I loved the browser minigames GrowCube and GrowTower, so I was really excited to put eyezmaze’s new Grow Recovery on my phone. The basic premise of the Grow games is deciding how to add new items to the scene. Each item interacts with the other items in interesting ways, and to complete the game, you’ll need to find the optimal order so that each item is used in the best way possible. Of course, plenty of “wrong” combinations are great fun to watch, too.
Grow Recovery, though, adds a little narrative to the Grow game formula, showing an exhausted little figure in need of comfort and healing. It’s a simple human outline, but the task of looking after him is surprisingly moving. Each of the items available will make him feel better in a different way, Give him a blanket, and he’ll wrap himself up. Give him a friend, and the friend will help heal him. I think the animation at the beginning of the game is meant to show that the little grow guy is exhausted, but it’s easy to see all kinds of self-care and recovery in this tiny charming game.
|Recommended by Meg Stivison||Tuesday, November 10th, 2015||1 Comment »|
It’s Horror Week on (The) Absolute! We’re reposting some of our spookiest, creepiest recommendations every day leading up to Halloween. Enjoy!
In celebration of Halloween, I managed to get ahold of a copy of White Day: A Labyrinth Named School. The title sounds innocuous enough, but it’s one of those Internet legends about a horror game so scary the developers had to release patches to tone it down because people complained. Rumor has it that it helped inspire Amnesia: The Dark Descent.
White Day starts off simple. A young boy wants to gift his crush So-yeong with chocolates on White Day, an Asian holiday in which boys reciprocate or demonstrate affection for the girls they like. Boy Valentine’s Day, basically. To do this, he sneaks into school after hours and somehow ends up crawling through the vents, at which point he spies the janitor beating another student to death…and that’s just the start of the insanity.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Friday, October 30th, 2015||No Comments »|
The Yellow Wallpaper has already taught us what severe isolation can do to our mental state. The Fifth Apartment simply takes a creepier, more visual approach to the topic of deteriorating madness. And weirdly enough, in its short 10 minute play time, it accomplishes that and more.
In The Fifth Apartment, a Ludum Dare challenge game, you play an agoraphobic old woman who lives in a depressing single room apartment. There’s very little the game allows you to do. You wake up, eat bread, watch TV for hours, and listen to the voices in your head as they get louder and louder. The old woman sees visions, flashes of ominous people or shadows, and is concerned about a moist spot on her floor that gets mustier and mustier.
As each day goes by, the woman’s mental state gets worse. The game does an excellent job of portraying this by making the apartment even darker and creepier looking as the days go by. I played this game at night and was genuinely spooked by its ominous atmosphere. This isn’t a game that cares about cheap scares or intense horror. Instead, The Fifth Apartment knows that sometimes the most frightening thing in life takes place inside our minds.
The game is free to play in your browser. Give it a try when you have some free time today — preferably at night.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Wednesday, October 21st, 2015||No Comments »|
There’s probably no song as cherished, as frequently covered, and as as heavily lauded as Joy Division’s post-punk classic “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” Written by Ian Curtis in 1979 shortly before his suicide in 1980, the song’s bleak lyrics and bittersweet ties to reality still hold up today as an ageless ode to decaying relationships. So of course someone had to turn it into a video game.
Created by Gordon Calleja with Might Boy Games, Will Love Tear Us Apart is a free browser game that takes the lyrics of the Joy Division classic and makes them interactive. Each level is a different lyric from the song, and there are three (surprisingly hard) levels in all. The game, like its source material, is cold and bleak, with an art style that’s weird and ominous. The game puts you in charge of a couple as you play mini games to help them with their communication. In words it sounds simple, but the game interprets it more abstractly.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Monday, October 5th, 2015||No Comments »|
It’s officially October, which means the majority of my recs will be shamelessly biased toward horror. So you can imagine how happy I was when a web series geared as an “interactive murder mystery” waltzed across my Tumblr dashboard one day. Interactive web series are hit or miss, and I honestly can’t think of one that I thought was worth my time. But the best thing about Virtual Morality is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, nor does it try to pat itself on the back for being oh-so clever or innovative. Instead, it takes its formula from slasher flicks: cheesy, bloody, fun.
Virtual Morality puts you in the POV of Abbie, a shy Catholic girl who’s attending her first house party. Throughout the show you’re given options on how you want Abbie to act. She can either hang out with the vapid, popular girls or snort coke with the attractive guy who looks like The Weeknd. The choice is yours…kind of.
Each episode has the same beginning, so whatever choices you make in the previous episode don’t carry into the next episode. But the series is designed with the intention that you, the player, will replay the episode several times to see as many endings/possibilities as possible, which is exactly what I did. So I guess your choices not affecting later episodes don’t matter.
What matters is the story, which focuses on a murder at a house party that gets published to Instagram. And if you’re thinking this series is a satirical jab at social media culture, you’d be correct. Hell, there’s even a guy getting stabbed with a selfie stick. Its message isn’t subtle.
If you’re looking for something fun and different to get you in the Halloween mood, check out episode one. There are three episodes in all and it should only take you about an hour to play. But most importantly: Don’t like, don’t share, don’t subscribe (or else).
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Friday, October 2nd, 2015||1 Comment »|
It was Weave‘s stunning visuals that caught my eye when I first stumbled across it a few days ago. I was looking for something silly and dumb to play with on my phone and ended up finding the complete opposite. Weave obviously isn’t some mind-numbing game to cure boredom. It’s more like an interactive animation, with soothing music and a hypnotic visual that makes it the perfect candidate as a warm game.
Created by Nadav Tenenbaum, the game follows two characters as they go on parallel, abstract journeys. Both characters are dealing with a situation in their past that still haunts them, a situation that’s represented as various shapes the characters are forced to push or click through. However, the story stops there. The rest of the game is a structureless and relies on the player to come up with their own interpretation. Sure, some players might find that to be a bit of a cop out, but Weave is more about the experience, not preoccupying you on whether you “get it” or not.
As I said earlier, this game is more like an interactive animation. Similar to Journey, Weave is less about gameplay and more about the experience. Follow it, and you’ll be glad you did.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015||No Comments »|
If you wanted to ask Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinska, who make up the Polish web design Hipopotam Studio, why they created Bubloe, the answer is not far from their homepage: “Because =)”.
Because why not create your own typeface? Why not load it with your own beat box sounds? And why not let users design their own monsters in endless amounts of ways, from mutant animal heads to showgirl legs, and make them fight? Bubloe never hides the fact that its existence is fun, and its fun is contagious.
Though as far as traditional game play goes, Bubloe may seem at first a dud. Think 1980s Street Fighter arcade games but with less functionality: you can punch and you can block, and other than that, it’s all timing.
|Recommended by Rhys Dipshan||Tuesday, September 8th, 2015||No Comments »|