Huzzah, I have returned (for now at least). Something new and fresh has hauled me out of my listlessness and back into the world of semi-trained quasi-professional games journalism.
Tag: The Power of Paint is a smart little first person platformer which uses colour to adjust the physical properties of surfaces - green to bounce, red to run fast, blue to stick to walls. It is a little confusing at first but, like any new feature, it quickly becomes second nature. The available game itself is short, maybe a leisurely 20 minutes or so, but this is clearly a proof-of-concept more than a fully fledged experience.
Developed by seven games students for DigiPen, Tag has already found critical acclaim with the award for Best Student Game at this year's Independant Games Festival. This puts it in good company with, among a great many other far less famous games, Narbacular Drop - the little DigiPen game that caught the eye of Valve and eventually became Portal.
Comparisons with the gaming world's cake-obsessed idol are invitable. Perhaps sadly, like portal-based platforming, Tag's core gameplay has a severely limited range of uses. If we are lucky, some developer will incorporate elements of it into a quirky or particularly moving and novel free-running game. Alternatively, it could be be forgotten. At least we still have this little rough gem to play with.
We will just have to wait and see.