Indie Itch Relief
We’ve probably all been there. Sometimes, you’re just itching to play a new game, but work and life left you tired and stressed out enough – picking up another 30h epic may seem too big a task. Fortunately, there are lots of great, shorter games out there and plenty of them can be found on Itch.io. Browsing through the site’s extensive library can be a task in itself, however, but we’re here to help. We’ve selected 4 games from our collection of indie games from Southeast Asia you should give a try the next time you’ve got that itch.
Starting off our list is a charming little game about a remorseful scientist, who must mend the broken relationships with his robot children. Each of the robots seem to have their particular reasons to be mad at him and it’s now the player’s task to help this little family come back together.
To do this, the game shows us a lot of innovative gameplay mechanics. We face off against the robot-kids in what seems like the usual boss battle manner – but rather than trying to hurt the children, our “bullets” are heart-shaped and aim to restore the “enemy’s” health bar instead of depleting it. The father may take quite a bit of damage along the way himself, but it’s a sacrifice worth making for the sake of mending the hurt feelings he’s caused.
RE:PAIRN’T was created for a game jam and is thus quite short, but I recommend playing it. The graphics are super cute and the game’s mechanics show that using violence isn’t always the solution, as so many other games would have us believe.
I admit it, I’m cheating a bit with this entry. Faerie Afterlight is a beautiful platformer Metroidvania game from Indonesia and only its playable alpha version is available on itch.io. While the game isn’t finished yet, it’s simply too pretty to ignore and after playing it, I’m looking forward to the full release.
Players control Kimo, a small bunny-like creature, and Wispy the fairy. Together, they make their way through a gorgeous looking landscape, facing enemies and obstacles along the way. Some enemies must be fought, while others can be controlled by Wispy and help Kimo getting past deadly hazards. Despite the calm atmosphere, dark creatures lurk in this world and the game’s current version already introduces us to the first of them, a giant spider who would gladly eat Kimo for lunch.
Faerie Afterlight promises to become a wonderful game and it can be quite relaxing to play. At least until you reach the spider. The spider tossed me around like a sack of potatoes and buried me under falling rocks. Again and again. Still, my coordination can be on the level of a potato sometimes, so hopefully, you’ll do better.
Let’s Go There And Wander Nowhere
Have you ever tried to help someone who didn’t want your help? Then perhaps you know how frustrating it can be and how tempting it may feel to simply walk away. Or perhaps you’ve been that person, broken and alone, yet trying your hardest to push everyone away.
Let’s Go There And Wander Nowhere encapsulates these struggles and more. The game begins on a dark road, next to a burning car. We find a stranger cowering on the street. But instead of accepting our help, the stranger urges us to leave and runs away. Throughout the game, we find ourselves following her, never quite knowing what she’s talking about and when she might push us away.
There is a story to the game, but it’s not the player’s. Still, while stumbling into this mysterious low poly 3D world, you can’t help but wonder what happened here. You find yourself eager to learn and at the same time, feel as if you are overstepping and intruding into someone else’s mindscape. Although Polychroma Games, the studio behind the game, states that it’s not meant to be understood, it still evokes many emotions that seem deeply familiar.
While it doesn’t take that long to play through this game – depending on your dialogue choices – I recommend it if you’re looking for a narrative experience and don’t feel like dealing with much gameplay.
I’ve saved this game for last, as it heavily deals with themes of suicide and self-harm, so a content warning is in order. With that out of the way, let’s dive into DIVINATION.
In this game, we jump into the unfamiliar role of a fortune teller in a cyberpunk world. There’s a rebellion looming on the horizon, following the suicide of the seemingly omniscient AI named Mother. Our days consist of watching the news and receiving clients who all come to us with a specific question in mind. It’s then our job to listen to their stories and interpret the rune stones they draw. It may not always only be the client’s destiny on the line – perhaps our decisions even influence the fate of an entire city.
DIVINATION is quite short, but if you want to find the game’s true ending, you might have to invest some extra time and pay closer attention to the clues hidden in the stories of your clients. The writing is smart and brings up some interesting questions such as: Should robots be allowed to commit suicide? Who are we, the fortune teller and what is our goal in influencing the fates of our clients?
The game also features some clever mechanics, which enrich the visual novel-style gameplay and make it easy to redo some of our choices to influence the final outcome. All in all, I strongly recommend giving this game a shot.
PS: For those among us who love getting achievements for our efforts, you can also find this game on Steam.