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SFTW: Coil

Every week Iain Simons chooses a game so you can while away a few hours - this week it's Coil...

Edmund McMillen stands out in the gaming world for his relentless independence and provocative opinions as an artist, both of which he is happy to share. In refusing to recognise any boundary between the artist and the game developer, like his peer Jon Blow he is injecting the scene with a welcome shot of intelligent attitude. Helpfully, he also makes great games.

Best known for 2d platformer 'Gish', in which the player is cast as a ball of tar and Super Meat Boy in which - you get the idea - his work is constantly challenging not just in terms of design, but in the themes he attempts to explore.

His IGF nominated title this year is Coil, his collaboration with Florian Himsl which proclaims itself on the loading screen as being "a game with no instruction or clear direction", making it the ideal title to play whilst at the office.

Coil is a slow-paced reproductive epic which relies on simple, gestural input to reach the goals of each successive level. Set within the apparent period of an un-named species it's perhaps best approached not as a puzzle to be solved enabling any specific goal, but as a series of soft experiences to be unlocked. Predictably, it's the written text that feels like the only real misfire in it - as the self-conciously poetic prose draws a little too much framework around an otherwise wonderfully liberating piece of abstraction.

play coil

Iain Simons writes, talks and tweets about videogames and technology. His new book, Play Britannia, is to be published in 2009. He is the director of the GameCity festival at Nottingham Trent University.