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itch.io Recommends: Surprising games for the week of 8/10

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Surprises are -- by and large-- great. Sure you occasionally get hit with something rough (I’m looking at you, check engine light) but unexpected treasures are about the only respite we have in the hellscape that is 2017. This is part of what I love about writing these posts for you. Today I’ve got a fresh batch of games that will hopefully surprise and delight you for one reason or another. Please enjoy them.

Tacoma

How do you follow up a game like Gone Home? Do repeat your success and make Gone Home 2? Do you pivot into something completely different and realize the fabled Gun Home? Fullbright chose to do neither with Tacoma. Sure Tacoma is fundamentally a sci-fi story set on a dying space station, but it’s also a heartfelt look into the lives of outsiders.

If you’ve never played Gone Home (you should fix that) the comparisons may not help you much, but know that in both games you’re in for a fully realized 3d world with non-traditional storytelling. In Tacoma’s case you’re zipping back and forth through recreations of the events during the last few days of a space-station. It’s a unique game that we can’t help but recommend.

Another Lost Phone: Laura’s Story

I’m increasingly interested in mobile games that acknowledge the device they’re being played on. Sure, we have all come to an agreement that virtual joysticks and buttons are terrible ideas but so few games recognize that you’re not playing on a touch screen, but a phone.

A Normal Lost Phone was one of the first games I played that aped the device it was being played on. While there have been several other games to attempt a similar framing since, there have been no entries from the developers Accidental Queens until now. Another Lost Phone continues the core conceit of “Hey look at this phone you found, let’s start poking around to uncover a mystery” and is ultimately very similar to its predecessor. However that doesn’t mean it’s undeserving of your time. Another Lost Phone is available now.

Darkside Detective

I’ve always had a fraught relationship with adventure games. Many of the genre’s accepted conventions have struck me as user-hostile and hide some of the canon’s charming elements -- writing, characters, puzzles, etc… My early experience with Darkside Detective hints that the game’s developers feel similarly.

On its face Darkside Detective is an occult adventure game about a gumshoe dealing with increasingly ridiculous requests. If you investigate a little deeper you’ll find a game that takes adventure game conventions and makes them accessible to newer players and folks who’ve previously been burned by the genre. Also the music is great.

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Mentioned in this post

Gone Home
$19.99
A Story Exploration Video Game from The Fullbright Company
Adventure
A Normal Lost Phone is a game about exploring the intimacy of an unknown person whose phone was found by the player.
Adventure
Explore the social life of a young woman whose phone you have just found.
Adventure
Tacoma
$19.99
The Venturis Corporation wants their AI back. That's where you come in.
Adventure
A paranormal comedy point and click adventure!
Adventure