Sacramento is a small game by French developer Dziff that, for lack of a better term, I’ll call a walking simulator. For some that reads as pejorative or dismissive of what the game has to offer—whether in its story, atmosphere, general aesthetic, or anything else that might resonate with a player—but I mean it as […]
REPVBLIC’s Military-Industrial Complex attempts to pull off the notoriously difficult task of creating a trenchant, coherent and funny political satire in the context of a videogame. It resembles, in some ways, a Mason Lindroth game: aesthetically, it reflects that grainy black-and-white palette and texture typical of Lindroth, but in more of a topical, pop art […]
From a ludic point of view, Andrew Wang’s Shadow of the Red Hand is a fairly conventional platformer. It’s short, having been made in a weekend for Ludum Dare 35, and can be played in a matter of minutes, and it does what it’s supposed to. Entertain yourself for a spell by running right for […]
[TW: discussion of genocidal violence, exploitation] My body is nearly featureless and glowing like a light bulb. I think I’m tall; I’m definitely bald. My expression is fixedly placid, a little dreamy. I’m not sure if I’m some kind of ghost, but it feels ephemeral. Nothing feels particularly solid or permanent. The camera is generally […]
CUBEISM is a browser-based Unity game by Pat Stefaniak (a.k.a Sutopat) consisting of, as the itch.io page describes it, one cube and multiple cameras. It loads to a low thrumming drone, like the hum of a cathode ray tube, while in fact two grey cubes of equal size appear projected on a black background. Using […]
Joseph Parker’s An Evening of Modern Dance presents itself, at least at first glance, with all the self-serious trappings of the real form on which it’s based. The stage before you is dark, stark, with a mise en scène that’s empty save for the dancers and the spotlights trained on them. There’s a classic red curtain and an apron, and the wall-to-wall smoothness of Unity textures make the place feel unreal, serene, and ghostly, as if carved from clay and finely sanded.
2015 was a strange and not altogether good year for games (among other things). But, if nothing else, it offered up so many great little gems that I had to stop myself from letting this year’s roundup grow to unmanageable proportions.
[TW: This piece contains a reference to suicide and self-harm. Also, spoilers abound as always.] Homesickened is a cruel and beautiful game. In it, the player must embody the fixed, first-person role of an unnamed protagonist visiting their hometown for the first time in what I interpret to be a long time. The player begins with a […]
[TW: This review contains some discussion of trauma, gore, drug use and abuse.] [Contains heavy spoilers.] I don’t think I’ve finished Loren Schmidt’s Strawberry Cubes. I’m not sure if that’s something I can even do. I could not plainly describe a narrative for you. I can say that Strawberry Cubes is beautiful and melancholy […]
[This piece contains heavy spoilers!] It would feel like a categorical mistake to focus on SURREALISTa as a “puzzle platformer.” Strictly speaking, it contains both the ludic devices of puzzle-solving and platforming, and so one inclined to focus on its value as a game may be tempted to lavish attention on these qualities. But—and I […]