What does a mail delivery person, olympic swimmer, nurse, and artist all have in common? They all have emotions that can be affected at any point by anyone because they are human. It’s cheesy, I know, but sometimes we need to step back and remember these things. Day-to-day life is so busy and fast paced that it is easy to forget that the person in front of everyone in line at the supermarket has their own lives, their own individual initiative and motivation.
In the visual novel A Chase in Rainsville, the main character never has to sit in a supermarket line, wait hours in a traffic jam, or really deal with humans at all. The citizens of Rainsville are all anthropomorphic animals coexisting with the one human family that happens to live there, which happens to be the protagonist’s home. Despite this missing piece to the theme it still asks players to sit down and be open with their emotions just as humans would.
|Recommended by Kieffer Wilson||Monday, March 21st, 2016||No Comments »|
The first thing that impressed me about Journal was its art style. Not knowing much about it, I picked it up anyway for that reason alone. I didn’t have any high expectations because indie games like this, while innovative in ways, can sometimes slope too far on the amateurish side. Games with two dimensional characters who wrestle around with “deep” plots are a dime a dozen these days, and I find myself appreciating them more than actually enjoying them, like slogging through a well-written but boring book.
I assumed Journal would be like this as it has all those components: a single narrator grappling with issues, a unique art style, text driven, etc. But there’s nothing amateurish about Journal. Most games that give you “good or bad” choices have obvious paths you’re expected to take, but here that’s not the case. In fact, the game hurls tough issues at you that tackle your conscience in ways you’d never imagine. And that’s the true gem of Journal.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Friday, July 24th, 2015||No Comments »|
Hardboiled private eye Detective Chirpums is tough, but even the city’s best avian investigator needs to drown the horrors of everyday life with a bottle of Grackle’s Finest. Too bad he doesn’t have the time–rent is due and the detective needs to solve a case, get paid, and make sure he doesn’t get evicted. The city is filled with thieving magpies and orderly wrens, many of whom are none too impressed at Chirpums’ tan trenchcoat and fedora.
Detective Chirpums, Private Investigator is more comedy than noir, as the premise suggests, but the trappings are there for those who don’t mind seeing the genre’s conventions carried out by rotund birds. The gameplay is minimal but the art is gorgeous. Light-hearted (well, for a murder investigation) and irreverent, and entertaining for those who enjoy seeing a cross between Sin City and Animal Crossing, Detective Chirpums is brimming with style, femme fatales, and puns.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Wednesday, April 29th, 2015||No Comments »|
The 1920s hold a special place in American history–Prohibition led to speakeasies, the Harlem Renaissance was in full swing, women were moving to cities in pursuit of the flapper lifestyle. But as the youngest daughter in a large Chinese family, you’re not supposed to be a part of that–you’re supposed to be getting married.
Named for the speakeasy that the visual novel revolves around, The Blind Griffin is the story of a Chinese-American girl who runs away and finds herself working as a bartender at a speakeasy disguised as a candy shop. If that wasn’t enough, it turns out the speakeasy serves up more than alcohol–magic (and, let’s be real, romance) is on the menu. Choose among three (single, romantically available) mentors, unlock your magical talents, and pass the Grand Council’s exam to become a magician…or risk having your new memories wiped away and your knowledge of magic permanently buried.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Thursday, April 16th, 2015||No Comments »|
Are they cosplayers or sex demons? Cute Demon Crashers answers that question in its own title (though characters are frequently confused). It opens with protagonist Claire, uh, spending some time with her right hand before she’s interrupted by four demons who might be able to summon magical portals but can’t figure out how a shirt works. Their tan lines are probably horrific.
Friendship and light romance are here, but the visual novel makes itself clear: Cute Demon Crashers is about sex. Claire’s not about to jump into bed with anyone just because they want to, though, and so the four demons agree to hang out around the house until she feels comfortable with them.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Wednesday, April 8th, 2015||No Comments »|
Five legendary heroes, a looming threat, a senile king…a classic formula. What could go wrong?
Well, there were supposed to be six heroes, but one of them got herself killed before the story even begins. However, May, a simple barmaid in desperate need of a cash infusion, bears a striking resemblance to the departed hero and is persuaded to stand in her place to fool the king long enough to receive the blessing before the actual heroes set off on their heroic quest.
In April Was a Fool, released on–you guessed it–April 1st, May finds herself at the center of an increasingly improbable series of events. Five heroes of vastly different temperaments and appearances have arrived to sweep her off her feet and into the path of danger. But, more importantly, will May find love? (Yes.)
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Friday, April 3rd, 2015||No Comments »|
Locked In opens with a dark premise–Jacqueline Brown’s life has been destroyed after an attempt on her life left her friend dead and her blind, mute, and paralyzed. Her friends and family believe she’s in a coma and discuss their affairs in front of her openly, unaware that she’s listening to every word. Eventually, though, she’s going to have to reveal herself to someone, if only to let them know who the killer is…but with only their voices to guide her, can Jacqueline make the right decision?
Locked In follows Jacqueline’s attempts to understand what has happened to her and figure out who wants her dead. And it’s a lot harder than you might think. Jacqueline isn’t always the nicest protagonist, and there’s a fair argument to be made that she deserves what’s happened to her, and so ultimately it’s up to you as the player to determine whether Jacqueline deserves her redemption.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Tuesday, March 24th, 2015||No Comments »|