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Buying on itch.io

Aspeon

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Popular Youtuber Mark Brown of Game Maker's Toolkit runs a game jam on Itch every year: this year's wrapped up a few weeks ago, with the theme "Just one." Jam games are usually free and pretty short, but a good way to get a taste of the weirder indie stuff you see on the site.

https://itch.io/jam/gmtk-2019 is the main jam page- that video on the top is Mark's recommendations, or you can go to the results to see what games scored highly in public judging.
 

CarpeGuitarrem

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Oh, I haven't played this much beyond the week I picked it up, sorta because it uses a skillset I don't have much of, but Gladiabots is a really cool idea: you're building AI through a visual scripting language.

You can even fight it out against other players who are offline, since the game is 100% deterministic and uses no player input after the AI is written. It just pits your team and its AI against an opposing team and its AI.
 

Scutarii

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Woah. Celeste is punishingly hard. I'm about 15 screens into the mountaain climb and need to jump, dash and grab a platform on the opposite side to my direction of travel. Grabbing a green crystal thingy. The slide down, jump and dash to the right again to land on a platform. That's a lot of operations!

What's frustrating is I know what I need to do I just can't make my fingers do it.

I had to stop playing for a bit.

Will probably turn on the unlimited grab option when I boot it up again so I can pause and translate the actions in button presses part way through the operation.

Edit: When reloading the game I had to select my save file and it mocks me with a death counter. 214 in 1 hour in the starting area. Ooof.
 
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Scutarii

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Ok so...Celeste.

Is it meant to be about something? I've been playing for almost 2 hours and the only storytelling so far has been an exchange with an elderly woman at the start of the first platformer zone. Otherwise it's an endlessly uninteresting set of jumping puzzles and the ocassional billboard that I guess could theoretically be about expectations of manliness and women's bodies. But there's no context to hang that off just me proactively looking for something more interesting than jump, dash, grab, jump, land, jump, dash.
 

Scutarii

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Validated User
Yes.

But it's also a game of actiony jumping puzzles, so if you don't care for those, like, it's not going to be totally for you.
Yeah it's quite painful. I went to turn on the Assist Mode but then the text pops up and tells me that the difficulty is considered essential and the devs believe I should play through without Assist Mode first so I didn't turn it on.

I'm playing it because of the 'things it's trying to say' (hipster that I am) so I feel I have to do it without the assist if thats essential to the experience.

Edit: I'll give it to the end of the first zone (however much longer that will be), see if I get some context and personality after that. If not then...I'unno. Read a wiki explaining it to me and leave it I guess.

I got to the end of the zone and a bird sat on me, stars started falling, simething mysterious happened. Madeline questions if continuing is a good idea. Quite melancholy. Then right back to the jumping.

I'm going to say I gave it a fair shot and quit and look for something else to play.

Spoiler: Show

 
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Vorpeseda

Floof
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Second zone and onwards, is where the story really starts to happen. Things get more increasingly strange, and the themes become more prominent.

The difficulty is, as far as I can tell, to emphasis the idea of learning from your mistakes in order to progress.

Additionally, one of the hint messages tells you to be proud of your high death count, as mistakes mean you're learning.

I haven't tried assist mode yet, but as far as I can tell, you don't miss out on content for it. If you're interested in stuff about characters, then I'd say it's worth putting on the assist mode. Theo becomes a fairly major character in the game, and there's a lot of talking with him.
 
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Scutarii

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Second zone and onwards, is where the story really starts to happen. Things get more increasingly strange, and the themes become more prominent.
Ok. I'll give it another shot.

The difficulty is, as far as I can tell, to emphasis the idea of learning from your mistakes in order to progress.

Additionally, one of the hint messages tells you to be proud of your high death count, as mistakes mean you're learning.
I'd agree more if the jumping was harder to solve. It's pretty quick to work out what you need to do after a few tries but the multiple deaths during just executing the key presses is less learning and more frustrating. As in, I know what I need to do. I just can’t make my fingers do it. (Doesn’t help that the key rebinding doesn’t let me do diagonals with WASD so I have to use the arrow keys to move)

I haven't tried assist mode yet, but as far as I can tell, you don't miss out on content for it. If you're interested in stuff about characters, then I'd say it's worth putting on the assist mode. Theo becomes a fairly major character in the game, and there's a lot of talking with him.
In the screenshot behind the sblock it's got the assist mode logo so I used it at the end. I used the multiple dashes option to cross one of the maps as I couldn't get the timing on the moving block accelerating me right.
 
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Scutarii

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I've heard very good things about that one but haven't played it myself yet!



Yay!

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.)

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.
I have been...cheating on Celeste...

Night in the Woods is awesome.

Ending spoiler
Spoiler: Show
Kind of preferred it when it I thought it was all mental illness and not the supernatural twist but it still works. Just felt weaker than it could have been.


I also just grabbed Heaven Will be Mine. Though I have been convinced by Vorpeseda Vorpeseda to give Celeste another attempt to deliver its story.
 
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