Punishing Difficulty Conveys A Personal Story In The End Is Nigh

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Note: This story was originally posted on Gamasutra on August 15, 2017.

"There were a lot of subtle elements in my past platformers that I never fully explored because I was worried about alienating the audience. I wanted to make a game that was honestly a bit uncomfortable to play for people who have issues with stress. I wanted to make a game about stress, pressure and expectation. I feel like I was able to do exactly that in simple and elegant ways I'm quite proud of."

Edmund McMillen hasn't returned to hyper-challenging platformers since Super Meat Boy arguably set a new standard for them back in 2010. After years of development work on The Binding of Isaac and a handful of other titles, it felt right for the developer to return to the genre and explore the things he had been afraid to do then.

Swipe Right For Party Members & Bizarre Quests In Questr

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Tinder was one of the last things I expected to show up in a video game, but Questr puts the mechanic to great use. With randomly generated adventurers that come with their own personality, you're tasked with grabbing those you like and creating a team capable of completing the quest and reaping the rewards.

In Questr, you're no doubt to find yourself on many unique adventures as the developers provide 20 different personalities that can shake up a quest. You'll have to trust your instincts as best as you can, though, because liars will disguise themselves to dip their hands in your coin purse. Perhaps you may even find yourself caught in the middle of a disagreement between party members as personalities clash!

The game has a total of nine different story paths coupled with many unique encounters along the way. Pairing these encounters with the personality feature is sure to bring about some interesting dialogue from the varying personalities, as each person handles things differently. If you want hilarious and bizarre stories full of drama and traitorous rogues, look no further than Questr. You're guaranteed at least a few hearty chuckles.

Brave The Haunted Woods And Nightmarish Horrors Of Darkwood

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You won't be defenseless in your tense travels through Darkwood's oppressive forests and shadowy structures. But being able to defend yourself doesn't equal safety. With meager supplies, slipping sanity, and improvised weaponry, Darkwood pits you against dread-inducing nighttime, otherworldly horrors, and surreal atmosphere as you explore its isolated setting and meet its otherworldly inhabitants.

After an unsettling prologue, you're let loose in an woodlands cut off from the world, where night brings lurking terrors waiting to tear you apart. During the day, you must explore and scavenge, collecting items to craft useful tools such as bear traps, planks with nails, and bandages, and doing missions for the weird and twisted characters that live here. Barricade the doors and windows of your hideout, keep your generator full with gas, prepare syringes that upgrade your character with both positive and negative perks. And then wait till nightfall, where the real dangers come out.

Solve A Robot Mystery In Subsurface Circular's Unique Take On The Text Adventure

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It's a familiar sight. Workers on the train, seated across from eachother, on their way to jobs and other tasks. Or it would be familiar in Subsurface Circular, if those workers weren't machines and the train wasn't beneath an futuristic human metropolis. Mike Bithell's surprise release is a sci-fi text adventure, a game of conversations that delve into world building, mysteries, and puzzles.

You're a detective "tek", riding the titular train and engaging in conversations with the machines that sit across from you. Subsurface Circular never leaves those seats and those rotating cast of passengers, but those talks bring the game's future and the disappearances at the core of its story to life with every stop. Each conversation let you learn more about the characters, the in-and-outs of everyday robot life, but more importantly, you'll be able to question passengers, gathering keywords to explore and discover the truth.

Your talks are more than just back-and-forth responses, but also include linguistic puzzles and cryptic clues to decipher, adding some challenge to the more relaxed pacing of the narrative. But overall, Subsurface Circular promises a short and engaging story of life among robots that can be enjoying in a single session.

When You're Gone Trailer Turns Love & Emotion Into A Tactical Game

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When You're Gone turns emotional turmoil into a Chess-like strategy game, following the rocky relationship of Sam and Emma as a grid-based battle. With negative emotions turning into demonic forces that mean to destroy you, and potential Mindfolk allies joining your party to turn the tide, the game explores romance in a more tactical way.

Sam and Emma have a great deal of history together, but a lot of it is hurting them. In order to find closure for many of these awful memories and follow their story to its conclusion, you'll have to fight personified versions of these painful moments. They come as twisted creatures, battling you in the surreal landscapes of the mind, and you'll need to carefully plan how to attack them on a tactical grid.

The developers are mum on how these battles are carried out, but the game's haunting artwork already hints at some unsettling battles against ugly beasts, as well as a difficult story of shared misery. It promises a look at the darker sides of love, felt through enduring combat against emotions as foes, and seems well worth signing up for the beta to try out.

