Your daughter Suzanne is having a house party for her "artsy" friends, and she insists that you, her mother, don't need to help. In this short but very sweet free indie game, you'll wander the house and get to know your daughter and her friends a little better... often just by watching quietly from the sidelines.
Just what is Mu Complex, and what lies at its heart? The only way to find out is by hacking into its systems! In this hybrid text adventure/puzzle/riddle game, you'll explore the intranet of the mysterious complex, desperately searching for... something. Master the old-fashioned computer commands, scan e-mails for clues, and even solve mysteries using real-world information and trivia in order to discover the complex's secrets!
In this free indie visual novel, Nigel's life is pretty calm and that's just the way he likes it, until a bunch of strange disappearance begin baffling police, and a weird woman moves in who begins changing his life... but for better or worse?
Eight's scared and confused when she wakes unable to remember her name or much else about her life in a strange place, so she's relieved when she recognizes a boy she somehow KNOWS is her brother, even if he's in the same boat. Created for NaNoRenO, this free indie visual novel is often sad and bittersweet, but focuses on being bruised but not broken and the difference having someone who loves you can make in your life.
As the only daughter of a large Chinese family in 1920s San Francisco, you never suspected you were a magician, but when you wind up bartending at a very special speakeasy, you learn just that in this fast but fun and beautiful free indie otome visual novel made for NaNoReNo.
In this quirky free indie visual novel adventure made in just a few months, you find yourself conscripted into a party of legendary heroes who aren't so legendary or heroic these days. Can you help them save themselves before they can save the world... and maybe even find a little romance?
Join disaffected twenty-something Kelly as she makes an awkward phone call while driving in the rain, in Three Fourths Home, a piece of indie interactive art by Bracket Games. It is a work that is heavy on text and theme, and light on humor and action. Still, fans of thought-provoking interactive literature should not miss it.
Ryan North, Kate Beaton, Anthony Clark and more combine talents to make one behemoth of a Choose Your Own Adventure gamebook with a seriously comedic style for iOS and Android as well as Mac, PC, and Linux. In the iconic tale of Hamlet, do you follow the rules... or do you play as someone else entirely and travel through time, thwart terrorists, advance ghost marine biology, and more?
You've finally managed to snag an invitation to a magical ball... but when they only want beautiful people there, how are you supposed to go about making yourself "beautiful" with your limited (and weird!) cosmetics? A short but funny and engaging Twine tale with seven routes and endings to discover.
Mysterious incidents occur on a cruise ship half a century apart, and it's up to you to discover the truth in The Misadventures of Detective Butler, a mystery visual novel by Goldbar Games. While two-dimensional characters hold the story from reaching its full potential, it is an entertaining yarn with a classic Golden Age Whodunnit feel and polished visuals and sound.
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to colonize a distant planet? Jump into the shoes of a space pioneer in this sci-fi interactive fiction. The decisions you make effect not just your relationship with your new husband, but potentially the whole planet. What will you choose?
Returning from school abroad in France, your new life in America is hard to get used to... there's the local bully who's the only person(s) you know, the kids you're just getting to know, and, oh, the person who had your locker before you seems to have vanished under mysterious circumstances. Find out why, or find friends and romance in this LGBTQ-friendly visual novel episodic adventure for iOS and Android!
In this creepy Choose Your Own Adventure Kindle horror tale (use one of the free Kindle apps to play!), a desperate phone call from your eccentric brother sets you off on a mission to find and rescue him. But time is running out, and there are things in the dark you may not be prepared to deal with.
Nabi's family curse means finding love could be deadly, but she's got more on her mind than romance with school starting... and an old friend who's suddenly avoiding her. A short but sweet visual novel.
Sometimes it's not so bad to rely only on yourself. Especially when there are multiple versions of you lying around, and they can freeze in space in time to become useful platforms and stepping-stones for you to get around on. Help one man... er, men... escape from the dark place he... er, they have become trapped in. Never has the phrase "pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps" been so literal as it is in this thematic puzzle-platformer.
Set forth across the vast and unknowable Unterzee in this engrossing blend of Choose Your Own Adventure style storytelling and naval seafaring and combat from the creators of Fallen London... and set in the same world to boot! Create your captain and forge a great legacy, dealing with undying colonists, cannibalism, giant tentacles, and much, much more as you explore a nightmarishly entrancing world.
