I've heard very good things about that one but haven't played it myself yet!Thank you, sounds like I can buy without worries for now. I'm looking at The World Next Door as it looks super cute.
Yay!I, for one, would like that. For one, I'd like to support Itch.io. Secondly, more (indie) games to check out. I only have The Away Team on Itch.io and I've wishlisted Dwarf Fortress (for when it makes its' appearance, it's not available yet)
Let's see, where to start:
Night in the Woods was my Game of the Year when it was released and it still impresses me even after I've finished it repeatedly. It's about a young woman who returns to her small town after years away at college to find her friends and family have moved on without her, and the game says "what are you going to do about that?" At the same time, something weird is going on in the woods.
Here's the original trailer:
Mechanically, the game never gatekeeps progress behind successfully completing a given skill challenge: if you suck at something it'll let you know and that'll officially be what happened, but it won't say "and therefore you can't move forward until you get better." I'll rephrase: it does this only once within like the first five minutes of the game to illustrate how a mechanic works, and that's it.
The game also comes with two free supplemental games in the "extras" section of the menu which feature the same characters and storyworld. One takes about 10-15 minutes to play, while the other is between 1 to 1.5 hours long depending on what you do. They're both very well done, as is the main game. (Also the soundtrack is wonderful, and available off bandcamp.)
Wandersong is something I've played more recently and likewise impressed the hell out of me. The protagonist is a goofy bard who's trying to save the world... in a context where everybody knows that bards are useless. It's funny, and clever, and has great characters, and the story is very, very well done. Mechanically it's a platformer, and one which does gatekeep progress behind passing skill challenges - but the checkpointing is pretty forgiving. It's also very creative when it comes to recontextualising your abilities: the bard can sing, and how that impacts the world is endlessly evolving depending on cirumstances. It's pretty cool. (EDIT: Be warned, I only watched the trailer after finishing the game and it's not bad, but gives some stuff away I was pleased to come to organically.)
Both of these are very hopepunk stories, which I like.
Gone Home probably doesn't need a blurb by now, but is about a young woman arriving home in 1997 after a year overseas during a terrible storm. She finds that the new home her family moved to while she's away is empty, and has to figure out what happened to everybody during the year she was gone. FPS exploration mystery.
Killing Time At Lightspeed: A game about exchanging text messages with people as you travel away from earth... meaning as you accelerate away each message is moments for you but longer and longer for them.
Bleed is an action platformer about acrobatic dodges.
Nuclear Throne is a stylish and high-energy roguelike shooter with bizarrely different playable characters and a great soundtrack where you level up by collecting radiation that gives you random mutations on your road to seize the Nuclear Throne.
All Walls Must Fall: Groundhog Day the tactical cyberpunk thriller. You're a cyborg agent sent back in time to try to discover what ends the world in a Berlin where the cold war is still going after 150 years. Turn-based tactical RPG with actual mechanics for time travel.
Cultist Simulator, a hard-to-describe game by Alexis Kennedy from Fallen London and Sunless Sea that features fantastic writing, odd mechanics, and deciphering the terrible logic that underpins the universe.
Where the Water Tastes Like Wine: Depression-era magical-realism game where you wander the roads sharing stories with fellow travellers, and can choose some of how those stories grow in the retelling.
EXTREME MEATPUNKS FOREVER. The game does such a good job of explaining itself I'll just copy the blurb: A serial visual novel/mech brawler about four gay disasters beating up neo-nazis in giant robots made of meat. Get ready for the worst road trip of all time.
Kentucky Route Zer0: a magical realist point-and-click adventure game about a secret highway in the caves beneath Kentucky, and the mysterious folks who travel it.
The Haunted Island by Grace Buxner places you as a frog known only as The Detective, trying to solve a mystery featuring ghosts and sloths.
OVERWHELM is a roguelike shooter that inverts Mega Man logic: every time you kill a boss, every single enemy gets that boss' gimmick. You... don't.
Chuchel is from the same developers as Samarost, Botanicula and Machinarium and is a comedy puzzle game about a daft ball of fuzz who wants to eat a cherry. That... turns out to be more complicated than it sounds. Rockpapershotgun loved it.
The Signal from Tolva: First-person exploration science-fiction mystery about roaming an alien landscape populated by very dynamic AI that isn't all focused on you.
Zero Ranger: A top down vertical shooter of action and... mystery?
Tacoma: From the Gone Home developers, this is a science-fiction tale of exploring what happened on a space station before and during a crisis.
A Mortician's Tale: life as a mortician in the modern world.
Cibele: A tale about a young woman becoming closer to someone in an online world.
Dungeon Rescue: A roguelike game where you can rewind time, which becomes a puzzle about getting a dog across each floor of a dungeon.
Kimmy: What happens when the protagonist finds a young girl wandering the streets of late 1960s Massachusetts and decides to look after her one summer?
Heaven Will be Mine: Again the blurb is strong so I'll let it do the work: A queer science fiction mecha visual novel about joyriding mecha, kissing your enemies, and fighting gravity’s pull. Follow three women piloting giant robots in the last days of an alternate 1980s space program fighting for humanity’s future—or ditching their jobs to make out with each other instead.
Midboss: You're a random scrub in a dungeon, aiming to possess the bodies (and abilities!) of fallen foes as you take over the place.
SUPERHOT is a balletic and stylish FPS game where time only moves when you do.
Supergiant games are selling the wonderful Bastion, Transistor and Pyre through itch, and each of them is amazing.
I could go on but wow that's a lot. I'll conclude with this one:
Ape Out: a visually inventive game of justified gorilla violence where the soundtrack is procedurally generated from what you do. Here's the trailer:
Hopefully that's useful? I'd say it's a useful place to start, but That's A Lot Of Stuff Already.