RE:BIND

Browsing category: Indienoculars

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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Intruder doesn’t really strike me as well-known despite the warm reception it has gotten from developers. It’s not often you ever see it mentioned or cropping up on twitter, which is a shame considering how forward thinking it is from a design perspective.

We’re a big fan of Immersive Sims at Rebind (I can’t think of many critical analysis sites for games that aren’t) but the genre is very under-represented in the multiplayer department. Because of this, it’s easy to think of Intruder as a Counter-Strike or SWAT variant.

SuperBoss has put in a lot fore-thought into the balance of their game through unconventional gadgets and mechanics like security cameras, mirrors, and the ability to be knocked off balance. If anything, the game has a lineage more in line with early rainbow six entries’ emphasis on finite tactical considerations, or games like Due Process and Project Reality spin-off SQUAD.

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(Content Warning: Themes and Implications of suicide, death, depression, traumatic events)

I can say so many things about this heart-wrenching, mournful title. It is a truly touching narrative of nostalgia and the way in which interpersonal resolution is put off until it’s too late.

The first thing to catch the eye is the outstanding visuals and the immense level of overproduction at play. YangBieng’s (@YangBieng) Nimaruroku (English title: “206”) is exceptionally well made, doubly so for being a simple but compelling bottle game.

The protagonist is established on the familiar foundation of a student living on her own and struggling with a relationship on the rocks. As you progress throughout her preparations for the school day, you get to take a moment to reflect on how every detail of her morning routine is a standing reminder of unfinished business.

(Mild spoilers past the next image.)

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Franz Ferdinand got a little Avante Garde in their later years..

A few years ago, I fell in love with the new wave of absurdist visual novels and playful experimental indies that threw you into a mineshaft of underground internet culture, littered with call-backs to unfamiliar cinema, and obscure jokes sourced from message boards or video services outside of the west like NicoNico.

Remix culture titles introduced their audience to a new cultural pantheon gilded with drama that often managed to pull at your heartstrings and immersing you in a narrative deeper than the comedic tone. Sonoshee’s (@sonoshit) Critters For Sale left me reflecting on the framework established by earlier visual novels Dog Of Dracula and its sequel that heavily leveraged the same style of satirical commentary.

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  • SeattleIndies interviewed Ty Taylor of The Bridge fame as part of a new video series where they spotlight local indies. It’s worth a watch on this lovely lazy Sunday.
  • Masahiro Ito (known for his work on Silent Hill) has created an incredibly delightful macabre wasteland setting, called Acid Buffer Zone, realized in models and paint, absolutely deserves a presence in video games.
  • If that isn’t enough artistic inspiration for you this weekend, take a look at the works of painters Boris Groh, and Keith Thompson
  • The Global Game Jam for 2019 is happening next week, find a local event in your area and participate!
  • At a glance, Noir mystery stealth title Dollhouse gives the impression of having overlap with The Ship but with a procedurally generated single-player twist. Multiplayer seems to revolve around the player being assigned targets with an interesting perspective-switching mechanic involved. Certainly worth a look closer to launch to see how the unique gameplay unfolds.
  • Retro-esque Rogue-Like Haque is on sale and seems like a fun time if you enjoy ASCII-Flavored tactics games.

We hope you’re having a lovely weekend.

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In our previous Weekend Roundup, we mentioned that @tall_shrimp‘s Philosophy Game Jam had just finalized entrants for the voting round. As promised, we ponder the most troubling dilemmas this side of the trolley problem:

(Content Warning: Given the heavy themes of self-harm, nihilism, and death in some of these titles, please proceed with caution if you don’t have an appetite for such themes. We will provide individual content warnings per title, as some are not as heavy.)

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Pow.

Writing about games is particularly pleasant because it forces you to discover little-known gems. Games previously overlooked now become the focal point of an in-depth analysis which adds to the appreciation of the task at hand.

SYSCRUSHER is one of those gems, punctuated by lo-fi cyberpunk visuals without any reservations or ego, a style complemented by primitive synths, artificial voices, and diode-lined hallways. It comes from the mind of Maine Indie Developer Dirigo Games (@Dirigo_Games), A developer previously known for Minotaur-’em-up Depths of Fear :: Knossos.

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