inventory
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Test your inventory management skills in a new puzzle game

Inventory management is a tedious part of videogames. I’ve never found myself daydreaming of the minuscule inventory in Resident Evil (1996) (though I do remember that opting for playing as Jill netted you two more slots). Nor have I ever found myself enjoying the meticulous disposal of items over-encumbering Geralt of The Witcher 3 (2015). Even with the largest saddlebags hanging onto my dear steed Roach in that game, I often had to spend minutes at a time digging through and tossing out the most unnecessary junk to make room for something new and shiny. And in Witcher 3-time those minutes eventually became hours…

Paint Bug
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Paint Bug fills you with childlike joy as you create digital art

Even with the advent of adult coloring, it’s difficult to find an outlet that makes you feel like you’re creating unique art without actually having the talent to do so. Paint Bug, made in 72 hours for the Ludum Dare game jam, attempts to do just that. Paint Bug gives the player control over a series of sticker-like characters that they can draw across a canvas. Each sticker, from the water droplet to the moon, has a different effect on the canvas. Players then have the opportunity to save their works as the final piece or as a timelapse series that shows all of the frames…

va da
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Manipulate shapeshifting hell in Mason Lindroth’s latest game

Mason Lindroth’s animations exist somewhere between the realm of a hellish nightmare, surreal art, and collages. It’s all those things, and also none of them. Lindroth’s repeated animated aesthetic is wholly unique—there’s nothing else like it (and in fact, he even hand-sculpts some objects from clay). And that’s why when he does something as “trivial” as VA DA, a new “animation/drawing program,” it still resonates. It’s wild and bizarre, like so many of his other works before it. A distorted conglomerate of gif-able lo-fi clipart VA DA, as described above, is a simple “drawing” program. You control a space with…

Shapeshifter Biker
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Become a shapeshifting road warrior in a Mad Max-style game

Last weekend, Renaud Forestié released a game called Shapeshifter Biker, a free-wheeling road movie mixed with shapeshifting mechanics. Shapeshifter Biker has you drive around a desert map on the lookout for animal power-ups that give you the ability to temporarily shapeshift into a variety of different animals—flying eagles or sheltered turtles. However, you are constantly being chased by ducks in large black cars who will stop at nothing to defeat you. The game was created as a part of the latest Ludum Dare game jam, which gave participants 48 hours to create games under the theme “Shapeshift,” which was clearly at the core of Renaud’s…

windowframe
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A game idea hidden right in front of you

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. windowframe (PC) BY DANIEL LINSSEN You’re reading this inside a window. Practically every interaction with a piece of software takes place inside one. This has been the norm for computer use since around 1990, which is when Microsoft’s Windows 3.0 arrived and engulfed all other graphical interfaces. It’s reasonable to say, then, that having us reconsider the windows we peer into our computer files and the internet with every day isn’t an easy task. But, in only 48 hours, game designer Daniel Linssen has managed exactly…

Mable & the Wood
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Pixel art exploration game gets its moral ambiguity from Studio Ghibli films

Mable & the Wood is a 2D exploration game about a young red-haired girl with the ability to transform into other creatures. The idea is to get her through the titular colorful woods. However, the more you use the girl’s powers, the more you take from the forest, slowly destroying it—regardless, it’s the only way to reach some areas, and it’s the only way to beat the enemies you meet. The idea behind the game was born in April 2015, as it was made for the Ludum Dare game jam that month, which carried the theme “An Unconventional Weapon,” hence the shape-shifting. Now…

Wood for the Trees
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Lose yourself in the looping puzzles of a beautiful low-res forest

The first paper note in Wood for the Trees asks: “don’t you just love reading notes on lamp posts?” Images and icons present in other first-person Unity games like Slender (2012) or Andrew Shouldice’s Hide are on display here too. The same note makes reference to “a missing beloved one” addressed by some of the internal monologue, also presented as text on the screen. Built in two days for the 35th Ludum Dare game jam (the theme of which was “Shapeshift”) Wood for the Trees is pervaded by the awareness that it isn’t a game of entirely new ideas—but it’s better…

shadowpuppetgame
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Shadow of the Red Hand, a game made entirely out of shadow puppets

Created for the latest Ludum Dare game jam, the theme for which was “shapeshift,” Shadow of the Red Hand is a game made entirely out of shadow puppets. In it, the player’s hands take on the role of a rabbit, and must hop away from the evil “Red Hand of Doom” as it chases them through the ever-changing puppet show that they call home. The result is more challenging than the cute children’s-slumber-party motif lets on, with platforms often moving in unpredictable ways due to the many different shapes a hand can take. “Will this one become a fist?” I asked myself while playing.…

lionssonglead
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The Lion’s Song aims to depict the loneliness of history’s greatest minds

Originally created as a short title for a 2014 Ludum Dare game jam, old-timey narrative adventure game The Lion’s Song is now getting a full release. According to a new trailer for the game, four episodes are planned in total, expanding it beyond the “finely honed short story” of the original and into an extended interrogation of academic life in fin-de-siecle Austria. The game stars three different turn-of-the-century artists and scientists as they struggle to find inspiration and learn how to cope with the pressures of success, as well as those of their time period. “To succeed in a world of…