Beeswing is not really a game I expected to be interested in. I'll be honest and say that I can judge “artsy" games kind of harshly, and the sparse profile page doesn't help much. Watching the trailer video made me a bit more interested, as it gave me an idea of what the game is about—a sort of slice of life story about memories. The atmosphere is what pulled me in. It's a bit on the expensive side at £6 (~$9.50), but if the game is reasonably long, it seems like a worthwhile investment.
Job Lozenge is a game I can really get behind. Not only low-poly, but also low-res and four-color? I've actually been following this developer on Tumblr for a while, and it's been cool watching the game come along—and, now it's finally out! You can get this odd little game about pushing crates for only $5 (Canadian, so like $4.35 USD). If that's a bit much for you, you can always just vote for it on Steam Greenlight.
The Great Story of a Mighty Hero is a third-person 3D RPG. It looks kind of like an MMO, minus the whole MMO…part. The graphics look pretty nice, though, and honestly, I wouldn't mind playing an MMO where I don't have to get begged for heals or guild invites every time I walk through town. This one's available for $4.99.
MagNets has you running around and catching buggy robots in your magnet (get it?! It's a pun) to save the town's pets. It's one of the more “real game" type games I've seen around itch.io, and it comes with a “real game" price of £7.99, or almost $12.50. It looks like the sort of thing you'd pick up on XBLA or in the bargain bin at Office Max, which is actually a compliment for a game on itch.io. It's interesting to see the site starting to attract more variety, and the game itself looks like a lot of fun!
Winter Maw is a 3D FPG. No S; just G. You're stuck in an abandoned mine, and you have to find your way out—learning what happened there as you go along. It's not your normal first-person shooter, and it's not your normal 3D survival horror game, so I kind of appreciate what they're going for. It's only $1, so you don't have too much to lose with this one.
Gentlemen… Ricochet Mini! is a Game Boy demake of Gentlemen… Ricochet!, and it looks like they did a pretty good job. You should know by now that I'm a fan of four-color graphics and technical limitations, and I like what they managed to do with the original game. The graphics sort of remind me of Kirby. For only…huh, usually I don't pick “Name Your Own Price" games, so they must have lowered it at some point. If you like the game, though, be sure to give the developer some support by at least paying a bit!
Out There is space game, but it's not Out There Somewhere. It calls itself a graphical text adventure, but it's not exactly a visual novel, and it's definitely not your average Choose Your Own Adventure-type game. I'll warn you before you get too excited—the game is for Android only. But, for $3.99, you get sort of a replayable sci-fi comic book adventure with achievements and leaderboards and everything. Considering that it has “300+ unique text adventures", that sounds like a pretty reasonable price!
Quest of Decay is one of those procedurally-generated dungeon-crawler games, but it's not quite a roguelike. There's a lot of hype about permadeath these days, so it's interesting to see a game where you actually get to keep some part of your progress. Dungeons also actually have an end to them, as well, instead of just being infinitely generated until you die. Not too bad for $3.00, and there's a demo to try if you're not sure about the price.
Seven Bullets is a text adventure with over 280,000 words. This isn’t a Choose Your Own Adventure book! There are achievements and unlockables and everything! There’s even a ferret in the logo. For $3.99, the game is cheaper than most books you could buy—and, it’s also available in ebook formats if you pay a dollar more.
Sol 0 is another Mars colony simulation games, and if you’ve been paying attention to this column in the past, you’ll know that those terms basically guarantee a spot. The game is still in development, but $3.99 will get you access to the beta and let you start your mission and try to make a self-sustaining colony on everyone’s favorite neighbor planet. If you’d rather wait for the final version, you can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight—you can do that for free!
16 Bit Rally is a classically-styled racing game—and oh, man, does it make me happy. I don’t even really care about racing games, but something about the period-accurate graphics makes me want to hand over the $2.99 (Australian!). Just look at those horizontal lines. That’s how you know you’re going fast!
Fully Bugged Little Cells is a neat puzzle game that has you placing cells under a microscope, trying to prevent a disease from spreading. I like the concept, and the game looks pretty fun. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if the $4.99 price point is worth it, but it gets you a copy for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
MacroFATE is a kind of space colony sim and space exploration simulator. It’s difficult to pin down a simple description of the game because it does a lot of cool things all at once. You get to build your own ships and colonies (I’m reminded a bit of TankCraft), build up your populations, and explore the infinite, randomly generated universe. If you’re not sure about the $6.10 price tag, there’s a demo available so you can try the game before you pay up.
Safe Cracker is a cute sort of physics puzzle game. You have to spin cogs so that your little robot ball can roll around and hit all of the buttons. I was able to play this one, and the levels steadily get more complex, not to mention dealing with traps. Don’t be fooled by the first few levels where you can easily get all the stars before the timer is up. The price might seem like a bit much at £3.99 (~$6.30), but there’s no shortage of levels to go through (not to mention going back for trophies), so I’ll leave it up to you if you’re in the market for a puzzle game.
Vintage Year is a fast-paced roguelike shooter RPG. Games with permadeath and randomly generated levels seem to be all the rage these days, but this one looks a little more fast-paced than average and it looks like it has a decent amount of content. There’s plenty of running around a shooting things to go around. The game is currently available for $2.99, but if you prefer, you can vote for it on Steam and wait and hope that it comes out there. Or, you can do both!
