If you are expecting some mindless entertainment from today's Game of the Day - perhaps whacking hedgehogs into outer space, or lobotomising zombies with an AK47, or maybe just shooting up aliens - then, I am afraid, you are going to be disappointed. For today's Game of the Day cannot in any way be described as an action game (although it does have some action in it).
Neither is it an adventure style game (sorry, Zelda connoisseurs). Fans of escape-the-room games are also unlikely to find much in the game - there is very little point and clicking going on at all. And strategy game fans, get back to the latest version of Civilisation for there is nothing for you here. Ditto RPGers (replacing Civilisation with Dragons Age Origins).
So what kind of game are you reviewing exactly, I hear you ask. Well, err... you see it is very difficult to categorise it at all. I have only come across one other game like it and, frustratingly, that game was impossible to categorise too. So, I suppose, there you have it: today's Game of the Day - ImmorTall - falls into the impossible-to-categorise category of games. Wait a sec. Isn't that a contradiction in terms, I hear you say. Yes, it is. Now deal with it.
If all this lack of clarity over the game is making you want to vacate this site right now, I can understand, but stick with us, for ImmorTall really is a very special game, and if you were to go now, you would miss out on one of the most moving, philosophical games around.
The game starts with you crash landing on a planet. It soon becomes clear that you are an alien and the planet is Earth. Exactly where and when on Earth is never spelt out. After pulling yourself out of your space craft, you start to explore the planet. Soon you come across a native - a little girl. She seems excited to meet you and calls on you to follow her. She takes you to her brother, who is picking apples from a tree. He throws one to you. You eat it. You seem to like it. And you let the little boy sit on your shoulders.
The two children lead you to their parents, who are initially terrified of you and run away. But you soon win them over with your alien charm, and they give you something more to eat. At this point, unless you are a trully cold-hearted alien, you will have bonded with the family. The cute sprites and animations help in this respect. The family members emit little red hearts, showing how much they appreciate you.
It is about now that you find out that the family is in trouble. A damaged fighter plane, trailing a dark plume of smoke, whizzes by over your head. Then some soldiers turn up, firing at the family. You rush to protect them, using your tough alien body to ward off the enemy bullets. Your task is to lead the family to safety, doing your best to prevent any of them being killed by bullets, tank shells or bombs.
The game is quite difficult. The first time I played, I only managed to save one of the family. The second time I did better and saved three. I could have left it there but the game creates such an emotional bond between you and the family that you can't rest until you have saved them all.
The developer, Evan Miller of Pixel Ante, has designed the game with simple and effective graphics, largely using a pallette of shades of grey. This is perhaps a reference to Stephen Spielberg's holocaust film Schindler's List. The film is entirely shot in black and white apart from a girl in a red dress. Immortall is similar: colour is only used sparingly, for the red hearts the family emit to show their appreciation, the green drops of your alien blood, the blue tears the family let out when one of them has died and the colour of the sky to reflect how you are feeling.
ImmorTall reminds me a lot of The Majesty of Colours. Both games put you in charge of an alien monster interacting with people. Both leave it up to you whether to help or hinder the people. And both succeed in making you feel philosophical - something that is very rare in a game. ImmorTall may be a very short game but it lingers in your memory long after you have finished it - in a good way. Play Immortall here.