In this interactive comic that follows the first Ghostbusters movie, the guys find themselves dealing with a very unusual spook. Choose the next panel to impact the story, and kick back for a pitch-perfect, funny homage to the beloved franchise.
Trapped and in isolation from the world your only solace comes through letters that are slipped under your door. Who are these people who send you letters? Are they even real? And would it matter if they are not?
You wake up, confused, unable to speak, naked, and threatened with a gun by a young man at the end of the world who seems surprised to find you're human in this free indie visual novel. Your choices determine the heroine's personality and feelings as you struggle to find out what happened to you in this romantic post-apocalyptic tale.
In this massive indie visual novel, Eri wakes up one morning to find her doll collection has come to life, making her home lively and happy for the first time since the death of her grandfather. But is it all as sweet and whimsical as it seems? With a tremendous amount of replay value, secret endings, and high production value, Nameless isn't without its flaws, but still stands as a powerhouse of the otome genre.
Take a little, take it all, or take nothing in this unique, clever game from Stephen Lavelle and Terry Cavanagh. You're trying to decide what to pack in your tiny suitcase, and what you take and what you alternately leave behind determines the short story and premise that unfolds, with unlockable items and new combinations to discover on new playthroughs!
Available as a paid browser game, a download, or in your pocket for your mobile device, this meaty, smart text adventure takes you through thirty years of your own life as a fledgling roboticist, where your every decision can drastically change the world around you. Both philosophical and funny when it needs to be, Choice of Robots offers a massive amount of replay value, and a whole lot of food for thought.
Everyone is always bothered by the unexplained bump in the night. But what if the noise is more simple, like someone rustling in the supposedly empty bunk below you. Each night you are haunted by nightmares, but they are nothing compared to what happens when you are awake.
In this compelling and grim indie simulation, you control a group of survivors struggling to get by day to day in an increasingly dangerous city that's turned into a war zone. As the days pass, you're forced to push the limits of what you're comfortable with in order to survive, and rather than glorifying war for heroics, This War of Mine humanizes it for its people.
Short but more than a little sweet, this free indie adventure inspired by The Little Prince follows a small, newly built robot who makes an unusual friend and discovers the importance of love and friendship for a cozy, effortlessly charming experience.
The moon is falling from the sky, and all you can do is watch. Fortunately, that's something you're good it. It's Moonkid, a piece of interactive art by Mike Salyh. Slow-paced and artsy, Moonkid won't be for everyone. However, its haunting evocative nature definitely makes it worth seeing for yourself.
One lonely little boy's whole life is changed when he discovers an injured bird in this stunning interactive narrative by Freebird Games, creators of beloved indie adventure To the Moon, that should not be missed.
- • Ao Oni
- • Ascension
- • Halloween Otome
Hide your kids, hide your 'fraidy-cats, 'cause we're spoopin' everybody! This week, three more free indie games to celebrate the freaky season, from a cute and romantic visual novel set in a very unique Halloween party, to a sidescrolling psychological action adventure, and a classic monster tale made by a very talented escape game developer.
Sisters Kat and Aria are lost alone in the woods at night when they accidentally cross paths with two men who don't have the friendliest intentions. How far will they go to save themselves in this Choose Your Own Adventure style text-based tale?
Getting stuck in an elevator is bad enough, but getting stuck with eight strangers, one of whom is a killer, is even worse. People are picked off one by one as the lights go out in this short interactive movie, and you'll have to figure out which one of them is the killer to get the best ending.
Ethan Carter is missing, and a series of gruesome murders are happening throughout the isolated town of Red Creek. Paul Prospero is the occult detective Ethan had been writing to before his disappearance, but what Paul uncovers is just as said as it is shocking and unsettling in this gorgeous indie horror adventure.
Bottle Rockets is a sci-fi platform game by James Earl Cox III set to the song "Alberto Balsam" by Aphex Twin. A short artistic work about mothers, daughters, and space, it integrates a glitchy aesthetic quite well into the plot and gameplay, and will generally succeed in making those who play it feel all the feels.
