One of my favorite parts of running this blog is finding and recommending games that are going to appeal to very specific people. I realize that if I wanted to “maximize sales” I’d pick only the most broadly appealing games to highlight each week-- but that’s not really our style here on the itch.io Blog. This week I want to recommend a trio of games that you’re either going to love or wonder why it was recommended. Read on to find out more about these niche recommendations.
I’m a sucker for some thoughtful system-based gameplay, but I feel like it has been a while since I was able to really sink my teeth something tactical. That is, until Endhall. Endhall takes a look at grid-based combat asks you to build Rube Goldberg-esque interactions between your spells and enemy positioning while maintaining an ever-dwindling healthpool. There are some light roguelike elements as far as level-generation and skill acquisition goes but the real meat of the experience comes from pondering your next move and then seeing the dominoes fall afterward.
I managed to beat Endhall on my first try, but because I enjoyed the experience so much I immediately went back for seconds. I was able to get pretty far with the same strategy, but I keep thinking about possible other options. Now I’m not sure if any of my theoretical plans will work, but this sort of out of game strategizing speaks to the fun I had during my time with Endhall.
Becalm is perhaps the most literally named game I’ve ever played. This little game has one express goal: forcing you to Be Calm. Becalm puts you on a relaxing sailboat trip that lasts exactly five minutes-- no more no less. You’re not tasked with controlling the boat, or braving any storms. You can swivel your head around to look at everything in the 3D space and take pictures. That’s all. It’s a game about taking five minutes to yourself and providing a calm port in the turbulent storm that are our lives.
None of this is to say that Becalm has limited itself to scenes of pastoral or naturalist beauty. Sure there are trees and water, but neither of them look like our trees or our water. Everything is run through a dream-like filter that jumps, jitters, and pulses throughout your ride while surrealist shapes rise and fall into the water. In my experience this prevented me from focusing too heavily on any individual thing and fall into the relaxing experience deeper.
I’m aware that Becalm is likely only going to appeal to a certain type of person, but if any of this has piqued your interest I can highly recommend spending a few minutes on this strange sailboat.
Gamma Bros is one of the oldest games we’ve ever featured on the blog having originally launched in 2006. Why are we talking about it? Well the folks at Pixeljam have brought the game to itch.io making the classic easier than ever to play.
But what is Gamma Bros? It’s a sort of shmup/ twin stick shooter hybrid with Pixeljam’s signature adherence to “neo-retro” mechanics. Basically, as enemies scroll in from the sides of the screen you’ll be angling to wipe them out along your favorite 8 directions with the precision you remember from your favorite classics of the 80s and 90s. Gamma Bros doesn’t serve up a complicated concept, but it does what it sets out to accomplish with style and charm. Best of all, the game is available for free.
What have you been playing this week? Let us know in the comments below.
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