Game review: Stephen’s Sausage Roll is a unique and fun offering

Latest release from renowned indie game creator Stephen Lavelle does not disappoint with its quirky puzzles and gameplay

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 April, 2016, 12:02pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 April, 2016, 12:01pm

Stephen’s Sausage Roll

Stephen Lavelle

4.5 stars

Yup, you read that right. Stephen’s Sausage Roll. A game where you wield a massive fork and have to push wieners around conundrum-filled environments until they’re fully cooked. Sounds silly, and it really is, but it’s also one of the most involving, most challenging, most addictive puzzle experiences in recent memory.

The ‘Stephen’ in Stephen’s Sausage Roll is none other than indie gaming god Stephen Lavelle, a developer known for experiential releases like Slave of God, English Country Tune and 200-plus other small, surreal cult favourites. Despite his games often being tiny 10-minute adventures, they’re renowned among the community for their astonishing emotional and philosophical qualities. With PC game Sausage Roll, Lavelle might not dare breach the existential limits that he once had, but it’s his chance at the big time, and he has fully embraced it.

It’s hard to get into what makes Sausage Roll so great without spoiling the specifics of its many trials, and a large part of its appeal is discovering things along the way. You’re thrown fork-first into this meatfest of a world with nary a guide but a slight opening tutorial, and within that confusing mix, you have to cook these sausages. How you do it, and the many ways you can fail, make up the majority of its thoroughly unique appeal.

It helps immensely that everything flows wonderfully, which is incredibly rare in a puzzle game and no doubt challenging to program as a developer. What once felt like sheer frustration in puzzlers of the past, is here progression and a feeling of accidental discovery – which, you figure only far down the line, was far from mere chance. As the levels progress and it all reaches some of the hardest enigmas I’ve ever faced, there comes a need to push on and to truly challenge yourself – which at the end of the day, is what video games are really all about.

More than anything, Stephen’s Sausage Roll shows the ingenuity of someone who’s forever thinking outside the box. Lavelle is a gaming savant in the best possible way, a perfectionist who strives to put visual, aesthetic and mathematical perfection into a game about roasting sausages. If that’s not to be admired, I’m not sure what is.