You Are Games: Vern Edition
The following is a selection of favorite games compiled and reviewed by JIG community member, Vern. It is also one of the winning entries from our previous call for submissions for community favorites, for which Vern will be showered with fireworks in honor of the US holiday this week (and some free games, too!). Thanks to everyone who shared their favorites with us! Look for more community favorites in the coming weeks.
- Loved - In real life, you follow orders. Why? Because then you don't get fired or kicked out of school or put in jail. It's a lose-lose situation, and it sucks! In Alexander Ocias' Loved, disobeying orders is not only a totally viable choice, it even rewards you with a lifetime of philosophical musing, and I don't mean the kind you get when you're behind bars. Loved has a clear, minimalistic art style that complements its decision-and-response gameplay and its unnerving storyline. Something about the game is both compelling and repulsive; from the very first identity-denying choice, the game pulls you into its strange, empty world. It's worth a playthrough, if not two or more, since it has a few easter eggs for more dedicated players. Give Loved a go — and do NOT fail.
- Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP - We saw Sword & Sworcery described as mythopoetic psychocosmology & we were like man, I have no idea what that means, but I'm totally down with that. While I can't pretend to understand some of the portmanteaus that the Sword & Sworcery team uses to describe its work, I can say that it is nothing short of awesome. Sworcery's gorgeous pixelated visuals, surreal fantasy adventure, anachronistic humor and unmistakable style combine to make an indie gem. If all that didn't convince you, maybe the presence of a philosopher dog and a dancing nudist bear-man will. The game itself lasts just a couple of hours, or maybe a couple of weeks (it contains a mechanic that monitors the phases of the moons but which can be cheated or side-stepped), but its simple gameplay and enjoyable characters will entertain you the whole way through. Beware, though — you'll use ampersands for weeks after you play.
- Endeavor - Knytt-likes are dime-a-dozen in this day and age, sure, but the story backing up endeavor is totally worth the time it takes to play through it. Starring a dwarf with a couple of jerk brothers, endeavor sends you on the quest to access your parent's treasure. Only problem is, your stubby legs can't send you nearly high enough to reach, and on your way to collecting mysterious jump-enhancing fruit you fall the long way down from your lofty home. Down below is a vast and beautiful world, inhabited by beings such as the mystical MALOR... While the gameplay in endeavor is nothing to write home about, the world of the game feels appropriately huge and fantastical and the story is really enjoyable, if a bit predictable. Besides, any opportunity to be a dwarf is totally worth it, especially if it doesn't involve building complex lava traps.
- Dead Like Ants - Your mother is the queen, and she has given you — you! Of all your sisters! — the responsibility to negotiate with five creatures threatening the safety of your people. Even through the text-only gameplay of this interactive fiction piece, the experience of your character is beautiful and detailed. IF games always seem willing to push the envelope when it comes to interesting and unexpected narratives, and Dead Like Ants is no exception. I can't say much without spoiling the story and ruining the experience, but I can say that there are no games of guess-the-verb to be found here. The gameplays never ruins the flow of the storytelling and the characters are believable and intriguing. Dead Like Ants makes seeing through the eyes of an ant seem right ... even if what ends up happening might seem wrong.
While we welcome any comments about this particular selection of games, we do ask that if you need any help with individual games, or wish to comment on the games featured here, please post your questions and comments on the respective game's review page.