Wood for the Trees

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…


The sequel to dys4ia explores the failure of empathy games

Despite being about “the experience and aftermath of getting hit by a car,” you’ll probably expect Anna Anthropy’s latest autobiographical game, titled Ohmygod Are You Alright?, to take the subject lightly at first. Get a little further into it, however, and you may understand why Anna says that “you could call it a survival horror.” The game’s intro is upbeat. You’re told that you (that is, Anna) have just got back from hosting a New York gallery show that landed you some decent cash. It’s Wednesday, and as with every Wednesday, your friends are waiting to meet you at the pub…


The hopes and fears of using a videogame as an online confession booth

The idea of a videogame acting as a confession booth is a distressing one. There’s a reason why the religious rite of penance is resolved in a two-person cubicle that can only be occupied by the sinner and a priest. This set-up allows for what is considered to be safe spiritual counseling. You can’t guarantee this if, say, the booth’s walls became digital and were expanded to the size of a videogame world that’s open to anyone with an internet connection. Yet, this is what Selfie: Sisters of the Amniotic Lens essentially is. you have opened up a figurative wound …


Kitty Horrorshow’s most personal game yet is a trip through sad architecture

The architecture in Kitty Horrorshow’s videogames has always had the biggest presence. In CHYRZA it was a midnight pyramid that bore down upon you while collating pieces of its monstrous history. Sunset Spirit Sky had jagged helter-skelters to climb and silhouetted windmills with blades like black knives carving up the deep pink skies. Her first, DUST CITY, seemed to serve up a slice of hell’s residential areas for us to navigate with trepidation. what all the stones and their many shapes represent.  Horror and fear were tied to these buildings. And what made them more unnerving was their utter stillness;…