Its as simple as matching pairs when it comes to exploring the haunted Memory Mansion.
heyits5AM’s Memory Mansion takes the simple game of pairs and gives it a light narrative and some interesting new twists. The title, which will ultimately be releasing for mobile, and is currently playable in browsers, gives players a health bar and adds a timer through a dwindling flame.
Each room is comprised of a series of face-down tiles, among them pieces of keys, locked doors, items, and threats. The rest is simple enough, once you’ve matched the pairs they are removed from the board, with junk being added to your satchel, keys allowing you to open doors, et cetera. It’s clean and simple to understand, with a tiny string of tips to get you started before you’re released into the world of cute artwork and dark rooms.
At the moment Memory Mansion is still very much in-development. I played it a short while back when I picked it out to cover, and then played it again before starting this article, finding the changes since then were very noticeable. There’s now a string of rooms from where to start, and there’s a little chap who tries to sell you things between rooms. Your light doesn’t rekindle as much as it used to either, and there’s currently no way to quickly get it back.
For now though, it’s well worth going and having a quick play around with it. I hope that there’ll be a way to trade loot, or more items in the store, soon. But, even still, it stands very well as it currently is.
Surviving in Eden Rising is tricky when monsters of all sizes are waiting to strike. You’ll have to learn how to tackle these enemies and forage for items to craft better gear and upgrade your base.
Eden Rising uses an action-combat style paired with an open world to create an explorer’s (dangerous) dream. With both sci-fi and fantasy elements, you will be able to see some very creatively-designed monsters and places born of tech and imagination. Don’t fall into too much of a trance though, as the wandering creatures pack a punch for the inattentive.
If you feel that the odds are somewhat against you, you can bring in up to 8 additional friends. Some of those gigantic beasts may require some extra help, after all. Or you can go in solo – just make sure you’re ready for the fight of your life.
Defeating monsters will get you parts for crafting, which is a main component of the game. Items retrieved from fallen enemies (as well as items you can gather by finding the right fauna) are what you need to create stronger gear and strengthen your base. Your base is your home, so you’ll want to fortify it well. It will have to hold up against relentless attacks of hordes of these monsters (who might be slightly peeved about you and your eight friends killing their buddies). You’ll probably want to strike a good balance between using parts for your personal upgrades or base upgrades to stay intact.
A teenage field hockey player will be hand-chopping monsters and demons throughout her sleepy (but vibrantly animated) town in hack and slasher #Blud.
Becky Brewster is a busy teenager with a hectic sports schedule, but when monsters start taking over her town and the people in it, she’ll need to put her muscles to different work. Not much seems to frighten the young woman, either. No weapon? She will literally just chop demons to pieces with her hands. Honestly, these monsters really don’t know who they’re messing with, here.
Even in this early stage, Becky’s journey through school and the town’s surroundings just looks incredible with its fluid movement and goofy characters. If you’re feeling a connection to Saturday morning cartoons, you should. Developer Exit 73 is an animation studio that originally created #Blud as a short, but have since teamed up with some programmers to turn the concept into a game. The short also might offer a bit of an explanation of Becky’s monster-fighting skills (this Brewster used to be a Belmont).
While we don’t know much about it so far, #Blud shows off a familiar top-down style that will have you hand-chopping beasts, throwing lethal pencils, and likely finding weapons better befitting Becky’s hockey skills. Is hitting pucks kind of the same as clobbering bat-like monsters, or a teacher that seems to have an uncomfortable amount of tentacles coming out of them, though? I’m not super sure.
#BLUD - Gameplay Trailer - YouTube
#Blud is currently in development, but in the meantime, you can follow its creation on the game’s site.
Earthquakes have shaken the town again, and the solution for the problem is hidden Under The Fallen Snow. Luckily, you have some pretty good sliding abilities to help you search.
Under The Fallen Snow, from a team comprised of Tim Minkov (Veritas), Jack Pressnell (SomeFarang), and STORMFATH3R, follows the story of a girl who climbs and explores a mountain, trying to find out the cause of the earthquakes which have shaken her town.
It’s a Metroidvania in the purest form. Which, really, is handy because it was an entrant in the Metroidvania Month 3 Jam earlier in the year. There’s tight platforming, although a controller is definitely recommended, with the core mechanic of the game tied to sliding. At any point – standing, running, or jumping – you can press and hold the slide button, which then puts you into an almost dive-kicking state. It gives you a small acceleration boost and sends you hurling forward.
