soft body
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Soft Body helps you find serenity among chaos

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Soft Body (PC, PlayStation 4) BY ZEKE VIRANT The words “bullet-hell” may not immediately call calm and tranquility to mind. But meditative app/game Soft Body is here to fix that. Combining the difficulty of Super Meat Boy (2010) with the serenity of a zen sandbox, Soft Body challenges you to overcome obstacles with a meditative approach. Requiring players to split their attention between controlling two “snakes,” operated by opposite hands, the game helps mind and body focus on accomplishing tasks in tandem. Featuring various color palettes and diverse maps, players…

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The art of pinball

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. INKS (iOS) BY STATE OF PLAY GAMES Pinball is something of a lost art. With the glory days of arcades and The Who’s rock opera Tommy (1969) behind us, the Pinball Wizard may appear to have lost his luster. But State of Play’s INKS is breathing new life into this arcane mode of play, by making the pinball machine double up as a blank canvas for painters. From the creators of Lumino City (2014), the game brings a similarly tactile approach to design. Instead of flashing colors, your ball hits…

the pit and the pendulum
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An Edgar Allan Poe classic is now a game

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. The Pit and the Pendulum (PC) BY PAPER PIRATES AND SOKOLAB Given that Edgar Allan Poe focused on sensation to communicate the terror of torture in his 1842 short story The Pit and the Pendulum, it would have been wise to further etch that out in the videogame version. In particular, the hissing of a swinging blade as it descends upon the narrator’s flesh could have been realized with actual sound, yet it is lacking in this digital adaptation. Forgoing that, what this game does…

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…

Stephen's Sausage Roll
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Stephen’s Sausage Roll gives you something to chew on

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Stephen’s Sausage Roll (PC, Mac) BY INCREPARE GAMES Sometimes, you look down at an item of food and wish it was twenty times bigger so you could enjoy more of that food. Other times, you play a game and wish it was twenty times harder so you could play it for longer. Luckily, both are the case with Stephen’s Sausage Roll, a puzzle game about a guy named Stephen who’s sole purpose in life is to grill two giant sausage links to perfection. Stephen’s Sausage…

unnamed
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Come for the swordplay, stay for the mystery

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Hyper Light Drifter (PC, Mac) BY HEART MACHINE Hyper Light Drifter starts out loud—streams of stars, planet-sized eruptions, and a huge, electric soundtrack by Fez (2013) composer Diasterpeace. Then it fades into the near-silence of an open map and a drifter coughing up blood. You’re left with a headful of questions. As you push the drifter to cut through stoic enemies and dash across environments lush with secrets, you start to piece together the answers. What emerges is a language. It turns pixels into glyphs, and tells…

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The adventure game you don’t want to miss

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Samorost 3 (PC, Mac) AMANITA DESIGN Music, nature, and animation come together as one in Samorost 3. Yes, perhaps more so than in many other videogames. Your cursor doesn’t just point-and-click, it ruffles bushes, causes alarm to sleeping birds, and picks mushrooms. It’s your entry into a tangible universe, split across several planets and moons, all of it woven together by photographs, wood sounds, and hand-animated dream sequences. Your direct task is to help a space gnome return a flute that dropped from the sky to…

commedia
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Practice your improv in this videogame theater

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Commedia dell’Arte (PC, Mac) A COLLABORATION BETWEEN STUDENTS AT THE ENJMIN AND EMCA SCHOOLS Surprisingly, improv is about more than Amy Poehler making fart jokes. At the heart of great improv is a sense of play. Though it’s controlled and focused, emergent play defines improv as much as it defines games like The Sims, where players (or actors) are encouraged to go to town within the confines of a defined possibility space. Commedia dell’Arte: Masks, Masters and Servants marries the play of improv with the play of videogames into…

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Broadway comes to videogames in Peter Panic

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Peter Panic (iOS) ADULT SWIM GAMES The musicals of Broadway permeate Peter Panic. Not only is the game about restoring a small town theater, it features a full score by award-winning concert composer Benjamin Bonnema, and also stars a voice cast of actual Broadway talent. It is also a musical itself. You play as aspiring director Peter as he hops around the local businesses to get funding for the defunct theater of his childhood town. Conversation is sung with arms and mouths stretched wide. Once…