Part Worlds Chat, part Broken Reality, theclub.zone is an intriguing exploration of the strange wacky side of virtual worlds, but one that has been done better- kind of.
Primarily known for their comedy collaboration with Rick & Morty creator Justin Roiland, developer CrowsCrowsCrows recent entry into experimental digital media is a little more up Rebind’s alley than their usual fare.
IV drips pulse, carrying anesthetic down the tube, through the needle, and into the bloodstream of your wife. She lies beneath lamplight, her breathing slightly irregular, but it should be okay, her vitals are stabilizing. You have to put her under, again, to get through the study. In the two beds besides hers are your other subjects and colleagues. One an archeologist, the other the neurobiologist whose research brought you here. On the monitor, the process fills progress bars as sense-data flutters along the wires, cris-crossing between workstation and subject.
Change does not come of complacency. Witches know this; their craft is that of action. Nestled in the heart of the city, one of them steps out of their dwelling to a dystopic city block: propaganda lines the walls, morose denizens wander aimless, homeless shiver street-side.
We’ve previously coveredSonoshee‘s (@Sonoshit on twitter) Critters For Sale: SNAKE, a unique episodic take on the visual novel genre through a fresh perspective riffing on pop culture and to which shows no signs of stopping with the new entry GOAT.
Goat keeps up the intense visual style that made the original so compelling, despite going from a hotel to a desert the aesthetic remains fully intact and just as vibrant as ever. What has changed is the tone- Goat is an origin story of side characters from the first episode, and by the very nature of said character follows suit with a more dramatic presentation.
Darting between overhangs, I’m desperate to put distance between myself and the security drone on the other side of the road. Raining, again, but I need space. My battery is running low already, but I can see batteries just one more building away. Not wanting to risk it draining while waiting for the rain to subside, I choose to sprint from this dilapidated sanctuary to the next. The rain proves too corrosive, however, and spells my end. I collapse in the street before my vision goes dark. Time to try again.
Warning: The following contains spoilers for Can Androids Pray and features discussions of derealization and suicide.
Across the war-torn battlefield, mechanized corpses lay smoking, holding bodies inside like metal sarcophagi. Craters scar the wastes, reminders of the convulsions of humanity sparring for unnamed ideations. In a pocket at the edges, two Venusian Confederacy fighters lie locked up and damaged. Servos burnt out, they stare at each other alongside the wreckage of a Mercury Protectorate soldier, a reminder of who caused their downfall. Here, in their last moments, a momentary rest is found between these two in their solitude.
Theaters are a strange place, with more trace amounts of bodily fluids than you’d care to imagine and an extensive residue of human suffering from years of poor treatment of staffers. If psychic impressions were a petri dish for the metaphysical, then it makes one wonder what grows on the sugary, artificial butter-coated sticky floors and cracked plaster behind the foggy glass of the popcorn machine.
Throw in the high intensity of the countless emotions felt across the entire spectrum during showings, and theaters turn into a putrid spiritual cauldron of the psyche, the perfect place to manifest something from another world; a portal into the realm of the subconscious.
EA girl sits alone in a room, her door locked. She glances toward her bed, but isn’t tired enough to sleep. Instead, her focus turns to the TV and her game console. As she boots it up, time dissolves and gives way to a series of vignettes exploring the continually deteriorating state of the village she lives in. Death begins to form an iron grip around the village’s throat, piling bodies higher and higher as the townspeople work tirelessly through the night to fill the graveyard with the corpses. An entity haunts the woods, creeping, stalking. Dust falls eternal and chokes the air. Unknowable horror lurks beneath the dark eaves of a thatched cottage.
Presented in a lo-fi, late 90’s aesthetic, you play as Nova, a Nano Cleaner tasked with the seemingly overwhelming goal of tackling a malaise plaguing the world of New Theland. Nano Dust has spread far and wide over this place, infecting anyone unfortunate enough to become host to this particulate assassin. Once inside, it spreads rapidly and exacerbates all the worst things one can imagine: rage, sickness, gluttony, pain, and so on. By shrinking to microscopic size, Nova is able to enter the minds and bodies of those afflicted and take on the infestation with her trusty vacuum.
We’ve all happily been spoiled by the kind of gigantic AAA releases that make parkour style platforming a dream, but Minimal Raider by Tim Hengeveld (who seems to be more known for experimental point-n-click narratives) makes for a pleasant light afternoon snack of getting back to basics.
Aside from a few of my own shortcomings in grasping the controls (I managed to miss the tooltip for dropping from ledges, instead opting to test my character’s tolerances for falling) Minimal Raider is a simple and enjoyable experience with lovely pacing. I am rarely too comfortable with the idea of 3D platforming, especially since depth perception can be an issue when navigating iffy corners or the tight timing of a deadly trap, but Minimal Raider manages to keep the stakes at a reasonable setback of merely being teleported to the last checkpoint.