Darkness Under My Bed by Desert Fox—https://store.steampowered.com/app/1527880/Darkness_Under_My_Bed/
I haven’t felt this close of being added to an FBI watch list in my life. DUMB explodes the formula of DUMB: Treasure and Game for Anna in a childish hellscape layered with complex puzzles and mysteries. This is a thoroughly and constant experience of horror, not terror—Everything is putrid. Everything will go wrong. And you can’t stop going back trying to solve it.
9194 Tsunami by Shan—https://shanahan-sweet.itch.io/9194tsunami
Although it’s a short technical demo, it’s one of my personal highlights of the HPS1 Summer of Shivers. Great use of the madness of impossible spaces.
The Well by Yames—https://pantagruel.itch.io/the-well
Yames creative/thematic focus is of great relevance to my interest and this short interactive experience further confirms this. Exceptional artwork and an exquisite final murky twist.
10 Hours Below by Bastinus Rex—https://bastinus-rex.itch.io/10-hours-below
It’s the future of FMV games. Hands down. Cryptozoology simulator at its best.
The Salvation Project by Lenat_1—https://lenat-1.itch.io/salvation-project
Karen. Satanism. Talking Frog. Metallica. What’s not to like?
Working Tidal by Duckenheimer—https://duckenheimer.itch.io/subgame
Dreamcast-era vaporwish eco-submarine arcade fun… And it’s a haunted game. Unique, and an amazing soundtrack to boot.
Remnants of the Water by Toothmonster—https://toothmonster.itch.io/remnants-in-the-water
Touching and beautifully written take on the nuclear extinction through a parallel universe where spirituality still has importance.
First Land by fotocopiadora—https://fotocopiadora.itch.io/first-land
This is the most cryptic, and captivating, game I played this year. I would be hard pressed to explain what it is, actually. It feels like visiting an untranslated Japanese title such as Germs or deSpiria as a “tourist” just to explore the universe. But the game is in English and every time you think you get it, you just went further off route. First Land offers a transcending eeriness about the extinction of our humanity which is more poetic than ludic.
Frontier Diver by Modus Interactive—https://modus-interactive.itch.io/frontier-diver-progenexis
A pacific shmup by the brilliant body/architectural horror mind of Modus Interactive—and it’s perfect as an arcade game and as a Modus experience. The creatures’ design and music is on fire.
Symphony of Seven Souls by katanalevy—https://katanalevy.itch.io/symphony-of-seven-souls
Brilliant mood piece with masterfully crafted ambiance, lighting and sound. Beautiful through and through.
i am a tree. you are not. ha ha. By angrygeometry—https://angrygeometry.itch.io/i-am-a-tree-you-are-not-ha-ha-
I have a soft spot for trashy RPG maker games with crude hand drawn aesthetic. This one is right on the X with some perverted ideas layered in the background…
Undercurrent by dave_ja—https://dave-ja.itch.io/undercurrent
A competent FPS horror game shining with great particle effects and mind-blowing virtual camerawork.
Critters for Sale by Sonoshee—https://store.steampowered.com/app/1078420/Critters_for_Sale/
You won’t play anything like this. Demented theology, exquisite dithering 1 bit art style with stunning fourth-wall breaking effect, banging music and complex but fun puzzles. AND it finally explains what Death Grip is all about.
Sténopé by Yadoob—https://yadoob.itch.io/stenope
More an experience than a game, but an impressive, indescribable one. You just need a laptop, headphones and darkness. Try it.
Headlines from the Deep by MenacingMecha—https://menacingmecha.itch.io/headlines-from-the-deep
Sweet silly fun through amazing art style and narrative.
Dread X Collection: The Hunt by DreadXP—https://store.steampowered.com/app/1569550/Dread_X_Collection_The_Hunt/
Dread X offerings are always top tier and this one maintain their faultless course. Highlights: Uktena 64 by Kira, Seraphixial by Vidas Games, The Fruit by Christopher Yabsley. Sole issue I have with this compilation is the checkpoint system is often unforgiving.
On a side note, this will probably be my last reviews (well recommendations more than reviews) for a while as I start my PHD this week. Along with my job and other artistic ventures, time to play will drastically decrease and I will have to be more selective. Also it’s starting to be more of an addiction than anything else (looking for the next hit of the weird and shocking in my case). My intention is to offer thorough analysis of specific titles when they offer something unique or challenging. In any case, thanks if you’re reading this for your interest!