Liam’s Adventure by SeriousDaniel – https://danieloschepkov.itch.io/liams-adventures
A distressing experience of retrogaming innocence and analog evil. The game unsettled me nearly as much as the film Spoorloos (1988) – highly recommended if you never saw it – tearing apart between the need to know and the awareness of what’s to be learned is entirely negative.
Rising Up by Erik H Jørgensen – https://twitwi.itch.io/risingup
This game should be mandatory therapy for any white-collar professional. The amount of mayhem packed in this 10-minute experience exceeds all rational thought.
Hypnorynth by Sojioto– https://sojioto.itch.io/hypnorynth
A mysterious maze of cosmic purple haze, biological impossibilities, groovy music, and fantastic sprite art. What’s not to love?
Symbol by Lilith Zone– https://lilithzone.itch.io/symbol
A treasure from the golden age of Itch.io (2015-2016). Walking simulator with eschatological tone.
Quasicritical by gokcegobut– https://gokcegobut.itch.io/quasicritical
Highly conceptual experience of order/disorder transition of interactive space. Invoking black holes.
Closing at 2 by Natalie Reyes – https://natsrey.itch.io/closing-at-2
Bartender game with horrible consequences if you mess up the order. Incredible artwork.
Trotter by Sunshine_Error – https://sunshine-error.itch.io/trotter
Charming game with a beautiful hand-drawn aesthetic and surreal interactions through exquisite (huhu) corpse unfolding.
The Last of Legs by Small_Boop – https://small-boop.itch.io/the-last-of-legs
An absolutely unique take on a first-person experience that progressively gets more and more horrifying until a brutal ending I didn’t see coming. Strongly approved.
Big Dengi by HamezTeam – https://hamezteam.itch.io/big-dengi
Big Dengi is an exceptional demonstration that clicker games and hypercapitalistic horror go hand in hand. Garbage time X Acceleration.
10 Mississippi by Karina Popp – https://knarniapop.itch.io/10-mississippi
Exquisite use of FMV stop-motion exploring the slow limbo of endocolonized existence. I recommend playing this right after Big Dengi.
Dreamcore95 by Atovange – https://atovange.itch.io/dreamcore95idle
Back on clicker game, this time with vaporwave aesthetics and an incremental level of mysterious lore slowly creeping in. It will scratch that Windows 3.1/95 nostalgia.
RESIST by Infinite Tears – https://infinitetears.itch.io/resistresistresist
The videoludic poets behind Infinite Tears shared this contribution for Towards a Free Palestine game jam. In this era of neverending horrors, RESIST successfully shines a little light.
Room.exe by ArgondevilGuiderods – https://argondevilguiderods.itch.io/room
Looping backroom generators layered with progressive noise and distortion until gameplay turns into pure vertigo. Tune in, warp out.
Eros Wept by ItsTheTalia – https://itsthetalia.itch.io/eroswept
I disagree with “throbbing nightmare” as a description. This is exophilic erotism of the highest order (and if you played Exophilie, you know that’s my drift).
The Tax Collector by Unprofitable Productions – https://unprofitable-productions.itch.io/the-tax-collector
1-bit abstract horror with the touch of cultic Ligotti. The rotoscopic animation work is on point.
Crowded. Followed by ferryliquid – https://ferryliquid.itch.io/crowded-followed
We can all agree that the “unkillable chasing entity” trope has been used and abused. Crowded. Followed subvert the formula with an environment saturated with NPCs where you can only perceive the hunter, which absolutely works. ferryliquid experiment with the recipe is radically impressive, mixing paranoia, agoraphobia, and claustrophobia in an exceptional subway setting (if you know me, you know I have a particular appreciation for subway in horror, having written my master’s thesis on the subject). There’s much more to do with what’s been invoked here – I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Racoonfeast by Capybaraforge – https://capybaraforge.itch.io/racoonfeast
Capybaraforge pushes Mr. Lupin formula where repetitive gameplay loops act as a support for a mindboggling mix of horror and comedy. Come for the surprising twist. Stay for the brilliantly written endings vignette.
Lawnmower Man by ruin – https://ruin.itch.io/the-lawnmower-man
A Pico-8 adaptation of the cursed not-Stephen King adaptation of a movie that elevated lo-poly 3D to new dimensions. None of that here but lots of giggles.
DMV: Become Viechle by HanwanXuMame – https://hanwenxumame.itch.io/dmv-become-viechle
Probably the best adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s Crash that’s possible to create through the video game medium.
Incoherence by Niven Hedinger- https://apish-box-games.itch.io/incoherence
This is an interesting take on the Lynchian body double with effective use of jumpscares and impossible hotel spaces. A good adrenaline jolt.
OTHER GAMES PLAYED
Trepang2 (PS5) – Perfectly balances a feeling of superhuman ultraviolence and getting your ass handed to you by an onslaught of ballistic hell. Every weapon packs a visceral punch feedbacked by the slow-motion decimation of flesh pingponging in their Kevlar package. Short and sweet, with great use of SCPesque horror to boot.
Cloudpunk (Steamdeck) – This game was therapeutic during a period of epic workload. Delivery games are a genre I absolutely enjoy (including Death Stranding), especially when the narrative overlay is that good. Cloudpunk balances an AI dystopia of horrible living conditions with good-natured, laid-back dialogues. I thought there would be more lore to discover through the various items you can purchase and find, but this aspect (including vehicle upgrades) is unfortunately criminally thin. Nonetheless, I can wholeheartedly recommend this game where the 5th Element driving experience is brilliantly blended in Blade Runner neon night smog.