Ossuary: The Hodge/Podge Transformer
Gregory and Melissa Avery-Weir of Future Proof Games bring us a surreal adventure game in Ossuary: The Hodge/Podge Transformer, a demo/prologue/standalone/I'm-still-confused/companion piece to their commercial indie title Ossuary. What's it about? Well, it's... it's, uh... well, here. You wake up in a locked room with a panicked fellow who's terrified of going outside and dealing with the people there, but everyone out there seems to exist just fine... even if they have strange ideas of what reality is, or how it works. They say there's been a Tilt, and you're there because you asked a question... but was it the wrong question, or the wrong answer? And what does that have to do with everything? Just use the [arrow] keys to move and [X] to interact and find out for yourself.
As creepy and weird as The Hodge/Podge Transformer is, it isn't, strictly speaking, a horror game. That would require it to be scary instead of merely unsettling or strange, and it's best taken as a philosophical, psychological adventure. Designed as a lead in to the full game, the gameplay here is mostly just... talking to people. It's extremely dialogue-heavy, and all you ever need to do is figure out what to say next, which isn't hard since picking the wrong choice just means you initiate your friendly chat again. There are a few simple logic puzzles, but the focus here is mostly on setting up the narrative, which can definitely take some doing to wrap your head around. Ossuary is based on Discordianism, and the cast of characters you'll meet all initially seem crazy as a result... but make a weird sort of sense in their own way once you start thinking about it. The Hodge/Podge Transformer is on the short side, but its text-heavy, initially baffling story is one that isn't for everyone, nor is it trying to be. It's mystifying, otherworldly, and not just a little creepy, and for some of us those are very good things indeed, so dip a toe into The Hodge/Podge Transformer and see if you want to keep on continuing through to the Ossuary.