A twine interactive fiction game where you play as someone living with depression, developed by Zoe Quinn, Patrick Lindsey and Isaac Schankler, Depression Quest hopes to offer empathy and sympathy for what can be a very painful condition. Some awkward prose is balanced by its ambitiousness in subject matter, and makes a convincing case for how games can help us all understand each other better.
The 3DS hit installment of the beloved visual novel adventure series comes to iOS in this stunning port with a free first episode. Play as Phoenix Wright, Apollo Justice, and newcomer junior lawyer Athena Cykes as they work to prove the innocence of their clients in outrageous mysteries where you'll need a keen eye and a clever mind to spot lies, evidence, and more.
Phileas Fogg has made a bet that he can travel around the world in 80 days, and as his faithful valet Passepartout, it's your job to see that he succeeds, be it by airship, train, automobile, or... mechanical horse? A rollicking alternative history simulation adventure with deep lore and tons of replay value for your iOS.
Available free or pay-what-you-want, this gorgeous indie visual novel dating sim starts you off in a new city filled with a wide variety of people. Shy Conor resists the efforts of outgoing Oli to get him to date, flighty Lily is desperate to save the family business, and more. Though on the short side, it's a fun, smile-inducing romance game with a ton of charm.
Descend into a dungeon with your brother Erasmus in this strange Twine text adventure, again and again and again and again. Failure is often the only way forward, so explore and experiment if you expect to uncover any of the game's endings, much less the real one.
Something is very wrong. There is an energy of unknown origin and intent seeping into our world. It is known as Exotic Matter. Join the Enlightenment or the Revolution in this massively popular mmo and hunt down that unknown energy in your local neighborhood.
You're dying and you wonder to yourself, "Will my life really pass before my eyes?" In this game, it just might, but it will depend on your focus and mind power. Part brain-training, part life history, this compelling game is likely to be one of the most unusual mobile games you pick up this year.
You Were Made For Loneliness, a Twine narrative adventure by the Tsukareta author collective, weaves a tale of memory, the post-apocalypse, regret, murder, and in its own skewed way, love. It's a disjointed presentation, heavy on experimentation, but those who love exploring and piecing together a narrative from many component parts will find it a very intriguing experiation.
Like her namesake in One Thousand and One Night, Scheherazade Williams is a story-teller. Fresh off her latest success, and two new Holly Awards, she opens her email to discover that it's not enough for her bosses at Narrative, Inc.--they want more, and they want it now! But after 500 stories for this commercial enterprise, the well of new stories has run dry.
A killer stalks the city streets, pursued by another... you. In this short but polished visual novel, you play an unnamed woman with mysterious abilities and strange company who sets out to find a missing girl, but maybe not to bring her home safely.
After a late night, you awake to find something is off in your tiny apartment... namely, the enormous chains locking you in, and the way you can't use your phone to call for help. In this short and surreal atmospheric puzzle adventure, you'll need to search not only for a way out, but also for meaning.
Though some people may find it hard to watch at times, this short interactive visual novel/story takes place over one night in 2010, as the narrator's boyfriend urges him to come out to his parents. Make your choices, but do so carefully, since everyone remembers everything you say.
A mystery has erupted in the peaceful zombie society and its up to Detective Margh and his sidekick Ghvnn to figure it out. Read along and help Margh make choices that will alter the plot in future chapters and perhaps find out that this mystery goes deeper than you thought.
Heartwood is a short audio-visual adventure created by Kerry Turner and Dan Bibby. It was inspired by folk tales, horror movies, theme park rides, and those dreams you have where nothing makes sense but everything "makes sense". There aren't really any puzzles to solve or quests to complete, just a small world of strange events to stroll through and experience.
A fantastic art game with an arresting pixel-based art style, this physics-based platformer follows a rebel searching for their lost love in an alien-infested world. But it's not about the aliens. It's about survival, loneliness, and the sacrifices we make for those we love.
What started out as a simpler, shorter puzzle game with a sweet love story has been revised into a more substantial—and snarkier—endeavor for fans and newcomers alike. Help Ben and Isabelle navigate through limbo in more than 75 levels of diverse and complex tile-removing puzzles.
