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itch.io Recommends: bad metaphors and great games!

Cruise on in to the itch.io pit stop where we’ll fill you up with all kinds of great games! Fill up your tote with the freshest farm-to-table games at the itch.io farmer’s market! No I’m not great at metaphors. You know what I am good at? Picking out great games that deserve your attention. Forget about the linguistic crimes I committed above with the hottest games of the week below.


CrossCode

Let’s file CrossCode under “don’t judge a game by its cover.” When I first saw screenshots I thought I was staring down a faux-retro JRPG. As it turns out I was 100% wrong. While CrossCode borrows a lot of the aesthetics of a SNES JRPG, the game itself is a punchy action brawler with a surprisingly deep story. I’ve only been able to complete the opening moments of the game (howlongtobeat.com lists playtime of CrossCode as 20-50 hours) and I’m already invested in weird ship captains, mind control, and some sort of conspiracy involving fighting robot girls. Yeah, there’s a lot going on.

At this point it’s pretty hard to overstate how impressed I am with CrossCode. The pixel-work is chunky and expressive, the soundtrack has a cool retro-future vibe, and the combat takes the best parts of Devil May Cry and the Souls series. I’m not sure where the world of CrossCode is going, but I’m excited to pick the game back up after I’m finished with this post.


Monstruous

I’m a big fan of small projects that take a simple idea to its limit. Monstruous is a game where you have to manage a series of interactions to defeat a slug-monster but what sets it apart from the pack is its beautiful traditionally-drawn art.

Mechanically, Monstruous asks players to press 8 buttons in sequence to build a situation where your small team of heroes can kill the titular monster. This involves actions as traditional as shielding the party or as wild as drinking coffee for a caffeine rush and managing the changing terrain that results from these choices. As far as I can tell there are only two orders of actions that can complete the game, but the real joy comes from seeing the different animations play out.


Smith and Winston

I love a promising early access game. It’s exciting to follow along with the development of a game and see how it blooms. Smith and Winston is my newest project to follow. As of right now Smith and Winston is a voxel-based twin stick shooter with a focus on exploration. Yes that’s a lot of buzzwords in a row, but Smith and Winston somehow manages to pull it all off. The levels are manually built but fully destructible and the world is expansive but manageable.

The other half of an early access game is what the developers are promising. Execution Unit seems to have their eye on the prize with full two-player co-op coming in the near future, and more worlds promised as soon as next month. There’s always some level of risk involved in buying unfinished games, but Smith and Winston seems like a safe bet for a good time.

What are you playing this week? Let us know in the comments below!

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Mentioned in this post

CrossCode
$19.99
A retro-inspired 2D Action-RPG set in the distant future
Role Playing
a short but epic animated puzzle game !
Puzzle
Explore and Destroy in this fun adventure, with twin stick combat and full level destruction
Action