Give Up, Robot
While I'm not quite at Sean “Chair-Smasher” Sands' level of rage, I frequently get angry with my games. A challenging game can almost seem like it's taunting you, holding the possibility of success over your head while constantly smacking you in the face with defeat. The sign of a really good, challenging game is that it gets under my skin by with its carrot-shaped-stick gameplay. It looks like a reward, but it's really just an excuse to smack you around some more.
Give Up, Robot takes this theme of challenging puzzle games and brings it to the forefront, it's a jumping-puzzle game with a very solid grappling-hook mechanic. The game stands out because of the computerized voice egging you on: She will give you encouragement, praise and, occasionally, laughter when you die. When you do finally succeed after many, many deaths, she expresses annoyance. This sounds simple, and it is, but it's also amazingly effective. The computer's taunting is more compelling than achievements and gamerscore combined, the sense of schadenfraude when completing a difficult level is palpable.
While the levels are a seizure-inducing collection of flashing pixels, the art style is effective and fun. For a Flash game, the controls are spot-on and really make the game's clever puzzles shine. The levels start out fairly easy, the first 10 are basically a tutorial for the various abilities of your robot and the obstacles he will face. The next 50 very gradually ramp up in difficulty. I hit my own personal wall on level 29, where I just kept getting angrier at the puzzle and the computer's mechanical laughter when I died. It's a testament to the game that I just couldn't stop. There's 60 levels in total, though I haven't beat it yet because the game gets fairly hard in the later levels.
Why You Should Check This Out: Give Up, Robot is a simple jumping puzzle game with very solid controls and a fun grappling-hook mechanic. The computer voice that taunts you every level adds another layer of frustration and determination to an already challenging shooter. It's a perfect example of why SHODAN is one of the most memorable video game villains of all time: A challenging game is all the more compelling when it's taunting your failures.