Mixtapes – oh, yeah! Arousal rendered in the form of cassettes; plastic bath tubs filled with free game goodies straight from the kitchen. Dip your toe in, try the waters and then thrust your whole foot in. Feels good, doesn’t it? Mixtapes – mwah! Free games to play through the guts of the developers. Warm, weird, amusing and masochist. A reel of the unknown into which you can fantasize.
Plunge into the purple landscapes of Lox and you’ll soon find that you can’t bear to look down. That must be the reasoning behind this upwards shooting arcade scroller, right? See that purple? YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE PURPLE! And so now you must look to the skies and blast down the birds that attempt to lay their droppings on your head. That’s right; Lox is an avoid-the-bird-poop simulator, with real gun sounds! Well, maybe not that last bit; this is a game for the pew-pew heads.
As you hold down the trigger to shoot and score as many of these winged beasts as possible, you’ll not only experience the most manic of screenshakes (FOR ULTIMATE ACTION), but would do well to avoid the many pits that will appear along your journey. Not only that, but keeping an eye out for the larger, low-flying birds is necessary too, as they’ll some times attempt to head directly for you. Jumping will resolve this, considering you can’t shoot any place but upwards. Just run and shoot, and shoot and run! Get the high score – GO, GO, GO!
Peculiar one, this. Place starts off with a message on a wall that immediately starts playing with your mind. It invites you to attempt to keep an eye on the walls. Funny, because the walls, floor and ceiling blend into the white of each other, making it near-impossible to do such a thing. But hey, you’re just a puny player inside the MACHINE, and it’s about to swallow up your understanding of…well, just a couple of things. Start moving in the direction the arrow points to, but where do you look? Which wall will have a surprise for you, if any at all? “I’ll just look forward,” you decide, and then you hear a THUD from behind. Turn around and you see that the wall which was previously barely within your sight is now two inches away from your nose…”uh, hi, Mr. Wall,” you stupidly blurt out.
Turn back around, and further you go with a THUD, THUD, THUD. Every few steps, you can hear the wall chasing you, snapping at your heels. Then a doorway emerges at the far end, so you make a dive for it. Once through, turn back around and notice that the wall has retreated. Did it ever even give chase? Sneaky walls. If you enter Place, you’ll find more deception in these walls and the messages that offer suggestions and untrustworthy guidance. Dare you enter?
Pac-man would never work as a horror game…but there are ghosts, I suppose. Ghosts can be scary if they’re huge and have googly eyes, right? Well, perhaps not just as an entity, but slam them into a dark, atmospheric maze and just maybe they could incite a few shivers down your spine. An encroaching neon cloak that stares relentlessly as it saps your soul on collision. Actually, these ghosts are just over-sized cute sheets – they’re really not scary at all!
And what’s with this maze wandering lark? I don’t want to strut around corridors collecting meaningless dots. It’s like being in one of those quirky Japanese game shows that amuse everyone so much on YouTube. Maybe I like that. But it’s not scary. Ghosts are cute, and they just want a hug.
A kvlt as fvck entry for Ludum Dare 25 (or should I say LVDVM DARE), Like Insects is a one-room shooter that has you, some kind of laser-firing bull-headed demon dude, harvesting the skulls of your fallen enemies in order to build up a score (I let them pile up in this screenshot for dramatic effect, but if you’re able to survive long enough, they can stack up pretty quickly! Ripping out skulls is not easy work).
The game has a moody black and white style with an awesome degraded VHS effect, and some lo-fi drone playing in the background. Overall, this is a neat and fairly polished game with a really solid style.
Hello, retro game lovers. Remember games that looked like this? Simple color palettes and animated pixels rendered in the 4-bit style unveil a true delight once in a while, and with Under The Moon, that is certainly the case. It’s a sidescrolling platformer full of daggers, spikes, rats and bats. Just like something you’d find in a children’s horror book. Being a pure platformer, jumping is the only thing you can do, so that’s all you’ll need to master. Each room is filled with traps that require timing and determination to surpass, or maybe just a stroke of luck. Don’t expect to be eased into this one; there’s no room for basic error, and so you’ll need to be familiar with games of this ilk to do well.
There’s a decent amount of length to this too, as you traverse a number of locales and their many details that also become your dangers. The atmosphere throughout maintains something of a Gothic horror vibe to it, with the music kicking in a sense of unease and the visuals somehow managing to offer something foreboding all the way through. Once you get outside, things feel a little less claustrophobic, but you have to be nimble across the bats and small platforms to ensure that you’ll still feel the pain.