One of the awesomesauce people I met at Project Horseshoe was Olivier Lejade of Mekensleep. When he told us about his company's game, Soul Bubbles, on the van ride to the conference I became instantly intrigued. It sounded cute and fun, and the more I got to know Olivier and his cleverness, the more I was curious about investigating his design work. One Amazon gift certificate later, I finally got a copy into my DS.
The game is delightful and super-elegant, and I'm really enjoying it! The world of the game is very strange: You act as a spirit herder, putting spirits in little bubbles and blowing them around to transport them, using the bubbles to solve puzzles to make your way through the level. But the weird concepts are very smartly introduced, so that by the time you start herding spirits, all the weird stuff feels natural.
Part of the delight of this game is simply the core interaction: using the DS stylus to blow around a bubble, slice it into smaller bubbles to squeeze them through small spaces, bouncing bubbles back into one another and combining them back into one big bubble, etc. The interaction makes wonderful use of the stylus and touchscreen and is a perfect fit for the DS.
Above all, Soul Bubbles just feels very, very polished. Everything is "just-so," and is not bogged down with too many features. It is very simple, but very polished, very elegant, and very fun! All the better, too, for my poor DS was stowed away and gathering dust, only coming out for long travel trips. Now I have a reason to tote it around with me more regularly.Huzzah for awesome games! Well done, Olivier :D