You’ll need to learn to master the diving within the first ten of so minutes, because your next ability — which is almost like a jetpack — is quickly put into use with it to help you pass through deadly spike corridors. It goes from a steady pace to quite a tough challenge, but one that is extremely fun when you get it right. Perhaps the best thing about it all, though, is the cool, icy palette. That and the cute enemy critters. And all of the sliding in the snow.
Under the Fallen Snow is available for free on Itch.io.
Inspired by actual escape rooms, NEScape! has everything you’d have within a physical escape room – a timer, some random items in the room, and interesting puzzles to challenge you.
The game itself is an 8-bit escape room, packed with various different puzzles for you to solve. The game is meant to be hard and challenging, but you can grab a friend and play along with them, much like you would do a physical escape room. Seeing modern concepts turned into retro games is always super interesting.
Retro consoles have a strong community around them, constantly collecting, playing, and showcasing their consoles. You might not think that there would be new physical games for retro consoles, but you’d be wrong. Developers are still, occasionally, creating new, never before played games for consoles like the Mega Drive, NES, and GameBoy. I’m not just talking about roms to emulate games either, but full-on cartridge games like you see with NEScape!.
NEScape! is one of these new games, appearing on Kickstarter to be funded into creation. The game itself is already completely made for the NES (and coded to use a SNES mouse if you would like too), offering multiple ways for you to tackle some challenging puzzles on the old gray box.
NEScape!‘s developers are currently raising funding to create cartridges, boxes, and manuals for the game on Kickstarter.
In Seize The Clay, you are looking to support yourself through making and selling beautiful bits of pottery. These various vases, pots, and bowls all must be made out of clay, painted, and then baked in order to be ready to sell.
And that is what you must do each day! You have the option to sell only three pieces of pottery, so you’ll need to carefully pick a design from the table. Once you have this sort of map to follow, you can pick one of three clays and then bring them to the molding stand. There are two phases when it comes to molding – the first bit has you using your hands to smoosh the clay in, forcing it to be taller and thinner. The second phase uses your nails to dig bits out of the clay, designing the shape. Both of these motions do take some time to get use too, as you’ll need to understand how your hands move and work.
Once you have the design done, you must bake your clay. Baking it is simple – putting it in the oven, turning up the heat, and watching it cook. At some point, it will hit ‘perfect’ and that’s when you want to take it out. You’ll need the oven temperature to become zero, which takes a bit more time, so you’ll need to be careful to make it perfect every time. Once the object is completely created, you can place it on one of the pedestals within your shop. After all three are filled, you will see various creatures enter your shop and purchase your items. Depending on how well you do, you’ll be given amounts of money for each piece. Hopefully, it’s enough to survive another day doing what you love!
Seize The Clay is a really lovely little game made in just a few days for the Ludum Dare 44. I quite enjoy designing pottery within the game and striving for the exact picture that I picked up. You don’t seem to be set too back by not matching them completely, but it’s still a cool goal to try and achieve.
Push:Block puts you in a sticky situation involving block puzzles and watermelon-smashing cultists. Except everything is all text-based, making block manipulation a little bit sillier.
You’ve somehow gotten yourself embroiled with a cult that has a thing about cudgeling watermelons. As to the reasons for their hateful actions toward harmless fruit, there’s actually a surprisingly-deep lore buried amongst the game’s puzzles. Naturally, it’s not very serious lore, taking you on a lighthearted story involving misguided folks, the living dead, and the occasional sommelier. And fruit.
This journey through thirty stages might have been a bit more straightforward if it didn’t involve a text-based dungeon-crawler-like interface. Rather than shoving blocks around, you will have to use text to turn your character around, locate the blocks, and figure out where they go. Preferably without losing your bearings. The results are a bit unwieldy, but hilarious as you struggle to chat your way through getting a block in the right spot.
This ridiculous over-complexity makes Push:Block into a downright goofy experience, especially when combined with its story of wacky cultists. The whole endeavor is just the right level of absurd that it works quite well, and offers a silly good time if you can manage to visualize its space in your mind. Plus, its message of friendship and community adds a further nice touch to the game, offering a lovely message as you help cultists locate smash-able fruit.
And try to keep out of trouble with skeletons. Although the undead will be the least of your worries if you cannot walk around a room properly.
A beautiful island sits abandoned in the ocean, strange machines jutting out from undergrowth. This is the setting for ROM, a wonderful, experimental experience.
