RE:BIND

Browsing category: Indienoculars

An incessant churning strikes the ears, a hidden note obscured from your senses as you pass a metal hatch cold to the touch. Vivid, unspeakable colours flood through your retinas into the cones of your eyes, refracting a garish disco of bygone excess and artificial hostility manifested in defiance of any natural order.

You, adventurer, for better or worse, are now in a place far beyond your comprehension.

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A porcelain doll staggers up from a menacing crouch over something ambiguously corpselike, two blackened holes where eyes normally are meet your gaze as you aim down the sights of a police issue pistol. It’s hard to distinguish the cacophonous shattering of ceramic from the sudden crack of a .32 ACP round discharging from the chamber, the shell casing hitting the floor blending seamlessly with the clattering of shards against hard wood.

Golden gears glisten in the gaslight, catching your eye as you return to your senses. It’s not like you’ve never seen action in the line of duty before, but the tight confines of the study and the horrendous acoustics seemingly unravel your nerve, leaving you more disoriented than ever. After coming to terms with the fact that this house is inhabited by malevolent clockwork automata, you begin to formulate a plan to escape not only the confines of this porcelain hell, but also this ridiculous outfit.

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“Lockheart Indigo” – by Harmless

Icy cold glares of passersby cut through the gaps of the iron palisades as you walk down the brick road path that leads to the grand entrance. Once in a while you catch a glimpse of hidden emotion on the face of the staff- grief, guilt, shock, something has shattered the peace so suddenly that no one, not even the family estate, knows quite how to react. For a moment, you’re sure that one of the robots might even be crying… actually, nevermind, I think that’s just machine oil.

Whatever they may be feeling, they’re all suspects and you’re no therapist, you’re a private eye named Beatris Summers. When the killer is hiding in plain sight, you can only rely on evidence, quick wits, and nerves of steel, just don’t forget that everyone is a piece in play, whether pawns or queens.

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‘The Last Day’ (Demo) – by Studio Kiku

Guy Debord argued in his 1967 work, La société du spectacle, that modern culture was subject to an ongoing impoverishment of authenticity, a controlled demolition of the boundaries that distinguish past and present in favor of the all-encompassing spectacle.

The Last Day is a dutiful exploratory adventure piece that illustrates this concept succinctly, presenting us with an experience that drives to the heart of how the bleak erasure of divisions between the personal and professional, even having lost within ourselves any sense of ownership over our private time, has affected us on a deeply scarring level. Through the sacrifice of unpaid labor and personal time upon the altar of The Commute, we cede our agency to uncaring concrete gods in hopes they will grant our meek wishes for modest fortunes in return.

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POST/CAPITALISM – by Colestia

An endemic issue with 90s saccharine consumerism is how it erodes our moral compass, an effect none too dissimilar to what a hefty bowl of colourful breakfast cereal does to our teeth.

In much the same way those vivid dinosaur marshmallows you ate this morning aren’t sitting well with you, we’ve spent the past 20 years with a collective tummy ache learning that luxury commodities are a sometimes food best tempered by moderate consumption and responsible choices.

Thankfully, video games, the contemporary poster child of economic excess, may ironically offer us one of the best educational tools to train ourselves out of our unsustainable appetites.

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(Content Warning: Existential Dread, Death, Epilepsy triggering VFX warning)

There is a friction, a loud churning in my skull whenever I hear the words “Interactive Fiction”, my sensory nodes become disrupted, my enthusiasm modules go cold, and my fingers seize up as the cursor hovers over the application. My mind’s eye starts to blur, I lose interest and my sense of disbelief, and whatever drive I had to progress through the most luminary works of our time goes temporarily quiet.

……… Support systems flicker on, I receive a strange transmission in my email inbox with a subject header… “Lysogenesis“.. An electrical impulse fires somewhere deep within me, and the reflective surface of my eyes go white.

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Inscryption (2021) – By Daniel Mullins Games

Last year we indulged in the macabre joy of Sacrifices Must Be Made, a rough gem prototype from Pony Island Creator Daniel Mullins that we came across while scouring game jam entries.

Part Darkest Dungeon, Part Hand Of Fate, the original prototype was built around a simple yet addicting head-to-head card battle game that I’ve been unable to satiate my cravings for outside of the deeply riveting Phantom Rose. This time however, Inscryption is going to have a lot more going for it than just the core formula, revisiting the concept with new features and a narrative driven focus.

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Just, Bearly‘ by Daniel Roberts

(Content Warning: discussions of anxiety, mental health)

It’s difficult to find games that address anxiety in a way that isn’t demoralizing, dehumanizing, or both.

Just, Bearly‘ avoids many tropes of the shy awkward protagonist narrative, instead approaching it with an earnest humility that passionately demonstrates the ways strangers intimidate us, without being overly resentful, resorting to dehumanizing story beats, or ascribing ulterior motives to everyone around our hero.

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Driving games have a sort of uncategorizable mystique, which has over the years come in myriad flavors. Something about the experience of driving, or perhaps its situational surrounds, serves as a passage ritual, representing a journey not merely through space but also through the psyche.

The Interlude, on the other hand, self-identifies as an anti-thriller and is all about the space between those dramatic highs and lows found elsewhere, it is the eye through which we needle our narrative thread.

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