Short but stylish and effective, this narrative-based bit of interactive art takes cues from classics like I, Robot as you interrogate a robot suspected of murder... even though he doesn't exactly see it that way.
You find yourself all alone in this supremely disturbing horror story... just you, the dust motes, the sunlight... and the knives on the table. Follow the notes to search for clues to find out what's happened, but be warned, you might not want to know.
Jonas Kyratzes delivers an experience both magical and melancholy in this Twine-based choose-your-own-adventure game as you play one of seven heroes chosen to take up arms against a legendary beast that rises every hundred years to bathe the land in flame.
Social Caterpillar is a refreshingly original game about introversion, and goes about demonstrating what it's like by modelling the game's mechanics from it. Conversations with other characters take on the look and feel of an old-school RPG battle, but instead of attacking you're presented with some bizarre shape pattern or geometrical design and must use the [arrows] to navigate the conversation by choosing the appropriate shape or pattern in response.
Less a game and more a community-driven storytelling experiment, this collection of tales and comics from different authors and artists covers everything from serious sci-fi to epic fantasy, and even humour. The catch? You get to vote on how each new installment of the stories you're reading will go.
Silvian is down on his luck, and running afoul of a local thieves guild doesn't help matters. He's taking a job to find out what's wrong in a neighbouring town, but before he leaves he has some items to gather. A short first installment to a new dark fantasy point-and-click adventure from Black Olive Games.
It's easy to immerse yourself in this beautiful, atmospheric audio-visual adventure by Connor Sherlock, but your time is limited. You have only 20 minutes before The Rapture Is Here And You Will Be Forcibly Removed From Your Home. So what do you do? Run! Use [WASD] to move and your mouse to look all around. Explore until your curiosity is rewarded with discovery. Or stand around and wait. It's up to you.
The sun hangs unmoving in the sky, and the threat of the creatures known as the dredge puts even more strain on an uneasy truce between the humans and the giants known as varl. In this stunning and challenging turn-based strategic RPG/visual novel, the choices you make determines who lives and dies as you take an epic journey that will change the face of the world and the people who live in it.
They call it the Place of Bones, and that's where you find yourself trapped in this surreal and unsettling indie game. Surrounded on all sides by different factions and people caught up in their own strange wants and desires, you'll have to solve puzzles and use sins to corrupt those around you into changing their views and thoughts.
Created as a prologue/demo/companion piece to the commercial indie title Ossuary, this strange and somewhat unsettling adventure will take you on a psychological and philosophical narrative as you unravel what happened to cause your journey to be thrown off tilt on your way to the Place of Bones.
A Cheyenne Odyssey is the second in the series of Mission US educational point-and-click adventure game titles focusing on American History, created by Electric Funstuff under the auspices of New York PBS Station Channel 13. The year is 1866. You are Little Fox, a twelve-year old member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe. Over the next ten years, your traditional way of life will see many changes. But as the world changes, so does the Cheyenne. And so must you. Another excellent installment of the Mission US series, if hampered by a few too many talking-head conversations.
Eva and Neil work for an organization that can alter your memories... but this season, they're just up to a little office party mischief. In this short holiday themed adventure that follows after indie hit To the Moon, you'll learn a little bit more about what happens at SigCorp... and get a lead in to the hotly anticipated sequel.
Choice of the Deathless combines the rich, imaginative gameplay of the classic all text adventures of yesteryear and fuses them with the evocative and fully-realized world of Max Gladstone's novels.
When you're related to the King of All Cosmos, you might expect some preferential treatment, but acting out (even accidentally) still lands you in detention in this bizarre visual novel dating simulation chock full of strange characters from Namco Bandai and Homestock! With six free characters to interact with and twelve more available via microtransaction if you wish, it's funny, clever, and unexpectedly touching.
Dan and his family have come to an isolated summer home for a few months to let Dan work on his new book, but each of them has their own wants and problems to deal with, and the choices they make will shape their relationships and their lives in unexpected ways, even if it seems impossible to make everyone happy. Part stealth adventure, part interactive art, this is a unique and compelling indie game best suited to players who favour slow introspection and character drama.
