Yes, I’m still periodically working through the impossible task of playing the zeleventy spillion itch.io games from that bundle a while back.
A Normal Lost Phone gave me a bit of deja-vu, in that the plot is virtually the same as Secret Little Haven that I played recently, and where that plays out via a faux AOL chat client on a computer, this plays out via a faux messaging system on a mobile phone.
So yeah, they’re very similar. I don’t know which came first nor do I really care because it doesn’t matter. It was just odd that I’d not played a game like this for ages then two come along at once!
So, again like Secret Little Haven, it was short and meaningful and then it sort of just ends. Good though!
I’ve been scrolling through that ridiculous itch.io bundle a lot recently. As I expected, I’ve never heard of 99% of the games there, but sometimes something catches my eye and a quick play of Rex: Another Island drew me in.
It’s a pretty plain platformer in the open-world style common in the 8bit days. There are shades of Jet Set Willy and Chuckie Egg 2 here, and it’s really very good. Of course, there are modern additions like restart points, infinite lives, warps and a double jump, but the feel is of those games I loved as a kid. Just without the colour clash.
It is quite a bit easier than those games, but then, I never did complete them anyway and that was frustrating so I appreciate being able to get to the end here.
There’s actually three endings, it seems. The easiest is for just reaching a particular point on the map, the second is for finding all five giant crystals and then reaching a different point, and the final one (and the only one I didn’t get – yet at least) is for collecting all 777 rings. I’m about 690 rings down, though!
Secret Little Haven is a visual novel type game that plays out in the form of an AOL Messenger style chat application, a little like Emily Is Away. You’re Alex, a fan of a Japanese Sailor Moon type anime and you take part in his interactions with friends in real life, from a fan forum, and his dad.
Alex isn’t happy for a number of reasons, but centrally he doesn’t identify as male, and part of the game how he, or rather, she comes to terms with it with advice of various kinds from those he chats with.
As well as that seriousness, there’s a load of power-girl cartoon fan fiction and art, normal teenager angst to deal with, and a friend who is a bit overbearing towards women to rein in.
I liked the story, but even though it isn’t a happy ending – more because it isn’t an ending, rather than isn’t happy – it seemed to rush towards a conclusion for your dad far too easily considering the massive change that was taking place. I also enjoyed all the early 90s internet references and the “hacking” sequence.
The White Door (yet another itch.io bundle game) is a point and click adventure game, where reality and dreams blur together as you appear to be recovering from a traumatic event.
You’re staying in a sort of hospital, and each day you’re required to follow a schedule of eating, washing, using a computer, and so on. At night you relive what may or may not have happened to you and why you ended up in here in the first place.
Then, things happen. Are you dreaming? Have you gone mad? Are you being manipulated? Is the nurse who comes to check on you trying to get you to escape, or is this planned to see if you can unlock more memories. And why are the doctors so interested in your memories anyway?
It isn’t a very difficult game, beyond easily missing things to click on, but it’s definitely worth a play through.
This game is another itch.io bundle game, and is a short narrative discovery title where you, a pizza delivery guy, finds something going on with one of your regulars.
There’s not a great deal to it, but if you explore a bit during each delivery you make, you see a little bit of the story you’d normally miss. There’s a twist at the end which is obviously coming, except it isn’t quite obvious after all. I won’t say more because spoilers.
Kids is another game from that Itch.io bundle, and is very surreal. You interact with figures – ostensibly children – in various ways, making them clap, swim, but mainly jump in a big hole.
I’m not sure what the purpose of all this is. There’s bound to be some moral or deeper meaning behind what actually happens, but I’m not seeing it. Maybe there isn’t and it’s just a quirky clicky toy. Or maybe it’s all about how mindless children are and they just follow their friends into deep holes without question.
This is one of well over 1500 games that came with the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality on Itch. To be honest, I didn’t think I’d even bother looking at the list of games once I’d donated as there were just so many, but I did have a flick through and this caught my eye as something someone had recommended before.
It’s a series of screens, where you have to take a little vehicle from the left through a door on the right. Each door needs a cube to open, and how you get each cube follows a series of puzzles and click experimentation. It’s almost more of a fidget toy with an aim than it is a game, but it was interesting enough to play and I love the art style.