Hoarding solves and causes all your problems in Uurnog Uurnlimited

It's dangerously easy to break Uurnog Uurnlimited, the latest game from developer Nifflas' Games, best known for the Knytt series. It's not that it's buggy or mechanically broken. It's just that its strong central mechanic, picking up and using a seemingly endless variety of blocks, is designed to let you mess up. It looks and plays like a 2D platformer, but Uurnog is really a game about collecting things and brilliantly, intimidatingly flexible logic puzzles with multiple solutions, most of which probably aren't available to you because you screwed something up. 

It starts off simple. Stand on a block and press a button to pick it up. Easy. Now that you're holding the block, you can stack it on other blocks, throw it or activate its unique ability. Googly-eyed blue blocks, for example, explode when you use them. The explosion doesn't damage you, but it can affect nearby blocks in different ways. Some blocks change color or type, some are outright destroyed, and others might explode as well. 

The thing is, Uurnog isn't a game about blocks. It's a game about blocks and block-shaped things. Like enemies, which you can pick up Super Mario-style and then use to attack. Or like block-shaped animals—trapezoidal birds, for example. Pick them up and you can use them to flutter upward, which extends your jump height considerably. Take a bird into the main town and you can jump up towers atop which rest keys that open doors leading to new levels.

Uurnog is also a game about doors, you see, most of which are located in the Save Room, the central hub. Your hub, to be precise, always exactly as you left it, for better or worse. The Save Room is where you store your blocks, either all over the place for future use or in a machine to fill out your collection. Your goal is to finish your collection by putting all the right blocks into the machine, including explosives and enemies and animals. Presumably, completing one set of blocks unlocks a new set to collect. I wouldn't know. I haven't cleared the first set. I've been busy systematically ruining everything. 

The easiest way to get blocks back to your Save Room is to throw in them in one of the teleporters scattered around levels. You can put up to nine blocks in a teleporter before you have to return home to empty it out, but luckily you can also use it to teleport back to your Save Room, whereupon your stored blocks will rain down in the order you deposited them. But sometimes they don't stack neatly. Sometimes they roll and bounce around. And sometimes this causes the gun you just bought to roll onto its side, fire, hit the explosives you've been stockpiling, detonating them and destroying the jewels you ill-advisedly stored next to the explosives. You know, just as an example. 

Now we're getting to what Uurnog is really about: disastrous chain reactions. Accidentally destroying the blocks in your save room is one of the most common and painful examples, but there are plenty of other ways to screw up, right down to the smallest interactions. Remember that you have to stand on a block to pick it up, meaning there needs to be space above it. So if you bump into a block and knock it into a low corner, it will be stuck. Poof, a no-doubt important and valuable block is now off-limits because you elbowed it.

The no-block zones in many levels are another timeless example. In addition to your Save Room, you can store up to four blocks in your inventory. It's intuitive to build your own toolkit this way, stowing and retrieving birds or bombs or guns as you need them, but it's also a good way to lose blocks. Because if you thoughtlessly take something out of your inventory in a no-block zone, you can't put it back in. It's stuck there forever unless you can find a way to bring it out of the zone, which you probably can't because you can't fit blocks through some doors. So if you needed that block to progress, you'll have to find another solution instead.

You wouldn't know it from its cute, bright art, but Uurnog is as punishing as it is open-ended. You have to treat your blocks with care and really think about your actions. But it's cathartic to store and stack blocks neatly, it's fun to set up bonkers chains reactions, and it's rewarding to see your solutions work. Uurnog is a deceptively deep puzzle game where you're always one misstep from disaster. There's no telling how many puzzles and bosses and solutions it's hiding. I look forward to finding a way to mess those up as well.