Pet The Pup At The Party: Gotta Pet 'Em All!

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Pet The Pup At The Party: Gotta Pet 'Em All!

You are at a house party. (Ugh.) You do not know anybody. (This sounds too familiar.) But there's a pupper here somewhere. (What?) A doggie! (Really?) This is not a drill. Go and find that doggo, and then Pet The Pup At The Party!

And that's what this small, free game about (social anxiety and) being the best darn dog-petter ever is all about. You race through the rooms and try to find that pup. You can also, you know, talk to people, but why would you do that? There is a dog. A DOG.

After you administered a good patting, it starts all over again, only this time there is a different, but probably also very good dog. They're all good dogs, you know, and you gotta pet 'em all.

Layers of Fear Creators Bring A New Futuristic Horror That Delves Into The Minds Of The Insane

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The Bloober Team, who previously developed Layers of Fear, specializes in making players' hair stand on end, and the futuristic Observer looks to be be no different. Players will be tasked with entering the minds of criminals to gather evidence to use in a court of law in order for victims to gain justice. Unfortunately for players, the minds of killers and criminals are never without dark secrets and horror beyond comprehension.

Observer is a cyberpunk horror game that takes place in the year 2084 - an age that has survived many tragedies and has led to those who have survived to turn to dark escapes from the even darker reality. Between drugs and neural implants, people are thoroughly sedated, which sets the stage for some truly revolting crimes.

The player will be in control of a man named Dan Lazarski who works as an Observer, with the sole goal being to hack into the minds of suspects and draw out the truth. In this future, all evidence of your thoughts and feelings are admissible in court, leaving little to question on the who, what, when and where. The only thing left to find is the why, which players will find by exploring the twisted minds of killers and criminals, their thoughts given form.

Foxfolk Is A Survival Game About Family

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Winter has the world in its icy grip, but Mr Fox has no way of riding it out in his comfortable home. Needing food and firewood, he'll have to venture out into the woods to locate prey and anything that will burn. However, it's not just to keep him alive, as Foxfolk is about helping a whole family survive.

Your adorable family of little foxes is pretty hungry, which means having to locate small prey to bring back to them. Since most birds and squirrels aren't big on being eaten, players will have to carefully stalk them, sneaking up on animals before attacking them. Don't expect to grab a whole bunch of them at once either, as you have to carry any captured food home one by one. Luckily, you can grab a couple of sticks or a log along with your prey to bring home some firewood on your trip as well. You'll need both, as warmth and food are both necessary during the freezing winter.

The weather becomes another major concern for potential fox parents, as players will want to keep an eye out for signs of a blizzard. Mr Fox is capable of doing all right during a snowstorm, but it becomes next to impossible to navigate, and with a den of lovable fox kids back home, he can't afford to stay lost for long.

Law Mower - A Man's Journey To Mow The Planet's Lawns

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Law Mower will have you acting as a lone mower, aiming to mow the lawns of the entire world. Through blazing heat, under fire from rockets, despite animal attacks, and in the blowing snow of a winter's storm, you will guide this man to lawn mowing glory, cutting grass and staying alive to meet this lofty emerald goal.

Law Mower is all about fresh-cut grass and danger. You'll mow your way across forty-five different lawns, dealing with effects from various seasons, your somewhat unhinged neighbors, vicious woodland creatures, and armed forces. Dodge hazards, get that grass looking trim, and then move onto the next area. Simple enough, although expect spilled blood and many explosions.

You can also tackle lawn mowing with a pal in various co-op or competitive multiplayer matches, or you can landscape your own lawns and dangers for other players to try out. It's up to you whether you prefer to cut grass or set up your own lawn experiences.

Cats, Puns, & Adventure Are All Present And Accounted For In Cat Quest

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Cat Quest is an open-world action RPG where your sister has been catnapped and it's up to you to take care of it with your own paws. For players who enjoy a few chuckles while hacking and slashing, Cat Quest will gently massage (with its sharp little claws) its way into your hearts.

Also, if you've ever wondered how many cat puns you can put in a game and get away with it, Cat Quest will test and push that limit.

One of the great attractions of Cat Quest is the combat style. While it's fast-paced and in real-time, the cute animations are so smooth that you'll easily get caught up in the fights and lose track of time. If that doesn't help you wile the hours away, the game's lush open world (again, filled with cat puns) allows for lots of places and bad jokes to get lost in.