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A member registered Jan 02, 2020 · View creator page →

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Brilliant set of prompt questions to encourage reflection and exploration of diverse potential ways of being yourself. The follow-up questions for queering the originals are what really make this game shine. Whether you're at the beginning of your self-discovery journey or at a comfortable rest point, there's something for you here. 5/5 stars - outstanding.

Short narrative-focused game with a transmasculine non-binary protagonist. Chapters 1 and 2 take about five minutes to play through. It's trans-affirming content, but quite rough around the edges at present. Should be interesting to see how it turns out! 2/5 stars - serviceable.

The art is very good and the anti-transphobia content is solid, but at present the bigotry portrayed feels a bit distanced from the protagonist's personal life since all the microaggressions are stemming from people they don't really know (e.g. medical staff, social media, TV, random strangers). It's doubtless tricky to strike a balance between them as a stand-in for everyone with the same labels versus them as an individual character - I'll be interested to see how later chapters might handle/avoid this.

I really liked the mix-and-match options for changing the avatar's outfit. Both designs present in the current version were cute and fun to try out! It felt like a charming and playful exploration of gender presentation in a very intuitive video game format.

The 2.5D shooter-style mechanic for throwing speech bubbles feels like a logical design choice, but the gameplay itself isn't very compelling at present. Perhaps the dev will refine it as they gain skills and confidence over time. This also applies for minor hiccups such as occasional typos and the lack of any animation for the player avatar.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this game designed to highlight the inaccessibility of grocery stores' sensory environments is very difficult to process on an audiovisual level. It's unfortunate that the game was so inaccessible to me, as I was interested in how it would explore its themes.

Between the simulation sickness induced by its camera and the intentional sensory overload from its visuals and sound design, I barely managed to keep playing it for four minutes before I was forced to give up. The dialogue that I saw in that time was quite laggy.

Other people who are less badly affected by the design choices may find this game of interest, but I have to rate it low on the grounds of accessibility alone because it made me feel physically sick in under five minutes. 1/5 stars - avoid.

Short and sweet scene where a queer woman talks with the female sex worker she's hired. It's a very respectful and compassionate dialogue on both sides. Made in bitsy, takes about 5 minutes to read. CW for the client experiencing anxiety and discussing queerphobia, though the sex worker supportively addresses both issues. 4/5 stars - excellent.

Usually I try to write fairly detached and short reviews, but that just feels so wrong to do in this case. This game is a painfully authentic recollection of its creator's traumatic experiences of sex work. The aesthetic elements complement the narrative extremely well and the writing is outstanding - at least to the best of my understanding as someone without any personal experience of sex work.

While this story is in the specific context of the pre-Affordable Care Act USA, I've definitely known people with similar socio-economic situations and trauma in the UK too.This game helped me to better imagine the kinds of things that some of my friends (specifically, transfeminine people who have been sex workers) could have experienced, and how that might affect the rest of their lives. 

I certainly will never think about gifts or money the same way ever again after playing this, and I'm grateful that I can now take a more trauma-informed approach to these topics in future.

The narrator takes care to distinguish the specific experiences under discussion as one individual's story, not something to be weaponised against sex work or sex workers in general. It felt like a very carefully considered piece of work all round, but especially in this regard.

There are no visually graphic sexual elements, though there are a few pixel-art representations of a character's upper body changes due to HRT which I suppose counts as mild nudity.

There is, of course, a lot of text covering the core theme of sex work. A substantial share is sexually explicit, but in a way that reinforces the key ideas of the narrative and/or relates the facts of a situation, not in a way intended to sensationalise or titillate.

For example, the inbox full of explicit messages from potential clients and timewasters is optional, but certainly gives those who choose to read it a powerful example of many gratingly dehumanising attitudes toward sex workers. I can attest that when I forced myself to read all of them (in an attempt to mirror the protagonist's experience of having to sift through them all) I could actually feel myself becoming slightly desensitised to the horror of it by the sheer volume of the messages. The fact that I technically could stop reading them, but the protagonist was compelled to by circumstance, made the removal of their agency hit even harder. This was an extremely effective design choice.

Similarly, the portrayal of the protagonist's first meetings with a client was written clearly enough to convey the facts of the situation, with details where they were necessary, but the writing focused mainly on the dissociation needed to get through it and the lingering psychological impact it had. This, in combination with the shifting visual design of the protagonist, did an incredible job of conveying the most relevant elements of the experiences under discussion.

