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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.

Lost In Vivo – By KIRA
(WARNING: Absolutely NOT a relaxing romp through a tropical desert island.)

I am certainly not the first person to write about Lost In Vivo, nor will I be the last, but I’m more than happy to place my thorough stamp of approval on it.

John Wick style dog-revenge quest turned stormdrain hunt for your canine pal, Lost In Vivo is a very clear homage to everyone’s favorite pea-soup fog simulator, Silent Hill. As a long time fan of the latter, it’s often hard for me to feel at home in the myriad of imitations or tributes over the year, but despite this, Vivo manages to overcome this block gracefully and avoids becoming saturated with its inspirations.

KIRA pulls off a compelling descent into the dark unknown, with the character going out of their comfort zone to overcome their anxiety long enough to search for their therapy dog.

Life is often a stumbling trial-by-error path of overcoming your fears to protect and provide for your loved ones, and a dog is a perfect narrative focus to motivate the player. It’s a terrifying rogue-like with many surprises, perfect for honing your adrenal system and cultivating nerves of steel.

If you were holding back on purchasing it, have Rebind’s reassuring blessings and with the confidence that instills give it a go (trust me, you’ll need the confidence.)

Disconnected is a fascinating game that I came across last October while looking for experimental horror titles on Itch. It’s a slow, methodical experience that elevates itself above its cumbersome control scheme. The player is set up with the task of visiting an old friend, with clues on how to progress telegraphed to you via cellphone chat window. It’s relatively straightforward and hard to talk about without giving the game away.

What was striking in particular was how Christoph established an isolated atmosphere right away without robbing your connection to the outside world. The environment feels lived in, and it evokes more the disturbing sensation of being in an office building or apartment complex alone at night instead of something outright malevolent.

DISCONNECTED successfully emulates some of the old, uncanny horror feeling from prior euro-horror titles like Cry Of Fear or Afraid Of Monsters.

Given how short it is, if you’re looking for a late night jolt, give it a try.


Emily Rose is an indie developer who writes for rebind.io and resides in the pacific northwest. She’s often seen in the local VR arcade and developer community participating in pushing the medium’s horizons. You can find her on twitter @caravanmalice