We covered Failbetter Games' eerie and elegant text-based MMO RPG three years ago when it was called Echo Bazaar, and now the game is bigger and better than ever. In a vast subterranean city where secrets are currency, Hell has an embassy, and murder and romance go hand in hand, create a character and take part in tons of unlockable storylines as you grow.
Lynnea Glasser (formerly Dally) returns to the interactive fiction scene with Coloratura. Play as a displaced alien who only seeks to get away from the blind, apathetic humans and return to their place of bliss. Without the ability to directly manipulate objects, you can 'color' the humans moods to create situations beneficial to your goal. Whether dealing with them violently or more peacefully, you will get back to your resting place. Whatever it takes.
When college student Miranda stumbles across a castle in Belgium after getting lost late one night, the last thing she expected was to find out vampires are real. Now, she's being held prisoner by two of them while they wait for the rest of the family to return in two weeks... but is there more to Adrian and Luca than meets the eye? A short but gorgeous pay-what-you-want visual novel with six endings and a dark side.
Enter into a surreal thriller where the written word is both your narrator and your map. Follow the story as it leads you through six chapters, providing clues to unraveling its riddles through sounds, narrative, and images. Everything from design decisions, interactions, art and, even you, is part of the story in this remarkably unique mystery adventure game by Simogo.
Day in, day out, Stanley works at his desk pushing keys the way he's told... until one day the orders stop coming and he realises his office is empty. He strikes out to uncover the truth, guided by an omnipresent narrator, and that's what this game is about. Isn't it? Galactic Cafe delivers one of the most surprising, compelling, and unexpectedly delightful indie experiences in a long time.
In a powerful flash and beam of light, Greg's girlfriend disappears right before his eyes. Set sometime in the near future, this sci-fi mystery adventure puts you in the middle of gorgeous 3D environments. A point-and-click style interface allows you to explore your surroundings, solve puzzles and converse with characters while the truths are slowly revealed in the unfolding story.
Your choices determine the outcome of this choose your own adventure style interactive comic book. Explosions and red clouds are on the horizon. Your cell phone loses reception. Something bad is going on...will you survive? Whether you help others along the way or decide it's every man or woman for themselves, This is Not a Test offers up a great story.
Jeff has a job just like anyone else, but unlike you or me, his job includes rolling into the paranormal and sorting things out. In this short interactive tale, he finds himself called in with the rest of his team late one night to fix a problem... only it might not be fixable. A charming mix of freaky and funny, Catachresis is begging for a bigger, bolder sequel.
In this follow up to 2012's hit text-based superhero RPG, as a relatively newly established powered hero you find yourself struggling to juggle a failing public opinion, increasingly dangerous anti-powered sentiments... and rent. When the option to take part in a reality TV show designed to create the next great hero defense force presents itself you leap at it... but there are more dangers around you and those you love than you might expect.
In this refreshing twist on an isometric puzzler from Terry Cavanagh, young Naya lives in a post-apocalyptic world and goes searching for something to aid in her quest for clarity. Blending puzzle-platforming with mind-bending level design and a sparse yet atmospheric story, it's as compelling as it is challenging, minus a few bumps along the way.
Why is it that something bad always happens to space research missions? You play Captain Robert in this narrative-driven exploration game, made for Ludum Dare 27. After waking up from a bad bump on the head, you'll need to explore your ship to discover the fate of your crew and piece together all the mysterious things going on.
1897. The country of Galicia has been wracked by conflict between opposing economic and ideological factions. They meet under one roof during an uneasy time of peace. As an avatar of death, you must take the life of one, and live with the consequences in Postmortem, an adventure game by Jakub Kasztalski. A serious text-heavy work, but those intruigued by intrigue should find it quite intriguing indeed.
It's tempting to fake redact half of this review, just to fit in with the theme of Blackbar. We'll resist the temptation, though, as this is a game that's worth talking about. Created by Nevan Mrgan, Blackbar is a word-based puzzle game where you sift through letters written to and from characters and try to figure out which words were blanked out by the Department of Communications. It's one part sci-fi story game, one part political statement, and three parts just plain awesome.
Where Analogue: A Hate Story dealt with unraveling the reason behind why the Mugunghwa had been dead adrift in space for so many years, the visual novel Hate Plus focuses on both a greater understanding of one of the core characters... and the most questioned aspect, the how and the why society aboard the great ship regressed in the way that it did to such a horrifying degree.
