It’s rare that a game comes along that makes developers everywhere stand up and applaud, and even rarer that said game happens to be based around cooking sausages. Yes, that is exactly what we have in Stephen’s Sausage Roll.
At first glance, there is nothing about Stephen’s Sausage Roll that seems that impressive. Graphically speaking the game’s dated visuals harken back to around the PlayStation era, and its basic premise of a man rolling sausages around obstacles so that they may be properly grilled certainly doesn’t sound that thrilling either.
In fact, it’s almost impossible to find anything interesting about Stephen’s Sausage Roll until you actually play the game.
That’s when you realize this is perhaps one of the most clever games ever made. Stephen’s Sausage Roll is one damn tough puzzle game. The seemingly simple task of rolling sausages onto a grill is made nigh impossible by the game’s clever level design which makes moving them around as awkward as humanly possible.
What makes the game’s difficulty all the more memorable is the way that the game refuses to explain anything to you. It’s very much like Dark Souls in that regard, as the only way to really understand what is possible is through failing over and over again until you gain an understanding of what you are and are not allowed to do. Just when you think you understand what you’re doing in this game, it throws you a curveball that completely changes what has come before.
From a level design perspective, this may just be the perfect puzzle game. The levels in Stephen’s Sausage Roll are not only designed to test you to your very limits but even manage to create a cohesive in-game world by flowing into one another. Without getting into spoilers, there are some very clever things done with this concept during the later levels.
Stephen’s Sausage Roll is such an incredible accomplishment in game design that its greatest enemy is actually itself. Those that give it a shot will likely be deterred by just how unforgiving this game is, but it’s likely that many will never even give this game as hot as its marketing is virtually non-existent (the game’s Steam page doesn’t even have a full description) and the asking price of $30 is well above what you would expect for an indie game of this type.
In many ways, this game seems determined to ward away as many players as possible and perhaps that’s for the best. Stephen’s Sausage Roll’s brilliance is perhaps best reserved for the most hardcore puzzle aficionados and fellow game designers that will best be able to appreciate the work that went into it.
That being said, if this game ever does drop closer to the $10 price range, then I’d recommend it to everyone simply as a tribute to what designer Stephen Lavelle has accomplished here.
- Flawless level design
- Charming soundtrack
- Genuinely challenging puzzles
- Pretty expensive
- Limited appeal by design
End Score: 9/10