby’s Air Ride (Gamecube)
Better Than: those clicker simulators
Wait For It: the next Sometimes You title