QbQbQb is an interesting sort of puzzle game with smooth graphics and catchy music (not sure about the singing featured in the trailer, though). You rotate your planet to stack incoming colored blocks, and there’s single player, co-op, and versus mode! The game is going for $3.99 on itch.io, which is $1 less than on Steam. When Steam takes 30%, they’re still making a tiny bit more with itch.io at that rate. So, support a developer and buy through itch.io!
Terminal Future EP gives you three games to check out. I had the chance to play these, and while the games themselves are fairly simple, I really like the experience you get. As I’ve mentioned before, space and the future are kind of my thing, and I enjoy the world and the creative storytelling these games feature. The pack is only $1, and Gateway Shuffle is worth that on its own. Would you rather have a dollar or a fun couple of hours?
The Few takes you to the Battle of Britain in World War II, leading the RAF to fend off the attacking Germans. It looks like there’s two different play modes—one where you take command over large-scale operations, and another where you lead individual missions. The developers seem to have taken a lot of care to be historically accurate, or at least as historically accurate as a game can reasonably be. If you’re a fan of old planes, or if you’re just a fan of strategy games, The Few looks pretty good for $7.99.
Tachyon Reef is a cool ocean exploration game. Earn money by finding new types of fish, then upgrade your ship to explore even further! Keep in mind that this is an alpha demo—you're getting a prototype, with the promise of updates (including a Steam key, if it makes it on Steam). I had the chance to play the alpha through the press system, and it looks pretty promising, if maybe a little unpolished at the moment. It's $5 to reserve your copy and try the prototype, which will be a deal after full release!
Papilio is an arcade-style shmup. In other words, be prepared for a lot of bullets. I see plenty of shmups come by, but Papilio differentiates itself in two ways. First, the setting is something other than "Space: The Future"; second, the aesthetic looks more like an actual arcade shmup (or, SNES or PlayStation port) than the NES-esque style I see all the time. If you're looking for a more modern style of shmup from an indie developer, this one is available for $4.99, and you can always try out the demo first.
Blind Adventure is an interesting test of concept. It's hard to tell how the game plays from the screenshots—considering that the game is meant to be played by hearing. Apparently, your character is invisible and you have to figure out where they are and how to get them to the goal by listening to the sound effects. I always like seeing developers do something different, so if you want to see more cool games like this, consider buying this one for $2.49. There's even a demo you can try if you want to test it out first.
Black Tower Enigma is a cute-looking retro puzzle/adventure game. If you're not interested in the screenshots, maybe try checking out the trailer on the developer's website. I'm not sure why they didn't put that on the game's itch.io profile. It looks like there's a lot of pretty cool puzzles, and you make steps along a story as you play. For the low, low price of $0.99, you can have this game for Windows, Mac, and Android!
M.I.N.E. is the kind of game I always want to feature on here. Find planets, lay down bases, and start colonizing! I really like the look and feel of this one. There’s something addictive about watching your little towns grow, and space exploration is kind of my thing. It’s also cool to see another developer sticking it out with XNA—although, that does limit the game to Windows. For only $1.99, you can start colonizing your own part of the galaxy!
Castle is not your average sleek-looking casual game. In a genre that's full of formulaic gameplay and recycled ideas, this one actually looks pretty cool. Match the pieces, build your castle, and protect it from enemies! There’s also a part of me that wonders why I haven’t seen this game being covered anywhere else. Maybe because it’s a Windows game that looks like it belongs on mobile—or, maybe it’s the $6.99 price point. I’ll let you decide how you feel about the price, but I think this game deserves a little more notice.
DOGFORCE SEASONS: AUTUMN is ANOTHER GAME ABOUT DOGS. LOOK AT THE DOGS. These dogs are even wearing costumes! This is the Autumn/Halloween update to the gamejam submission DOGFORCE, a game in which you have 45 seconds to do as much dog stuff as you can to get the high score. Run, bark, pee, splash, catch…all the dog stuff is there! I had the chance to play this one through the press system, and while it was fun and definitely really cute, there’s only so many times that you can play 45 seconds of a game. Is it worth £1.50 (~$2.50)? I’ll leave that one for you to decide!
On the Shoulders of Ancestors is a game with some interesting mechanics. The name is literal: You physically stand on the dead bodies of your ancestors in order to progress. Don’t worry about not having enough ancestors—the game stars “Lemonites”, genetically engineered organisms that die pretty quickly, but not before leaving behind eggs that will hatch more Lemonites to continue the mission. Judging by the trailer, you’ll be going through a lot of these creatures! This game is on Windows, Linux, and Mac for $4.00—and, if you’re not convinced, you can check the free demo.
Ball’N'Flag originally didn’t catch my eye. I mean, I get pixel art, and I get simple games—but this seemed like a bit much. Then I noticed that this game is actually a real NES game. I know there are people out there doing that kind of thing, but it’s cool to see it on itch.io. For the game that you're seeing, the $5 price point is way out of range—but, if it’s worth it to you to support somebody who’s trying to develop for a classic system, maybe you’ll consider looking into this one. With some support, maybe the developer can move on to cooler games.
Secret of Escape is a 2D stealth game, where you have to sneak through each level in 15 seconds or be blown up! The profile describes a story that sounds like the plot of a Saw movie, where a mysterious villain has strapped bombs to you and the only way to survive is to make it through each room, finding the keys hidden along the way. Avoid the traps, make it through the room on time, collect the keys, and escape to freedom! For £1.99 (~$3.35), you can see if you have what it takes.