Night Lights

Night Lights hides a whole other world behind its shadows

“Things are different at night.” A game based on this small sentence could go in any direction, really, but the most obvious path is probably towards horror. Not for Moscow-based game maker Artem Cheranev. He went with making a 2D puzzle game that uses light and shadow so you can move between different dimensions. Called Night Lights, each level in Cheranev’s upcoming game contains one or more spotlights that illuminate a small area in golden rays. Everything else is in darkness; a contrasting blue to the light’s beam. Sometimes you can use levers or pressure switches to turn the lights off, at…


Arabic visual novel aims to celebrate the language’s beauty

Based in the small town of Qatif, Saudi Arabia—”on the shores of the Arabian Gulf”—Light Studio is a team of five women who are currently making their first videogame. Leading the team as director, writer, and programmer is Fatimah Aldubaisi. The rest of the team all works on the game’s art and animations, comprising character designers Hameedah Hamadah and Zainab Aljishi, and background artists Lalyla Aldubaisi and Zainab Abu Abdullah. Their game is called Wojdan (Arabic for the soul or inner strength) and it’s pitched as an “Arabic visual novel” on account of its text and dialogue all being in Arabic—an English and French…


“Cuba’s first indie game” wants to be much more than that

Videogames haven’t been kind to Cuba. In 1996, A-10 Cuba! had players decimating Cuban military defenses from an aircraft; the following year saw GoldenEye 007 on the Nintendo 64 depict Cuba as a hostile jungle full of source-less bullets; it didn’t even let up in 2010, with the arrival of Call of Duty: Black Ops, which had players hunt down Fidel Castro during the Bay of Pigs Invasion and fail due to his deception. This is no surprise given that a lot of videogames are made by the United States and its allies. Since the Cold War and the rise of Castro, relations…

Lone Light

Lone Light teases out the complex symbiosis of light and shadow

Hessamoddin Sharifpour’s upcoming game Lone Light draws its puzzles from the timeless dance between light and shadow, telling the story of a lone light finding its way through the cosmos. Sharifpour is an Iranian programmer living in Toronto; come September, he’ll be attending the University of Toronto to study computer science. At 19, he is already the recipient of two awards—Best Idea and Jury’s Special Choice—from the 2014 Iranian Indie Game Developers Festival, as well as nominations for Best Indie Game of the Year and Best Design. there will also be hints of evolving cosmologies This early recognition for his…

Don't Kill Her

Don’t Kill Her turns murder mystery into a hand-drawn delight

Call him Wuthrer, call him Wuthrer Cuany—call him any name you like. Just don’t call him conventional or compromising. The Swiss artist’s latest project, Don’t Kill Her, is an ostensibly two-dimensional adventure game drawn entirely in pencil. The title is up for vote on Steam Greenlight and is currently seeking funds on Indiegogo. Driven by a central murder mystery in which the player character is said to be the killer, an unnamed victim narrates the dreamlike story as you make your way through Wuthrer’s sketchbook-esque world. While the artist is coy on specifics (“Don’t judge a game by its cover,” his website urges), there’s plenty to admire on the surface.…


Therefore promises "interactive philosophy," dreamy pixel art

What’s initially so captivating about Therefore is how the music and art style blends together. Composer Sergio Cuesta’s incidental piano score plays with atonality in a way that’s reminiscent of the impressionist compositions of Claude Debussy, or Erik Satie: simple and pretty, but slightly haunting. It’s a dynamic that plays into the game’s serene, meditative mood, even when surrounded by austere environments and muted colors. a puzzle game that’s eerily evocative  In Therefore, you guide a character called The Wanderer through a land called The First Realm as you try to uncover the forces undermining your continued existence. The game supposedly operates…


Papetura offers a delightful world of animated paper

Papetura sure is made out of paper. In the game’s opening shot alone there are sheets of it: curled into pulsing fingers like ocean waves or quilted grass, twee spiraling silhouettes proffering the shape of local flora. Devoid of every color but white, and with only these paper shapes suggesting the environment, it’s difficult to say exactly where Pape and Tura have awoken. Only one thing is for sure, and that is they’re not comfortable there, given that they’re both sporting frowns. Pape wears a trim paper fringe and a rear-turning swirl for a haircut; all made from paper, of…


Bohemian Killing explores our muddy legal systems

I sat in court as a member of the jury this past summer and found it disappointing. I’d been spoiled by the dramatized murder trials and the heart-tugging sociopolitical conflicts in the fictional courtrooms of 12 Angry Men, To Kill A Mockingbird, and A Few Good Men. The verdicts were obvious, there was no shouting or revelatory speeches to be made, no drama; one of the defendants failed to turn up, and so was judged entirely on the prosecutor’s argument, sentenced in less than 10 minutes. It wasn’t until I had spent those two weeks in and out of court…