Janie is baffled as to why her boyfriend, Mike, told her he needed a break a month ago, and she doesn't understand why her friend Trina keeps telling her to calm down and try a new perspective. In this visual novel style story made to raise awareness for teen dating violence, you'll have to help Janie explore her memories and her life to come to some unpleasant but necessary revelations about her relationship... and herself.
Gone Home is an unconventional story exploration adventure game created by The Fullbright Company. It's a game that's void of traditional puzzles, flashy cutscenes, and hidden rooms filled with guns and ammo. Somehow, though, it manages to capture your curiosity from the beginning and never, ever let go. Anyone who enjoys a good mystery or the feeling of uncovering a story piece by piece should check out Gone Home right away. Everyone else should read the rest of this article, then go play the game!
Terra Coda is an adventure game originally developed by Zillix for Ludum Dare 19, now re-released in a polished form, wherein you live and relive the life of a time-skipping alien organism trying to escape from disaster. It's a game that throws you in at the deep end, but one that very much evokes the thrill of discovery.
Icarus is stuck in a dream world and needs: to wake up, to find kit, a key... and anything else that will help him navigate from one end of this narrative adventure to the next. The true joy of playing, though, comes in exploring Daniel Merlin Goodbrey's witty comic strip—story and gameplay work seamlessly together and that's all we need to enjoy it!
A simple road trip becomes a nightmare when four friends are stranded in a strange mansion by a swamp, and things start going... wrong. Could it be the mermaid's curse? Mermaid Swamp, a free horror adventure by Uri, is disturbing in ways that many other games aren't, but handles the subject matter well and, in the end, provides a chilling and memorable horror experience.
In the middle of the US Civil War, a soldier has been captured and is about to be executed by hanging. If only the rope would break, perhaps he could make his way home... An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge, made by Seemingly Pointless, is an artsy adaptation of a story that many of you may already know. Does it hold up? That's for you to decide.
In Lethal Dose, the new interactive movie by DonkeyWoman, you play the part of a femme very fatale, carrying out assassinations against whatever poor sap has crossed someone rich enough to make them disappear. But when demons from her past begin to resurface, the choice of targets will soon end up being hers alone. Aesthetically amazing, though heavy on the quick time events.
Beth's led a difficult life, and she's just starting to find happiness as an adult... and then she gets sick. Does she give up, or does she keep fighting? Labyrinthine Dreams is a unique game, combining an emotional, human story with maze-solving, in a way that fits together much more seamlessly than you'd think.
Daedelic Entertainment's point-and-click adventure game The Night of the Rabbit is the equivalent of your childhood picturebooks: visually and aurally lush, with a cast of charming animal characters and a human boy as the plucky protagonist. It's an engaging companion for an evening's play but unfortunately it can also be a little too long-winded for its own good.
7 Grand Steps is a new story-driven game from Mousechief, creator of the multi-award-winning Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble. It's a tale of growing and evolving, progress and struggles, families and histories, all told through the lens of a token-operated machine. In practice, 7 Grand Steps is very much like a board game fused with interactive narrative elements. And like any game of substance, just talking about its parts doesn't do justice to the whole. This game will reach out and grab you on a whole different level. It has this uncanny ability to make you feel for the characters, which is surprising seeing as how you're just dropping tokens into slots.
Undertale is a narrative RPG game currently in the works by Toby Fox. A demo has been released featuring 30-45 minutes of gameplay, and because it's such a unique experience, we couldn't wait to share it. Undertale is the story of a human girl who falls into the monster-controlled underworld where she encounters napping ghosts, mobile vegetables, malevolent flowers and a butterscotch pie. It's a little slice of Anodyne or Earthbound told through simple visuals and charming characters, and after playing the preview you won't be able to wait for the full version.
The Yawhg is coming... but nobody knows it yet, and in the six weeks leading up to its arrival to your cheerfully oblivious town, you'll guide up to four people in their daily lives. The choices you make and the skills you have them learn will come into play when the time comes, but more than anything else, this gorgeous and surreal fantasy visual novel/choose-your-own-adventure indie game is a fantastical piece of narrative work with tons of replayability.
