Ekko’s pretty spaces will let you explore the butterfly effect

Rob Milus isn’t saying much, but it’s enough. He’s working on a game called Ekko with fellow game maker Peter Dijkstra, one that he’s only showed glimpses of on Twitter—abstract shapes floating across a space lit by a distant sun. I wanted to find out more, a lot more, but he only responded with a few sentences and a finger raised to his lips. “Shhhh.” Of what Milus told me and that I can share with you, it is that Ekko started off as an interest in the theory of the butterfly effect: “how a small change in one place can evolve…


Find your favorite room amid the chaos of The Catacombs of Solaris

A strategy to use when exploring ruins in Dungeons & Dragons is to hug the wall. Have the beefiest party member (preferably a halfling barbarian) lead the way—not necessary, but a warrior knows how to survive. When presented with the option to turn either left or right, pick the latter. Always. The party will always find their way out eventually, even if it takes two hours. With this in mind, I travelled through the ever-changing environment of The Catacombs of Solaris. It’s a “mind-bending” first-person exploration game created by Ian MacLarty in which the goal is to “find your favourite…

The Rock and The Rock

Here’s a dating sim about The Rock falling in love with a boulder

“What the hell did I just play?” I pause the game after it’s finished and lean back in my chair, utterly confused. The Rock and The Rock promised five minutes of entertainment and it certainly delivered, although it’s taking longer to process what exactly took place. Created by Kevin Roark Jr., The Rock and The Rock is labeled as a small game/interactive film aimed at telling the story of the inevitable and natural attraction of two rocks. You’re given the option of switching back and forth between the perspective of former WWE wrestler and well-loved actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson,…


An awkward game about touching a woman’s body explores sensuality

Just Feel is a project created by a team of seven students whose aim was to “mention sensuality and the pleasure in a poetic and subtle way.” Although I wouldn’t use the word subtle to describe the game, the goal was to “show sensuality without taboo and vulgarity.” The experience is meant to be a virtual embodiment of caressing a body—more specifically, a female form. Delving into the concept of sensuality from an artistic angle, it appears the game is not concerned with any sort of social commentary. However, it’s hard to play this title and not feel conflicted.  an attempt…


Psychedelia isn’t dead, just ask videogames

Though it hit peak popularity in the 1960s, psychedelia has endured as a genre of art, film, and particularly music that occasionally goes through periods of resurgence. Some of the best current examples of psychedelic culture, however, come from a medium that barely existed in the 1960s: videogames. You can find dozens of lists of the best “psychedelic” videogames, but many of these lists focus on the superficial aspects of psychedelia. They use “psychedelic” as a synonym for “weird,” ignoring the original meaning of the word. Influenced both by early 20th-century abstract art and by experiments with hallucinogenic drugs, the…


Sculptor turns Azerbaijani rugs into sublime glitch art

If patterns are a language, as artist Faig Ahmed describes them, then his trippy redesigns of traditional Azerbaijani rugs are a dramatic rearticulation. One of his woven carpets stretches like a VHS error midway down and melts onto the floor in a pool of swirling colors. Another rug hangs half-pixelated, the intricate patterns visible on one side minimized into thick squares on the other. Several others feature an untouched, ornate border around a void of floating cubes, or spherical protrusions behind a sunken field, or a spiral cone bursting through the medallion; a modern brand of psychedelic framed by an ancient craft.…


The freedom of being a bird girl isn’t without its dangers

A blue sky riddled with floating islands, purple deer, and idyllic waterfalls—the opening scene of Aer’s trailer is a scenic glance at an abstract cubist-esque world. The expanse hovering before us is at peace, but we know that there’s so much more to see. Taking in the view with us is Auk, a pilgrim girl who, after turning to look at us, dives off the edge head-first and transforms into a skybird with a spin and a flurry of light. The bird is reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword’s loftwings, but this world seems like so much more than…


Do not stop and do not think while playing Strawberry Cubes

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. STRAWBERRY CUBES (PC)  BY LOREN SCHMIDT  Strawberry Cubes is a platformer that gives you a toolset instead of a jump button. You already know too much. For this is a game that works by keeping everything secret and telling you nothing. It’s about navigating a lo-fi living maze comprised of broken memories located around your grandma’s house. But none of this makes sense. Nothing does. The only way to progress is to ask: what does this do? And then trying it out. You must…