It’s hard not to think of Super Meat Boy when playing One Fine Day, a free HTML game. In the game’s comments section at Game Jolt, developer Wolod admitted Super Meat Boy helped inspire the game. You might also compare One Fine Day to Limbo based on the grayscale graphics. However, these comparisons can only go so far, as One Fine Day establishes its own mood and challenges. I was both spellbound and frustrated during my two playthroughs — a sign that I was playing a solid platformer/puzzler.
The visuals are sparse and gloomy. The non-black elements make an impression. When you die by spikes, you see red stains on them until you move to the next stage. Parts of the beehives glow blue. Green vines wrap around crosses. Beams of light bring to mind alien abduction. I only sound cryptic because the game is.
The music is very atmospheric, reminiscent of a foreboding track I often heard in the first two Fallout games. Occasional sound effects such as bees buzzing and birds squawking play into the game’s mood, a simple but effective creation.
To play, you use the arrows on your keyboard. Left/right moves. Up jumps. You can double jump and jump off walls; for the most part, this works fine. When it doesn’t, you’re very likely dead. I’m sure the controls would have been more on the money with a controller, but they’re decent as they stand.
The goal is to get through each level without dying. Each level in One Fine Day is one screen and accompanied by cryptic advice, such as “Nature can help and also can kill.” The first challenge of any level is to grab a key. When you do this, a portal opens up. Navigating to the portal is the second challenge. There are no checkpoints, so if you die after grabbing the key, you have to start all over.
Obstacles vary. The game features spikes, the platformer standard, but interestingly you can walk through the spikes — jumping onto or into them is what kills you. Birds, another standard lot of bastards, also make an irritating appearance. Things get more complex when the flytraps come into play. I don’t want to give away too much because One Fine Day does a great job of building on a foundation. The final level will take every bit of thought and precision you have. Nonetheless, the game leaves you wanting more levels.
I’ve beaten One Fine Day twice. As in the Platformance games on Xbox Live, the idea is to die the least amount of times. The first time I beat One Fine Day, I died more than 200 times. I died about 40 times during the second playthrough. One Fine Day can also tell you how you tended to die (by spikes, birds, etc.), which is another motivator to play again. At the same time, if you don’t love this type of game, you probably won’t play it more than once.
Like I said earlier, the Super Meat Boy and Limbo comparisons don’t sum up One Fine Day. This distinctive game will be in my browser window again. You can’t ask for a better platformer/puzzler that costs nothing.