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GLITCHED will break the fourth wall just to be your friend

You’ve lived in the same town all your life, a tiny idyllic village well removed from the world beyond its borders. Life is simple but reassuring in the way of a well-maintained schedule or a checked-off to-do list, and you have very little to want or desire beyond it. You’re content to tread well-worn paths with your best friend and ask nothing else of life. One day, in flagrant defiance of all established patterns, your friend says that he’s going away—reasons unknown, motive mysterious. The night before his departure he disappears, and you look up at the sky, and see…

The First Tree

The First Tree looks foxy (and tragic) in its first trailer

The last time that we talked to David Wehle about his upcoming game The First Tree, it wasn’t much more than a few screenshots of a fox and his earnest desire to tell a story about the nature of life and death. It aims to weave two stories together—a fox searching for her lost kits and a human couple undergoing a tragedy—to bring beauty and meaning to the exploration genre. The recently-released teaser trailer shows just how poignant these tales can be. It follows the familiar fox through a forest as a young man and woman talk about dreams. She…


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…


PLLUG plays with light and dark to tease out your curiosity

Everything is enveloped with darkness. You are a creature that thrives on electricity. You fall into a strange underground world; separated from your loved ones, you must find a way to get back to the surface. This is the premise of the game PLLUG, created by carpetbones. With simple keyboard controls, you wander around a maze-like landscape, encountering other strange creatures, and must absorb energy to keep your surroundings lit up in order to make your way home. each nook and cranny takes on an element of interest Development of PLLUG started in 2013 and although much of the art was…


If a pixel-art kitty game doesn’t turn you into a cat person, nothing will

Let’s start off with a confession that’s sure to have my friends messaging me all day: I don’t really like cats. I know, I know—I’m nerdy, I’m introverted, I write about games on the internet, I’m queer. By all accounts, I should be queen cat over here. But ever since growing up with my adorable labrador retriever, Gretchen, I’ve always been more partial to dogs. I don’t particularly have anything against cats; I just tend to have a bit of trouble finding them cute. After playing ᗢ, though, I may finally be a convert. Created by duo katslevania and takorii,…

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There’s an upcoming game about exploring a dystopian city as a cat

In October of 2015, French duo Koola and Viv released a screenshot of a cat sitting in a dark alley, silhouetted by a hazy red light as the sun filtered in from some unknown opening above. This scene is the first glimpse of the as yet untitled “HK project,” an experiment in third-person exploration that promises to be a pioneering influence on the genre of “cat adventure videogame.” Early glimpses of gameplay send our feline protagonist across pipes and up air conditioner stairs, to its end goal of talking to a bunch of robots, probably. Though the creators haven’t said…


No Man’s Sky finally revealing its mysteries when it launches this June

It’s been a little over two years since ambitious space exploration game No Man’s Sky, with its “planet-sized planets” and “universe-sized universe,” was first announced back in December of 2013. Since then, the game’s trailers and various press showings have been great at capturing the imagination, but haven’t exactly shown us too much of just what this game is about. What’s there to do in this massive universe? What sort of creatures and people live in it? What’s this all leading up to? As with J.J. Abrams and his mystery box, part of the excitement of No Man’s Sky comes…


Experience the difficulty of seeking asylum in a beguiling virtual city

That NORTH is about the current climate surrounding mass immigration is about as obvious as a sledgehammer to the face. It’s coated in 80s synth-pop sci-fi as if to cover it up but there’s no denying it. You are a person in an overwhelmingly foreign city. You must learn the customs of this new culture. You have traveled from the south, escaping its lakes of fires, crossing a harsh desert, and arrived here where you hope it’ll be safe. Subtle this game’s allegory is not. Mind you, the creators at Outlands (who also made the politically-charged Dämmerung) aren’t necessarily trying to…

Lieve Oma

Look out for this beautiful tribute to sweet, caring grandmothers

“My grandmother is probably the most important person ever to me,” writes illustrator and game maker Florian Veltman. This text appears on the website for his latest game—it’s to be called Lieve Oma, the Dutch for “Dear Grandmother”—which Veltman confirms to me will very much be framed as a letter to his grandmother. But rather than have us stare at an inked page, Lieve Oma gives us an autumnal forest to explore, in which we play a young girl who goes mushroom picking with her grandmother. Lieve Oma originally started out dedicated to the people in our lives who give us…