No Place for Bravery
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Is there enough room for another pixel-art RPG?

There’s a close-knit cloud of terms frequently cropping up in the discussion of action role-playing games lately. “Atmospheric,” “minimalist,” “roguelike,” “pixel art,” et cetera. Hyper Light Drifter established its appeal almost entirely on the back of these signifiers. Titan Souls did the same last year, and the upcoming Children of Morta is looking to bring in the same traffic too. But for every new (or, in this case, old) aesthetic enjoying the apex of popularity, there comes the inevitable point of exhaustion. Such as might become the case with No Place for Bravery. It is pitched along the lines of being a 2D roguelike action-RPG…

djur
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Expect to gather round Djur’s bonfire for a sci-fi fable

The campfire story has been resurrected in videogames recently. A rush of independent games have taken their own spin on the sit-around-and-talker, and the idea of making a game out of a fable is currently being tested by upcoming games like Forest of Sleep. The recently-announced game Djur expands this area of thinking, and aims to combine the quiet calm of fantasy worlds with sci-fi, and explore the meaning of myth and humanity through folk tales. it attracts the uncanny So far we don’t know much about Djur besides the unusual moniker of “sci-fi fable.” But that’s okay, because the little…

Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor
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Time to take in the trash: Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor is out this week

After nearly two years in the works, Sundae Month’s lo-res sci-fi adventure Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor has a release date; it’s September 16th, and will be available on Steam and itch.io. Yes, there’s about to be a new trash person in town. As an Alaensee woman with a municipally-subsidized trash collecting job, you’ll take in the trash. Incinerate it. Take in the trash. Incinerate it. Routine is at the heart of Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor, as per the job. But maybe—just maybe—you’ll be able to get off Xabran’s Rock, the place that treats you so terribly, with a little…

Instagram for Win95
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Artist imagines what Instagram would look like on Windows 95

Windows 95 had a lot going for it: its iconic startup sound; its soothing teal background; Internet Explorer in its earliest, purest form; and my personal favorite, the Paint program. Today, if you’re ever feeling particularly nostalgic, you can run Windows 95 in your browser. (True to history, attempting to use Internet Explorer will cause the emulator to crash.) But the emulator reveals a conspicuous absence: no Instagram. Yes, Instagram only launched in 2010, and as a free mobile app rather than a Windows 95-friendly .exe program. But what if it had come into existence two decades earlier? Russian graphic…

Owlboy
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Nearly 10 years in the making, there’s still plenty of reason to care about Owlboy

Owlboy, which has been in the making since 2007, was at one point a joke. It sat alongside Fez (2012) as retro-sentimental platformers by independent studios that promised a lot, but seemed fated to never come out. “Do you reckon Owlboy will come out next year?” someone might ask. “Haha, yeah right,” might be the reply. Fez did eventually come out after five years of waiting, but Owlboy didn’t—it’s been nearly a decade now. When Jo-Remi Madsen of the Norway-based D-Pad Studio tells me it’s “OWLBOY TIME,” I presume that it is a joke. The concept of Owlboy Time is more a unit…

Celeste
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Next up for the creator of TowerFall, a game about climbing a mountain

There’s a mountain near my house where I grew up and it was a regular exercise for teenagers to climb up it as the sun fell, and then race back down chasing the light. Since it was a small peak, and since I lived in the foothills of the Appalachians, it seemed like a bent grandfather to the craggy peaks of the Rockies or other, more noble mountain ranges. Certainly, scaling that mountain in its green glory, bears little resemblance to the snow-capped summit that awaits you at the top of upcoming game Celeste. pixel trees underneath a star-lit sky A…

diariesmain
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Today in GIFs: Get a look at Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor’s strange world

It’s been too long since we last checked in on Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor, the game about exploring a grand sci-fi universe through the viewpoint of a lowly municipal worker rather than a more standard space marine hero figure. Since my original post covering the game, the team has been hard at work bringing the backwater trash-planet it takes place on to life, and recently, that work has paid off as a series of new GIFs and screenshots posted to the game’s official Tumblr. Since they give me an excuse to write about this adorable blue collar spin on…

undungeon1
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Undungeon’s pixel art makes the fantasy genre fresh again

A point of honesty: I still have yet to play more than the first hour of The Witcher 3 (2015). Not because the game is bad—in fact, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far—but because at this point, I’m just too exhausted with fantasy to have much interest in delving any further. How many hours have I spent playing as men in armor swinging their swords at lumbering dragons? Or, in the case of science-fiction, playing as a space ranger swinging his light sword at insectoid queens? Granted, there are fantasy stories that work to subvert these tropes, as we’ve…

catgame2
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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,…