Asphyx screenshot 1

If you’ve ever wondered what it must be like to drown – what’s more, in mid-air, so to speak – then golly well look no further than Asphyx, a clever little browser game by Droqen.

The premise: have a lookabout. The complication: is bloody ingenious. If your character falls in the water, and fall in the water he certainly will, you (the person, the very you) have to hold your breath. If you suck even a teat’s worth of the oh-two, you have to own up and press escape.

It’s like a handshake deal, right? No secret agent type is going to kick your chair out and give you the ol’ waterboarding if you don’t hold your breath. But you’d know. You’d carry that terrible secret to the grave.

Honestly, this is the sort of game I’d have thought I’d cheat my way through like a vagabond with a charming smile, but there is something of the magic to this. Without the self-imposed “mechanic” of holding my breath, there would be little to keep me going through Asphyx. But with this challenge, everything is different. Every plunge is imbued with urgency, and every missed jump, every fall, is a lung-punching bastard of an occurrence.

Indeed, the game hijacks the emergency signals that are pinging your brain for its own devious ends. I suppose it’s like that other form of asphyxia that nobody’s supposed to talk about.

Play it. It’s as free as the air you breathe.

(Thanks to Rock, Paper Shotgun for pointing this beauty out – and to Droqen, who is holding my head down in the virtual pool.)

PS: Asphyx reminds me, distantly, of a thoroughly awful short story by Chuck Palahniuk. What ever you do, don’t read it.

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