It isn’t often that somebody sits down to play a browser-based Web game unless they’re trying very hard to avoid doing something productive with their time. Unfortunately, it seems that most popular Web games that come out are just stale variations of previously made games in which you pop bubbles and/or rearrange jewelry. Ouverture Facile has nothing to do with bubbles or jewelry, and it does something that Web-based games just don’t do: It consumes your life.
Ouverture Facile is a Web-based puzzle game of French origin and means “Easy Opening.” Do not, however, let the title fool you. This is not easy and is not for puzzle game newbies. It requires a lot of thinking outside the box, math skills, basic HTML knowledge, basic Photoshop skill, hex editing knowledge and more, but, if you enjoy a good brain teaser and don’t happen to have some or any of these skills, don’t be scared away. The technical skill necessary to solve the problems you are given is usually minimal and the game’s Web site has a list of open-source programs you can use to solve the game’s many puzzles. The hard part of this game isn’t knowing how to read HTML, use Photoshop or work with a hex editor—the challenge comes in knowing when to employ these tools.
Another thing OF has over other Web games is that many brain teaser sites offer a bunch of lame, golly gee whillikers, inane riddles like the following:
OH! It says “Read between the lines!” Yeah, that’s cute, but it’s boring and not much to look at. OF, on the other hand, presents each level as an aesthetically pleasing piece of art. Don’t care? Oh, you’ll learn to really appreciate the fact that these puzzles are easy on the eyes when you inevitably start getting stuck on them for hours on end.
Even though you will get stuck, and get stuck pretty often, make no mistake: You’ll always come back for more. You’ll be mulling over each level while working, while eating and while laying, sleeplessly, in bed. You’ll find yourself stuck on a level for over an hour telling yourself “just one more level, then I’m done” only to repeat that mantra to yourself on each subsequent level you get to.
The Web site also has help forums if you need a little extra push getting through a few of the harder levels. Oh, I almost forgot the most important thing: It’s totally free (though tossing a donation their way might be nice). Overall, it’s a welcome change from your standard snood and bejeweled rip-offs.