RE:BIND

Browsing posts from: Emily Rose

An average London night, wandering around after a bender at the pub only to be confronted by an angry football hooligan.

Simulations and immersion are like peanut butter and chocolate, or hazelnuts and ganache if you prefer. They’re lovely things when separate and go shockingly well together in a classic genre born out of experimental titles in the 90s.

Dillon Rogers is no stranger to the genre and decided, after working with New Blood on DUSK, to embark on his own homage to the Looking Glass greats.

We sat down for a chat about his London-fog flavored stealth shooter Gloomwood:

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A rough night, one of many.

Bird Of Passage arrives from the same metaphysical pedigree as Glitchhikers or Kentucky Route Zero both in aesthetics and execution. All three games follow a minimalist approach with dialogue driven by the momentum of inference, built around the whimsical framework of Magical Realism. Sidewalks covered by slick sheen, a lonely street light, blurry out of focus reflections that accentuate pastel taxis coming together to illustrate a long journey into an endless night wandering the Tokyo suburbs. Space Backyard has given a superb performance in capturing the plight of a listless wanderer.

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Part interactive fiction, part audio drama, part exploratory game. In the Pause between the Ringing is a fascinating journey into the ontological impact of colonial occupation and resource exploitation through the lens of magical realism. Not only exploring what it means to be seized by hostile corporate overlords, but the ensuing effect upon a language, a culture, and the places that form in its wake.

Commissioned by the Victoria And Albert Museum’s Design/Play/Disrupt program, Pause is a bleak reminder of the not-too-distant past, when the English and Dutch crowns extended their tendrils across every continent and encircled the world. At the core of these imperialistic ambitions was economic innovation and exploitation of natural resources without any regard for the local populace.

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A little taste of Texas in Detroit

FILTHBREED By Borja Zoroza

The grim facade of a warehouse built from rotting wood acts acting as a shroud for a horrifying secret; walls bleeding from years of cigarette smoke, and the bump in the night you wish wasn’t real. FILTHBREED immediately pulled my focus into this dark world, reminding me of my years spent playing the Condemned franchise.

The most enjoyable facet of the game is how it never gets in the way of the horror. Its straightforward delivery of gameplay has you into the meat of it within minutes, allowing you to stay focused on your sleuthing, sifting rotten paper notes reminiscent of flesh for clues to what nightmares unfolded here. You’re forced to put your weapon down to interact with objects, a clever, simple mechanism that helps foster a sense of vulnerability and unease.

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Drip-drip

Rainstorm EP is a cozy little collaborative piece by Jake Grizzly Pierce and Jakey Mumfie. Its soft pixel rain soothes the spirit with tunes you find buried inside various objects. It’s a game that asks you take a small moment out of your day, put work down, and interact with something that doesn’t overly demand your attention.

It’s a gentle massage for the eyes and ears that relieves some stress and helps to center the player. Tiny pieces of world-building comments help build its atmosphere both during and after discovering tape collection hotspots. Muddled visuals give way to short, varied audio vignettes crafted with love, leaving a feeling that this is less a game, and more of an artistic jam session.

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Sail the stormy keys in After The Waves Crash
  • Resident Evil 2 Remake came out this week. While I’m not personally much of a Resident Evil fan, I do know a little bit of lore. Hunk has always been an attractive fan favorite as an unstoppable mystery man on a mission, and this gameplay demonstrates his personality perfectly. There’s something compelling about gameplay footage recorded by someone playing the game with an approach that mirrors the character’s personality. Like an actor in an appropriate role, something about this footage just works. It’s refreshing to see such a well done PC release of a classic console game that manages to do justice to the original.
  • Eldritch R’thym game After The Waves Crash by Filip Ghisi Stefan is definitely worth a few minutes of your time. Especially if you’re busy like me and struggle to find the time for Sunless Skies.
  • Genderfluid Tiefling by Luna is a fun little meditation on LGBT narratives that go OK. no tragedies here, just a nice and pleasant day with friends.
  • I’m not sure what the moral of Brativism by Marina Kittaka is, but it reminded me a lot of Naked Lunch. If you’re into that sort of thing, take a look for a unique little experience.
  • It’s the 20th anniversary of Silent Hill, which means: Insert Coins? It’s time for you to bring back the Silent Hill merch.

Seeyou monday!

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With some larger pieces in the schedule for next week, we wanted to take some time and showcase a few smaller indies we haven’t had a chance to look at previously.

TAKANARIA – By Crownbird
We give it a COZY out of ten.

TAKANARIA is genuinely worth finding a break in your day for. It’s a little free project released on Steam by solo Japanese Indie developer Crownbird. It focuses on its simple premise of a botanist visiting a deserted island for research. Despite having no larger deeper plot TAKANARIA exudes such an earnest sincerity with a wonderful characterization of both its inhabitants and the environment. A rich soundtrack and seaside soundscape facilitates a relaxing stride across the island with a day/night cycle and echoes of festivals past.

There is a familiarity evocative of early 2000s JRPGs present here that helps fuel the sense of nostalgia and rediscovering old memories. I found myself smiling at all the care and effort put into the delicate details for such a small game.

Part Urban-Exploration, part romantic field trip on a forgotten Mediterranean-style island, TAKANARIA is a lovely experience that will brighten up anyone’s day. If you’re hungry for more details, Crownbird has an interview over at GameSpark.

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At first glance, Spirits of Xanadu isn’t quite the same as Good Morning, Commander‘s previous entry, King Of The Wood which built a functional allegory for the premise of Bladerunner. It was an insightful, simplified meditation on taking a synthetic life as an impactful moment for the player, as well as a stylistic bedrock for Spirits Of Xanadu to build upon.

As a spiritual successor, Xanadu may come across as a clumsy shooter, but this is an intentional, stylistic choice. The clunky combat incites a sense of dread, serving both to set it apart from the genre of walking simulator and to maintain a healthy level of tension.

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ZAMBONI SIMULATOR 2019: An Examination of Existential Nihilism as it Pertains to Ice Resurfacing (By Marmot.Games)
(Content Warning: Discussions of Divorce, Suicide, Self-harm, Substance abuse, assault, domestic abuse, Depression)

Zamboni Simulator was a particularly memorable entry in the Philosophy Game Jam that took place earlier this month. It’s a fascinating portrayal of a man’s psyche threatening to swerve off course as he slowly pieces his life back together, and a reflection on resisting temptation and impulsive behavior.

After writing about the piece in our round-up, we reached out to the creators Scott Thunelius & Aaron Hecht for the following interview

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