The anguish of never being able to talk with people about these topics (due to the criminalisation of sex work and/or the need to suit a client's desired behaviours) was palpable in various dialogue sections. It made me feel furious about the laws and social attitudes that put the protagonist in such an awful position for their mental health. 

I am really grateful that the creator made the decision to develop this game, as I can only try to imagine the number of people in similar situations who might see themselves reflected in it, and the number of poorly-informed people like me out there who can learn so much from it. Whoever you are, if you are capable of playing this game without it causing you harm then I strongly recommend that you do so.

Five-minute linear sapphic date made in Bitsy. One of the characters (Ophelia) mentions voice dysphoria, so is presumably trans. Brief mentions of anxiety, but it's otherwise just a wholesome little wish-fulfilment scene of a first date going really well. 3/5 stars - enjoyable.

Light-hearted, short visual novel about trying to catch an office lunch thief. Ungendered protagonist, masc thief/date? The writing style and 7 endings are all fun, as is drafting some grouchy notes to the thief. 15-20 min playtime, c.4,000 words. 5/5 stars.

Content warnings: screen shakes, voice blips, theft of personal items, office drama, hunger, jail (one bad ending), company mistreatment of employees.

Short, sweet and cute visual novel in which you text your ace best friend, a guy whom you have a crush on. It's free, browser-based and charmingly written to fit some interesting constraints. 5/5 stars - outstanding.

I picked Essays on Empathy because I figured it was a fun mix of stories and I figured the "oppressive heterosexual relationship dynamics" one would probably appeal to my dad.

An interactive experience that makes its point neatly. However, the absence of an end state means it loops indefinitely and lacks a sense of resolution. 2/5 - serviceable.

I love this experience and the story! :) The pale font on translucent background was really hard for me to read though, I ended up having to highlight the text most of the time. Could you please make an option to have a higher-contrast opaque background for the text box? It would be a huge accessibility boost for me.

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Heartwarming, hopeful, well-written and thought-provoking dating sim. Non-binary, asexual (sex-averse) POC protagonist battling cancer. Romances: non-binary, fem, masc/male, none. 5/5 - outstanding.

Charming and satisfying free game. Have fun creating quirky pride flags with a constrained yet surprisingly versatile art system! The small sections of dialogue are cute. Download before playing so you can save your GIFs. 4/5 stars - excellent.

Heartwarming adventure game where you run a haunted B&B. Protagonist is a woman of colour. Well-handled discussions of death and grief, and (briefly) of sexism in household work. 4/5 - excellent.

Deck-building game about communities, travel, trade and climate issues. Very well-crafted in all regards, from writing to art to mechanics - though some players may find card swaps tricky. 5/5 - outstanding.

That's great, thank you very much! :)

Free, short dating sim where you must try to juggle four dates without letting them realise you've got multiple versions of yourself running around. It's well-paced, fun and quite cute. Protagonist pronouns: they/them. 4/5 stars - excellent.

Pay-what-you-want TTRPG resource that could either stand alone as a one-shot or work into an existing campaign during a shopping spree. Features lots of fun ideas, an intriguing map for the fair, and a straightforward 2d6 system with sensible modifiers. Bonus points for gender-neutral language throughout and a keen awareness of safety tools and boundary-setting. 5/5 stars - outstanding.

Thanks :) you too!

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I'm aware that it is a design choice, not a bug. However, it is an accessibility issue for some people. For example, it's painful for me - I'm autistic and hypersensitive to some visual stimuli - and it's also potentially dangerous for people with photosensitive epilepsy, as there were no warnings about flashing lights being present anywhere on the game or its description. I hope this helps to clarify things!

If you choose to add a means of disabling the flashing lights, please let me know and I'd be happy to update my review accordingly.

Captivating puzzle game where you must roll a cube through levels while avoiding having one of its faces hit the ground. The levels are very neatly designed and there's a fun range of mechanics. 

One major caveat, however - when you land on the forbidden face after the previous block has disappeared, it triggers bright flashing lights for a few moments. There is currently no way to disable this - if there were, I would have given this game 4/5 stars, but unfortunately this is a noteworthy accessibility issue. 3/5 stars - enjoyable.

Thanks for trying to help, but that's actually the original post I saw. I was asking if there was any update beyond that URL single-exclusion fix.

I saw that in 2017 someone asked about being able to exclude tags from searches (not just using one tag with the URL fix from that discussion), and an itch team member said they would be working on making that possible. Are there any updates about this? I'd really love to be able to filter out a wider range of things.