Seven children are trapped in what remains of their town, along with the child who caused all that destruction in the first place. Can they save themselves? Why is Yuuichi doing this, and is he beyond redemption? Also, you can die by jumping on a bed, there are killer princesses everywhere, and the kids constantly have bizarre conversations about very adult topics. Re: Kinder is a very strange game, but one with a surprising amount of emotional depth.
If Beret Applications' Demon Chic were a person it would be a Brooklyn-dwelling record store clerk riding a fixie to a farmer's market while listening to Yo La Tengo. It would be of the species Homo ironicus—in other words, the creature popular culture has dubbed the hipster. Yet, astonishingly, the game is neither as insufferable nor pretentious as this analogy would suggest. Instead this mobile piece of art instead is an entirely successful marriage of action RPG gameplay with an absurd, darkly funny, and frequently touching story.
Money, or freedom. Which will you choose? McBank: The Puzzle of Money and Freedom uses stark, humorous imagery wrapped around a series of quick puzzles that play on the theme of the uneven distribution of wealth and power in modern society. Even though most of the world's money is controlled by a relative few people, the masses continue to support them with their purchases and actions. McBank forces you to to choose with each level you complete, and the results aren't always pretty.
After your rather unceremonious birth, you're sent to the temple of the Silene Monks, where you choose whether to be a medic, a warrior or an engineer. From there, it's up to you to make the right choices to fulfill your destiny and, most crucially, not die. But Trial of the Clone is more than a simple choose-your-own-adventure. Along the way you'll gain stat points, weapons and items, which you can keep track of via a built-in D&D-style Adventure Sheet. These come to play in battles which pop up occasionally and affect the course of the story. Battles are pretty simple: You deal damage to your opponent based on your given stats plus a random number from 0 to 3, and then your opponent does the same — the last one standing wins. Loss in a battle doesn't necessarily mean death; it may just mean being relocated to a different department (say, engineering, where physical strength, ability and charisma are less in demand).
Developed in just one month, a2 is a remarkable achievement of a visual novel that packs a serious punch in its narrative. Sona's just going through the motions trying to run the orchestra her deceased estranged father left her, and Hao has just arrived from China to help conduct and doesn't speak a lick of English. But between these two very different people lies some unexpected common ground, and the end result is a story with real heart, honesty, and humour.
New from inkle studios, the team that brought the interactive novel Frankenstein to iOS in 2012, Steve Jackson's Sorcery! is a digital re-imagining of the Fighting Fantasy roleplaying gamebooks. You don't have to be a fan of the classic series to enjoy Sorcery!, nor do you have to be an avid reader (or own a pair of dice). You just need a little bit of curiosity and a love of interactive stories.
The most frightening things are often the ones you can't see. It stands to reason, then, that in a world where nothing is visible, just about everything is frightening. The Nightjar is an audio adventure from Papa Sangre that uses a rudimentary visual interface to allow you to explore a sci-fi horror adventure world. Every sound has a meaning, and every step moves you through a dark labyrinth of mental images. Now let's see if you can escape this ship you've been stranded on without getting eaten by one of those "complex, non-human" lifeforms!
A dark chamber, a missing memory, and a splitting headache... to get to the truth and find your way out, you'll have to encounter some uncomfortable truths as you solve puzzles and explore in this atmospheric horror text adventure.
Hours before her big performance, Florence finds out that someone has sabotaged the entire concert. Seeing that her friends are busy throwing up their arms in despair, she decides to save the day herself. Follow her as she scurries through hallways, rifles shelves and fixes pianos in this cute story-driven exploration game.
Dr. Sianos B. Sian is an expert in memory, but his new patient, B.D., barely has any memories at all... only the color red. Can he help her put things together and discover her past? Palette, a free narrative blast from the past, is a sharp, twisty puzzle of a story and an unforgettable game.
No one has to die is an HTML5 visual novel by Stuart Madafiglio where sacrifice is the only way to get closer to solving the full mystery at hand. The turn-based puzzles that drive the plot feel a little perfunctory when compared to the twisty story, but fans of cerebral, complex stories should definitely give it several playthroughs.