October 26, 2015

An Itch(io) for Short Games


Twice a month, I'm completely without my big, beautiful gaming computer and am left with my low-storage, low-variety MacBook to create a Monday morning post with. Since there are issues with cross-platform save files, my criteria was harsh: OS X compatible, free, short, and good.

Itchi.io, a popular website for sharing indie games (many of them free), came to the rescue. Over the night of Saturday the 24th, I sat down and played anything short that struck my fancy. Read on for my thoughts.



Equinox


Created over two days by two people aided by bananas, Equinox is a short, sweet explorative game with a stellar soundtrack and calming graphics. Simple but well-designed landscapes span across the screen as you guide your sparkle-leaving character on through a hilly, craggy, mysterious world. The character design was adorable, by the way. Level requirements are simple - snatch up a small orb of one color, watch to see how the large, initial one in the corner of your screen changes, and hurry on up to a circle of that color in the landscape.

The sound design of Equinox was fantastic. Music seemed to progress as I did, and it was both calming and stimulating as I continued to play. Effects such as gaining orbs or progressing to new stages made sense and were satisfying. Very nicely done, @funselektor and @toyxtree!


5 Million Years in 5 Minutes: The Mammoth


The Mammoth: A Cave Painting was created by a team of four folks at inbetweengames (Twitter) for the Ludum Dare 33 game jam. For those unacquainted, a game jam is an event set up to push developers to create a game over a short period of time, in this case, three days. Since three days in light of creating something thoughtful, aesthetically pleasing, and understandable is difficult for a video game, The Mammoth was marketed as "the 5 million year [old] story of the mammoth in 5 minutes (itch.io)".

Even in being such a short game, The Mammoth was beautiful to play and was overall very enjoyable. Controls were simple and intuitive, and the story was touching and immediately gripping. I'm especially pleased with how the sound design was executed, given that little time only garnered as simple of sound aesthetic as possible, since what was there nailed it. Art style was adorable and I'd definitely play again to refine my play techniques and see if I could improve my outcome.


Feed the Pigeons Instead


I...have no idea what I've just played. Feed the Pigeons Instead is an HTML game that doesn't have a whole lot of explanation to it besides...well, feed the pigeons and make sure they don't die. Obstacles like workers for the city (and then their later forms as pigeon-hungry folks on the street) get in the way of feeding pigeons, a timer for ability to feed being the one mechanism in the game besides your own mouse. I kept dying on the second stage of obstacles, so I don't know if it got even better.

The art style of FtPI was simple but easy to understand. The...er, pigeon AI was kind of unnatural, but that's really fine since it wasn't broken. The writing was funny and effective for the length and purpose.

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All in all, I had a great time browsing Itch.io for its best, and I'm looking forward to giving this another shot. I even found a fantastic little game that's definitely making my Friday afternoon post that I'm excited to share with all of you. Would you guys be interested in another segment like this in the future?

3 comments:

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    Replies
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