Indie games roundup!
The best from the independent dev scene
In this Critical Distance digest, I'm bringing you three little collections of pieces published in the past week about some of the latest hit indie games. We'll be exploring action movie pacing, the awkwardness of interactivity, and how to make the familiar feel terrifying.
The release of Superhot has many reviewers drawing comparisons with action movies, not simply because of its violent content which directly draws on hit films, but because of the way that pacing and the gaze are used.
Superhot review | Eurogamer.net
Christian Donlan considers dramatic tension and Superhot
"Turns out there is a killer trick to creating hyper-violent entertainment: do the slow stuff fast, and the fast stuff slow."
‘Superhot’ Is the Shooter Game for People Who Hate Shooter Games | VICE | United Kingdom
Ed Smith explains why Superhot appeals to a different play style than other shooters
SUPERHOT Review Impressions | ZAM
Kitty Horrorshow's latest release Anatomy is inspiring thrilling discussions of the meaning and experience of a house.
Uninterpretative | Short on Games: January/February 2016
How Anatomy sees the house as a body
"The theory of houses espoused in Anatomy is of the house as body. The tapes tell the story of living room as heart, bathroom as digestive tract, bedroom as mind, and basement as subconscious."
ANATOMY Review Impressions | ZAM
Claris Cyarron looks at Anatomy from her perspective as an architect and game designer (full disclosure: Claris and I have a close professional and personal relationship).
Interesting discussions about Firewatch have continued apace weeks after its initial launch, with some critics starting to push beyond the "walking sim" label to look at how actions centered around technology provide tactility, as well as how some interactive elements undermine it.
How Firewatch hearkens back to relationships on the early internet | Gamasutra (Content warning: spoilers)
Kat Cross describes the interpersonal intimacy of Firewatch through the terms of another medium.
"Cibele takes on the online dimension of this phenomenon forthrightly, but Firewatch abstracts it away from even the mediating force of the Internet, instead exploring all the other ways we can have ineffable but meaningful contact with human life."
Firewatch Debrief | Experience Points: EXP Podcast #366:
How Firewatch uses the physicality and immediacy of videogames for storytelling
Bad Hands in Firewatch | Pippin Barr
Pippin Barr offers an amusing critique that seems to have been missed in most writing on it so far (note, I'm sure the problem raised is a technical issue that will be patched in future, but I like this narrativist reading of its effect on the experience.)
If that hasn't sated your thirst for great discussions on games, check out the Critical Distance website to find the full-length roundup, our podcast on neglected games which you should not miss, and more.
In this video, an astoundingly dedicated player demonstrates how to complete Minecraft without ever picking up an item.
Nate Crowley wrote for Rock Paper Shotgun about the broken (as of this writing) economy in Planet Zoo. The game allows players to raise animals and then sell them for money or the rare currency called conservation credits. But the economy is broken, and desirable animals are unobtainable to all but the early adopters: In […]
If #UntitledGooseGame was released on PS1 made with #GodotEngine #gamedev pic.twitter.com/xDFai1Tcgt — Miziziziz (@miziziziz) November 13, 2019 Untitled Goose Game is the hit title where you play an obstreperous bird menacing a bucolic village. Game developer Miziziziz wondered what it would look like as an even lower-poly game on the originaly Playstation. It gives me […]
Paying for things is all too easy online these days, and that’s why managing your money has gotten so hard. We’ve all done it: You sign up for a streaming subscription or gym membership, blow past the free trial date, and it becomes a part of your monthly expenses. Some of us juggle so many […]
We all know those gifts we get “for the kids,” the ones that parents are secretly more excited to open. Drones are a perfect example, but there’s a model out there that really doubles down on that appeal. Introducing the Space Fighter Building Block Drones, a series of space fighter drones that are a blast […]
The hardest part of web design can be nailing down the look. These days, even non-designers can easily spot a stale stock photo or lazily-made icon. What’s the solution? No matter what kind of artist you are, it’s always a good idea to widen your palette. And with more than a million vector images to […]