LudoNarraCon is live and it a virtual event full of panels, demonstrations and focuses on games currently available or some still to come. It is a lot of games and in the last week I did not get to explore all of them as much as I would like, but there were some demos I played which I absolutely loved and wrote impressions of.
UNPACKING: This game is simple and very basic. It’s not Tetris and the “failure” seems easy to solve, but the balance is there between the graphics and story telling that this demo truly made me interested to see the young girl grow. Maybe even in between her child hood to teenage (not shown here) and then beyond her first apartment to a house to another house to a smaller apartment to a senior assisted living and then maybe even into an afterlife!
Minute of Islands: The animated style of this what feels quite EPIC game from its start with its mentions of gods, a post apocalyptic world and you a lone human set to save everything when they fall asleep makes the heaviness feel light and cheerful. There is a sadness here and a bit of gore. This is cute but also not for the young ones. Lots of dead animals. The mechanics are really nice and simple though, a minimalist platformer with puzzles that seem based more on following instructions that actual problem solving. I look forward to trying more.
Mind Scanners: Time and resource management games are hard enough, add in visual notice, sound recognition, and even a puzzle element and one might go as insane as some of the characters in this game. That isn’t to say not to give this demo a go, because you need to experience it for yourself. There is a challenge here, one not found in many of the other games that have caught my notice. There is also a strong story and clever pixel art, but if a game as complicated as the narrative is what you seek then this is the one.
Teacup: Minimal cartoon art, a hunt for tea in a cute world, propelled mostly by mini games. The demo had two, one which took time, the other that definitely needed to be played on a keyboard. The gameplay isn’t the pull here, but the charm is. There is a crazy amount of charm here and the fact they offer a free PDF of a cute tea book
Beacon Pines: Absolutely adorable. I honestly wish I had discovered this sooner when it was on Kickstarter. The art is wonderful and I’d love to own charms, stickers, books, etc. based off it. The story telling concept is fantastic as well with a choose your own adventure feel and ultimate replay-ability to try different branches to see where the book takes you. There seems to be a huge mystery here that could go many ways and places and despite the looks be very dark and adult.
Forgotten Fields: A visual interactive novel is the way I would describe this very down to earth story with a minimal but charming art style. There is something zen like of just sitting back and clicking and reading and once in awhile following a path to see where a writer is taking you. The lead is a writer trying to write while trying to also survive every day life and while it sounds mundane, other people’s lives that are not our own explored in new ways can be invigorating.
LAKE: Whoever heard of working through vacation? That’s exactly what Lake has you do, but at least the vacation is also to a begone time we can’t really ever return to. Small town America before many of the changes this country has seen is serene, quiet, and full of life. Diners, reunions, changes to your childhood home. I would love to see Lake be much more open world especially with its setting and less forced linear with an order that doesn’t truly matter but who knows what could come as the game is still in development.
TUNIC: This top down action adventure has been one of the games I’ve had my eyes on for a long time and I was happy to finally get my hands on the demo that has been shown at conventions I could not attend. This isn’t an easy game amongst all the visual novels and games based in point & click, but the graphics, mechanics and everything are just so right. Sometimes you want to run, cut and jab with a cute little fox.
There are so many more demos available. 44 in all and Pop-Culture Spectrum will make efforts to play the majority and report on them over the weekend. For now get yourself over to Steam for LudoNarraCon and explore the games, the broadcasts and the sales.