This set of prompts gives you a chance to think about something or someone that you care about in detail. By encouraging you to express your appreciation for that positive influence through writing and art, it creates an opportunity to boost your mood - and then turn your feelings of appreciation and affection towards yourself, too. 5/5 stars - outstanding.

Heartwarming and occasionally grim, this spooky interactive narrative is a great way to spend an evening. Content warnings: death, murder (no graphic violence, but a bit unsettling). 4/5 stars - excellent.

This short interactive experience is packed full of character. The art style and audio design bring the story to life in a fun and charming way. Bonus points for also using strong visual cues to represent auditory information! Female-only protagonist, though this is only apparent through the description, as the game uses no words. 4/5 stars - excellent.

This game looks really interesting, but since it mentions it's got mature content (including a serial killer), please can you provide content warnings? Currently I can't tell whether it would be a game that I should play or not.

Okay. I'm not going to change my ratings unless I find clear evidence of it having a significant negative impact on devs on itch.io in particular, so I guess I'll wait and see what the itch team say in response to my email. Sorry if this conversation drained your spoons.

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Thanks for the link - I read through it, but am struggling to follow your argument. Can you explain to me if I'm missing something? The OP claimed that the 'top rated' page was useful because people might use it to find an overview of games that might interest them, which may not be reflected in direct clicks to individual games from that page. Leaf then said that they also track impressions, which (if I understand it correctly) are people viewing the links on the 'top rated' page without actually clicking on them. Leaf noted that even with impressions being considered, there was not a significant impact on discoverability. Did I interpret that correctly?

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Thanks for the heads-up, that's really frustrating and useful to know. Do you have any links to sources where I can learn more about how that system works? I couldn't find anything useful, so I've emailed the itch team in the meantime.

Free, easy to learn turn-based strategy game in Early Access. It has various colourblind modes. It's straightforward and fairly elegant already, so worth checking out. 3/5 stars - enjoyable.

Free, short visual novel which follows on from the events of 'one night, hot springs'. It gradually builds the protagonist's awareness of her trans friend's anxiety (and Japanese society's widespread transphobia) in a way that feels authentic, but may be a little slow-paced for some people. Still, a great choice if you're looking for a cute, relaxing visual novel with hopeful vibes and good representation of a trans woman and wlw affection. 3/5 stars - enjoyable.

This short Twine story is a thoughtful, well-paced examination of a transgender person's feelings as they perform a ritual to help them battle their dysphoria. It has some beautiful moments, particularly burning the items from the box. And as an added bonus, it also features words specific to the Finnish setting, which you can translate with a click! 4/5 stars - excellent.

A short Twine story that compellingly evokes the everyday struggles of a transmasc person putting on testosterone gel in the morning. Content warnings: dysphoria, self-harm, skin picking. 3/5 stars - enjoyable.

I am working through reviewing all of the TTRPGs from the bundle, yes. As for the other games, I will be reviewing the ones in genres that I am interested in.  The hope is that reviews help people to whittle down the items they might wish to play from the bundle, as 1000+ items is a lot to choose from and many people have limited time to spend trying them out.

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I've updated my review - I hope you feel that the new version addresses your points. For the record, since you specifically asked me to say this, I do think this game is in the bottom 40% of 5e products, but it seemed harsh to write that exact phrase on a review for something that was partially contributed to by a six-year-old and which is clearly a labour of love.

Fairly straightforward micro-TTRPG in which you play as magical bonsai. The system mainly uses 1d6, so it's pretty accessible for new players. 3/5 stars - enjoyable.

Inventive, deeply unsettling GMless horror TTRPG about trying to survive a summer camp stalked by a nightmarish monster. The prompts strike an impressive balance between strong characterisation, poetic worldbuilding, eerie rituals and terrifying incidents. It also has a fun approach to describing gender, and a real commitment to using safety tools to maximise enjoyment of the game. 5/5 stars - outstanding.

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D&D 5e reworked for the adventures of toys battling the monsters of a child's imagination. It's a strong concept, and it's clear that a lot of fun was had in the making (particularly with the cute hand-drawn illustrations), but overall it feels like a more rules-light system would have been more suitable and accessible. As it is, this game unfortunately doesn't manage to take advantage of the mechanical depth of 5e, nor simplify it to a child-friendly variant. Not one of the stronger 5e products out there. 2/5 stars - serviceable.

One-page tabletop roleplaying game about a relationship coming to its end.  Designed to be played by two people, but could probably be expanded to represent polyamorous break-ups too. 4/5 stars - excellent.