Happy Friday! What are your plans for the weekend? Something fun and exciting, I hope, since this week's Link Dump Friday contains not one but two melancholy little art games that may make you want to lay down and stare bleakly at a blank wall for a while unless you've got something sufficiently cheerful to pick you up again afterwards. Also in attendance are imprisoned man-eating animals and sociopathic wizards, so... hm. Not... the friendliest Link Dump ever, I suppose. But, ohhh! Wait! I do have candy, and I won't even ask you to get into an unmarked van for it! (The van is in the shop and I can't fit two people on an unmarked skateboard, which just doesn't have the same vibe anyway.)
- And Everything Started to Fall - Life. Don't talk to me about life. This little interactive art piece blends platforming with don't-stop-now arcade gameplay to chronicle one person's journey from cradle to grave in a series of simple pixel pictures. The goal is to stay ahead of the bottom of the screen and keep climbing upwards as your life unfolds before you. The controls are a little awkward at times, and I wouldn't call it uplifting, but, hey! Ladders! Who doesn't like ladders, amirite?
- Flying Candy - Candy! Gotta love it. Tooth-destroying, belly-bulging sweetie of my heart. And chain-reactions! Gotta love them too. This follow-up to Icy Gifts contains all the hypnotic, addictive gameplay of the original, with power-ups, flashy visuals, and bobble-eyed critters. It's not particularly deep or complex, but it will hold your brain safely and gently for you while you fill the screen with colourful explosions and your skill with gratifying sound-effects. Really, isn't that about all most of us need on a Friday morning anyway?
- Running Wizard - Retromundi knows the real reason there are no more wizards around isn't because they're "made up", but rather because their natural predators finally caught up with them. You know what I'm talking about. Castles. I mean, think about it; how many castles do you see these days? And how many wizards? Mm-hm, that's what I thought. You can try to keep this wizard alive as long as possible by vaporising castles as they appear onscreen, but it's only a matter of time. It's actually kind of... inspiring. You go, wizard! You run! You run and you don't stop! Don't let THE MAN keep you down! You never stop! *sniffle* Never! *sob*
- Royal Beasts - Did you know about the Tower of London? It turns out it wasn't just a horrible prison for misbehaving djinni, it also house the royal menagerie! Just think about it, all those majestic creatures locked up behind those walls, so far away from home!... Which is kind of sad, I guess, except for the part where all the animals have the best rap faces, which takes it right back around to being awesome. This collection of minigames features each iconic beastie and some edutainment facts, but mercifully does not include a section where you pay to see a dog or a cat fed to the lions. London, man.
- Appy 1000MG - This beautiful but phenomenally depressing and unsettling bit of platforming gameplay meets interactive art was made for Ludum Dare 20 by Sébastien Bénard. You play an adorable robot in a colourful world, who wakes up on a ledge with no memories and sets out to explore and remember... or maybe not. I love art games as much as the next person, but sometimes I think all of these developers need more hugs on a daily basis because dang. The gameplay is potentially a little frustrating, and as one of my fetching coworkers points out it may be possible to actually wind up missing enough of the terrain past a certain point that you can't finish the game without reloading. Still, it's worth playing for how short it is and how effectively and shockingly it rips the rug out from under you. Just make sure you have some Spongebob Squarepants on hand or something afterwards.