Games are wonderful. Sometimes we find ourselves in worlds busy with words and stories, other times we find ourselves in experiences so action-packed that we can’t even stop to think. Then, there’s projects like Bincurl Games’ ROM. ROM has you explore the reaches of a small island experiment. Beacons litter the landscape and can be activated in various manners, with certain combinations resulting in a shift of season. It’s a beautiful game, too, with a lovely art-style and some really fantastic, atmospheric music.
I know that I normally grab and cover newer titles, scraping them off the top of the itch.io barrel before serving them up here. ROM has been around for a while now, however it has continually been served to me as a recommendation. It’s rare for a system like that to hit the nail so straight on the head, but it really did this time.
Even though it is only a short experience, ROM‘s world is an extraordinary one. The presence of old machines straddles the line between technology and magic, and the collision of technology (magic?) and nature is a stark contrast.
So, if you’ve got half an hour spare to become absorbed in a strangely poignant, artificial ecosystem, then there is really not a better one to get lost in at the moment.
“Grab a gun, learn your magick and jump into the boots of an undead soldier hellbent on saving the universe from the evil Lord Naglfaar!”
Bones ‘n’ Bullets is currently in development, but you can follow its creation through the developer’s Twitter account.
Descenders Multiplayer Launch Trailer - YouTube
“Descenders is extreme downhill freeriding for the modern era, with procedurally generated worlds, and where mistakes have real consequences. Will you lead your team to glory and become the next legendary Descender?”
“In Tabletop Gods you play the role of a god vying for power. Gather your devout mortal followers and face-off against other players on desktop PC or in VR (Rift or Vive) as you lead your army across tabletop battlefields in frenetic, arcade-style battles.”
Tabletop Gods is available now (in an Early Access state) on the Humble Store and Steam.
TECHNOSPHERE RELOAD - Alpha trailer - YouTube
“Go on a dangerous journey into the heart of asteroid to save humanity from disaster! Control the TECHNOSPHERE, roll, jump, balance, solve puzzles and go through the mazes.”
“There are many different trains you could take – which one will you take?”
My very own train station is available now on Itch.io.
DON’T WAKE THE NIGHT
DON'T WAKE THE NIGHT - YouTube
“Welcome to DON’T WAKE THE NIGHT, a world and a story about community and accountability. Mystery unfolds, as you, the ghost a community of witches has summoned, must act as their impartial judge. But for what purpose?”
DON’T WAKE THE NIGHT is currently in development, but you can preorder it through Itch.io.
Micro Mages Trailer - YouTube
“Slip into your wizard robes and enter the Demon Fortress, home of great treasure and ghastly creatures alike. Shoot and wall-jump your way up the fortress’s towers and battle the evil bosses lurking at the top.”
“While the world is changing due to the suspicious activities of the demons and angels who are looking to capture the source of power of the earth, you are recruited by Commander Skye to empower his recently formed army.”
Naxia is currently in development, but in the meantime, you can add it to your Steam Wishlist.
Close to the Sun
Close to the Sun | Launch Trailer - YouTube
“Journalist Rose Archer steps aboard the Helios in search of her sister Ada. She quickly discovers not all is as it seems. Grand halls stand empty. The stench of rotting flesh lingers in the air. Silence. A single word is painted across the entrance… QUARANTINE!”
Your bus gets longer with every passenger you pick up in Snakeybus, forcing you to constantly alter your route to keep from crashing into yourself.
Snakeybus offers a newly-ridiculous look at Snake. Instead of winding your poor serpents around trying to keep them from bumping into themselves, you’ll be guiding an entire line of city buses. Except these ones will be knocking traffic off the road and hurtling through the air as you try to keep yourself from crashing. This only gets harder with each passenger you pick up, too, as these add to your length. Before long, you’ll see your bus stretching out and coiling around the city, with a single accident bringing it all down.
The game features a handful of maps with unique themes and visual styles, as well as a few different kinds of buses depending on what you feel like driving. You can unlock new maps and buses based on how well you can drive without slamming into yourself, which is a nice touch. There’s also some online leaderboards if you want to see how long you can keep this silly thing going.
I wasn’t expecting a super-long bus to be such an entertaining sight, but the humor in driving these colossal transit vehicles is just wonderful. There’s just something about a long bus coiling around a city like a serpent in some superhero movie that’s endlessly entertaining to me. Well, that and the idea of what will happen when you accidentally slam a bus with a few hundred cars into itself.