PC/Mac/Linux
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Game Info:

Plush
Developed by: Red Head Games
Published by: Red Head Games
Released: February 13, 2015
Available on: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Steam OS, 
Genre: Puzzle
Number of players: 1 
Price: $3.99

Thank you, Red Head Games, for sending us a copy of this game to review!

I am a parent, and I'm sure that I'm not alone when it comes to bedtime, and the dialogue goes something like this:

Me: It is time for bed!

Daughter: OK. But first I need to arrange my animals.

Me: OK, I'll give you five minutes.

Five minutes later....

Me: OK, time for bed!

Daughter: I can't! Jigglypuff and Rainbow Dash have been fighting so they can't sleep next to each other. Mr. Whiskers is tired of hearing them fight, so he's there at the bottom of my bed, but he needs to be next to Susiecat. But Susiecat needs to sleep next to Bingo, and you know she only likes to sleep right here next to my head. And then....

This is the premise – and likely the inspiration – for the game Plush by Red Head Games. You play a little girl named Penny, and its time for bed. But first, she needs to have all her stuffed animals in places where all of them will be happy. Each animal has different rules based on their natures. For example, Mr. Unicorn doesn't like to be close to anyone by My Silly Pony. Scaredycat likes to sleep next to other animals, but will move quickly away from any other animal that approaches him. And no one likes to sleep next to Mr. Stinkypants the skunk... including other Mr. Stinkypants!

Plush
Highlights:

Strong Points: Fun puzzles; pleasing music; good physics; nice variety of challenges.
Weak Points: Simplistic premise; somewhat dated graphics; may bore more mature gamers; only available on Steam.
Moral Warnings: None!

The game display shows the bedspread, and contains pillows which are unmovable. The stuffed animals can be clicked on and dragged across the bed. The physics of the game are fairly solid, and you can drag animals by their heads, limbs, or tails, if they have them. The quicker you move the animal, the more others will react, or the more they will bounce once released. When all the animals are happy, the level will be completed, and the next one will be unlocked. 

Each level can be played with three difficulty levels. The easy one allows the player to do whatever they want – except move the pillows, of course – to make the animals happy. Normal difficulty adds a rule where if any of the animals touches the floor, the level needs to be restarted. The hardest difficulty removes the circular indicators around the animals, so you'll have to remember how close you can get animals to each other before they react.

The music to the game is nice and soothing – perfect for bedtime! The voice acting is also nice, with a deep-voiced narrator providing the instructions, and Penny saying silly things based on what's happening on the screen (for example, "Get off my bed" in a gruff voice when she knocks one of her brother's tanks onto the floor). Although the graphics seem a little dated, they are very nice, and it's easy to tell what's going on. As an additional bonus, the game also features a "colorblind" mode, which places a semitransparent "X" across animals that are not happy. When quitting the game, it even offers a friendly dialogue box asking "Is it your bedtime?"

Plush
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 86%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 100%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The game contains 40 puzzles, as well as a "sandbox" mode where the player can do whatever they want with the animals – and as many of the animals they want – without having to worry about bedtime at all. There is a timer for the levels, but only one of the achievements requires the goal to be met within a certain time limit (and that's the very first level, so not much of a challenge). 

For moral concerns, this game is as clean as they come, which is probably one of the reasons why it won the Mom's Choice Award. While playing the game, it made me think about the game marketplace as a whole. Here we have a game that focuses simply on fun. There's no complicated controls, no agendas, no violence, no foul language... just innocent fun that seems hard to find any more in this industry. Frankly, I think a lot of game developers can learn a lot from this example. Games are supposed to be fun, right? 

Admittedly, the premise of the game is remarkably simplistic. Although some of the puzzles can be challenging – especially on the harder difficulty modes – the premise remains the same throughout the entire game. As a result, the game isn't very long, and every level can be unlocked through easy mode in less than two hours. The lack of variety might bore some more mature players, but the game is perfect for younger children. Another thing I would have liked to see would be an option to change the look of the bedroom – especially to add some color contrast between the colored circles around the animals and the bedspread.

All in all, Plush is a rare gem of a game. It brings an element of childish fun to the selection of games out there, and I heartily recommend it to players who enjoy puzzles, or stuffed animals. Parents can also rest assured that this game can be played without any serious concerns. And at $3.99, it is well worth the price.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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