Anodyne 2: Return To Dust by Analgesic Production – https://store.steampowered.com/app/877810/Anodyne_2_Return_to_Dust/
This is pure synthesized joy, but the troubling, bittersweet joy of impending formless chaos, of saying yes to life in all its beauty and horror. The two brilliant minds of Analgesis Production offer a unique experience where cuteness and abstract weirdness merge in a game full of surprising twists and great design (think Link’s Awakening superb puzzle/exploration). This is the cure if you feel at all jaded by video games. Just dig in.
Super VHS by evilempiregames – https://evilempire.itch.io/supervhs
This one is for the obscure VHS collectors. If you know who Neil Breen is, you must play this.
Unsorted VHS by Mike Klubnika – https://mikeklubnika.itch.io/unsorted-vhs
While on the theme of magnetic media storage, this one is definitely on the darker side. This SCP-esque exploration of an experiment gone wrong through VHS and liminal spaces offers clever lore and brilliant design. Let’s hope there will be more!
Betula by nothke – https://nothke.itch.io/betula
Come for the extreme uses of PSX texture, stay for the eerie hauntings that creeps from every corner.
Welcome to Elk by Triple Topping – https://triple-topping.itch.io/welcome-to-elk
Another surprising title, full of true humanity – not the cheap falsely optimistic kind. The ethnographic approach, with real interviews punctuating the narrative, is extremely interesting and provides a vicarious experience of isolation, alcoholism, and rural violence, but also friendship and hope.
After by Not Jam – https://not-jam.itch.io/after
A quick fix of retro slashing with amazing gory pixel art. Pure fun.
Unboxing Simulator by kealmcking – https://kealmcking.itch.io/unboxing-simulator
If, like me, you think loot boxes (and other predatory marketing tactics) are a plague/curse/cancer of the game industry, you will savour this.
Liminal Memory by PulDarRb – https://puldarrb.itch.io/liminal-memory
This is a very singular experience, toying with the lazy trial and error approach of horror-ish walking simulator and elevating it to a unique conceptual level. Bonus: some incredible spatial design.
Betsy Hospital by Lilith Zone – https://lilithzone.itch.io/1-betsys-hospital
Lilith Zone interactive scenes bring me the same wonder as when I was a kid and discovered a new Mighty Max toy. Niche reference but the amount of hidden magic to unearth in them are always awe-inducing.
Shorter list than usual this month as I was extremely caught up in PhD studies. I started playing Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne thinking I would be done after 10 hours (as is the case for me with Atlus RPG after the PSX era), but ended being totally hooked. Don’t know how long I will last, but I have a blast wandering the post-apocalyptic malls of Tokyo and grooving to the superb soundtrack.