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Don't Starve Together is an inexpensive game that is easy for anyone to pick up. As an addition to the Don't Starve series of dark humor survival strategy games, Don't Starve Together has an expansive ever-changing world with many ways to play. In the original Don't Starve, after choosing a character to play as, you had to figure out how to survive a ridiculous and deadly environment with limited instructions. But playing through mysterious potentially-fatal nights and fighting monsters makes you realize - your odds of survival would be a lot better with someone watching your back.
This is where Don't Starve Together comes in. The game allows for up to six players to join in on the chaotic fun on one server. The gameplay is similar to other games in the series, but you don't need to know a previous game to play. The controls are simple, the game play is much more challenging.
The Deep is a tactical D&D style game, married with the style of RPGMaker. Made originally for a contest (Indie Game Maker Contest 2017 on itch.io), the game features a world where humans used to live underground, trapped as slaves to monsters. In this world they were also prohibited from using magic or weapons of any kind, so the only option open to them was learning to use their bodies to fight. Once they finally managed to earn their freedom and break into the surface realm, they quickly learned that life above ground was no picnic either. A race of xenophobic elves with no tolerance for anyone else attempted to wipe them out. Fast forward to a couple of centuries later, and peace seems to closer, and worse yet, only a small band of humans still posses the skills to defend themselves.
Last fall, I wrote about beautifully rendered, short point-n-click game accompanied by a suitably haunting soundtrack from Zephyo, I Woke Up Next to You Again. Since then she's published many others, most recently a game in a similar vein of style with a slightly more exploration-based feeling to it. Much like the previous title we reviewed here, You Left Me deals with a difficult topic with splashes of color amongst the melancholy, contrasting warmth with crushing sadness. To set the scene, you wake up in another world you do not recognize, with nothing but your bed floating up in space, the moon looming large in the sky above you, a most unusual feline friend by your side, and oh yeah, a fridge floating nearby because why not?
White gloves, fine suit, cleanly shaven. There was always something suspiciously precise about your butler, lurking just beneath the surface. A feeling that there might be something of pure evil just beneath the veil of lies. Something surreptitiously slinking submerged by the subservience. If you're the kind of person who has nightmares about, of all things, a potential butler, I'm afraid this game isn't going to provide you with much reassurance!
It's funny how the mind works sometimes. It can fixate upon the most abstract detail of an evening when tragedy struck. And such is the focus of Jordan B's I Remember the Rain, which tells the emotional and devastating story of that one evening in the character's life. Just like its namesake might imply,I Remember the Rain focuses on the little details and illustrates the feeling of loss in a poignant way through visual storytelling, excellently accompanied by voice acting, soft music - and yes - the sound of the falling rain.
Normally, if someone tells you to have a blast, it's to wish you well and hope that you have a great time. Things are somewhat different, however, at your new job in the Bomb Squad Academy. As a matter of fact, your very occupation is the antithesis of making things go boom. Your objective is to successfully diffuse electrical circuits hooked up to a live (virtual, fortunately!) bomb and disable them, often with a timer running in the background. You'll have several instruments to aid you in your task, including wire cutters and the ability to flip switches thus controlling the path of electrical circuits.
Out of a bunch of visual novels I've checked out recently, Cautionary Tale is probably one had some of the most work and love poured into it. Despite the name, there are actually three stories contained within this game, and quite honestly, any of the three could stand on their own merit as an independent game. These narratives are as follows. First, when Alex Kartha is given a full scholarship to attend a prestigious boarding school, she hopes she can finally leave behind the things that have haunted her ever since a fatal car accident involving her and her parents. Second is what seems an ordinary winter day, with Eli about to confess to his childhood crush. And finally, you'll experience "The Flood," the story of a girl about to become a woman about to turn eighteen, having vivid nightmares of the apparent impending doom of becoming an adult.
There's no time for an explanation. Hop in the car with a complete stranger and have him gun it. You're in too much pain for anything else as the melancholy of it all comes crashing down on your heads, like a tarp thrown suddenly over the world. Not a lot seems clear at the outsight of this venture other than the beginning of the end is settings in, as both of your eyes droop with the need for sleep. The gas in the car is only going to last for so long and inevitably, it seems the car will come to a stop at some point. In the meantime, the only question is how much you want to confide in your newfound partner, and whether you will survive the upcoming night.
Did you know you can easily become part of the Top Hat Club? You just need to find a top hat first. Welcome to the most sophisticated club of men that engage in smart talk and drink expensive liquors. Welcome to, the Top Hat Club. We don't have a lot of requirements, you don't have to be rich, you don't need to have a high status, you don't need to be of royalty. Everyone can become a member of our club. Everyone you say? Yes indeed, every person that wants to be part of the Top Hat Club can become a member. We only have one requirement, just a little thing you need to have for you to enter the club. That little thing? A Top Hat.
You wake up the same way as you have for as many days as you can remember: behind bars, locked away from your family. It's just another day, and it is time for you to rise and shine. There's work to be done, even as you trudge through the slow, somber melancholy of prison life. One day, though, you have a sudden urge to do something different. It seems innocent enough: you want to give a teddy bear to your daughter. There's only one small thing you must do to get there: break out of prison first!
A few months back in the good old days of 2017, I reviewed Yûrei Station, with not only its unique take on the style of narrative driven by beautiful hand-painted scenery, but also as a project accomplished with the help of brilliant young artists. Today it is a pleasure to share another installment in the same spirit of collaboration between adult coders and budding artists. But don't think Atelier Sentô simply rehashed things - this time, you'll explore a pair of adventures in the Coral Cove, and find that although the story is completely new and fresh, the tale is no less magical. A boy lays lazily in the sand next to a cat, with a set of colored pencils, a book, and an unbounded imagination. When you click on it, though, he'll eagerly sit up and show you the world he has created through pictures.
Now and then a puzzle game emerges that feels like a breath of fresh air. In the case of Sinkr, a 2D puzzle game by Wahler Digital, this is achieved largely through the minimalist design of the game's visuals and the originality of its mechanics. The game starts you off with a deceivingly simple task: guide the pucks home to their circular zones. To do this, you are given an array of hooks that you pull along in a set direction by winding a winch-like hexagon. Simply click and hold the hexagon to set the hooks in motion, using the grid in the background as a positioning guide if needed. The introductory levels are a breeze but things quickly become a bit more thought-intensive as new mechanics are added and combined in interesting ways.
Perhaps the word "mind-bending" is bandied about a bit too much when it comes to puzzle games. Nevertheless, I have the feeling that Nusan's Fragments of Euclid might be as worthy of the accolade as any other contender.
If you're not familiar with Euclid, he was a Greek mathematician known for being the founder of geometry. And boy, there is quite a bit of it in this twisted world of staircases and all sorts of geometric patterns that fold back on themselves. The game starts you off in a simple tutorial to introduce you to the machinations of this new geometric world. Despite there being little color and mostly shades of gray other than the occasional blue object that you can maneuver, the world is anything but dull.
Good fortune (and fun!) will come to those who dig through the archives.