Tag Archives: itchio

There’s A Flappy Bird Battle Royale Game Now, And It’s Good

Flappy Royale, released today in beta on mobile and PC by game designers Orta Therox, Em Lazer-Walker, and Zach Gage, seems like a lot of things: clever, opportunistic, a joke. But it’s also fun.

Inspired by the 2013 mobile sensation Flappy Bird, Flappy Royale has you compete against 99 other poor souls to see who can survive the longest against a maze of deadly pipes. You can customize your look, and each level begins with all of the Flappys dropping in off a bus. Like in the original game, you tap the screen to make Flappy fly higher, or do nothing to watch him sink, all as part of an elaborate dance to avoid obstacles. Hit the ground, or anything else, and you’re dead.

But, unlike in the original game, you don’t die alone. In Flappy Royale, you die alongside an anonymous mass of other Flappys who are also desperately trying to cling to life. It feels more affirming. Even after the 20th straight failure without making it past the fourth pipe. Even if most or all of the other players aren’t actually real people (it’s not entirely clear). And honestly, how would you even be able to tell?

The battle royale genre is often a dark one. Fortnite might be full of colors, costumes, and goofy dances, but that’s all in service of a zero-sum struggle over limited resources that ultimately leaves all but one of its participants dead. As a result, Fortnite and other games like it are seen by some people as a cynical way of monetizing societal angst in the face of impending environmental collapse.

A sense of futility is pervasive in Flappy Royale as well, but it’s counter-balanced by the fact that everyone is doomed together. Or, at least, almost everyone. Some Flappys are really good at Flapping, and who knows what happens to them as they fly out of sight beyond the fifth and sixth pipes. Like Mario Royale (RIP), Flappy Royale is refreshing and entertaining despite its simplicity, in part because no one’s competing directly against each other. The sound effects are also really funny, and seeing all of the Flappys doing their best against impossible odds is heartwarming as hell.

The game’s currently available to check out on iOS, Android, and in your web browser over on itch.io.

Source: Kotaku.com

A Sparse Game About Pushing People Into Holes

Indie game Kids is about pushing, pulling, and squeezing bodies into holes and tubes.

Developed by artist Michael Frei and programmer Mario von Rickenbach, Kids is a series of physics mini-games about tiny little people. You can push them into holes, squeeze them through fleshy tubes and guide them as they swim through a dark void by clicking on the screen. The game is also about the point at which a series of bodies becomes a crowd.

As I played Kids, over time, I found it got easier to recognize the point at which a series of people became its own entity. Sometimes the screen would fill up with bodies to the point that thinking of them as individuals didn’t make sense. I realized at a certain point that I was no longer envisioning myself as controlling each individual person, but rather a large mass of bodies that had become its own thing. At one point, I had to guide a stream of people away from a hole by clicking on each one of them, and I realized that the stream of people just looked like a continuous river that would never end—the difference between a water droplet and rainstorm.

Kids takes around half an hour to play in full. In that time, it takes you through different variations on the same scenarios. First, you squeeze a body through one intestine, and then it splits off into two, and then three. There isn’t much to this game, but by keeping things simple, Kids never gets too convoluted or overly complicated. You rely on the same mechanics to get through every tiny puzzle in the game, and each puzzle is short enough that it doesn’t get frustrating.

Kids’ animation is fluid and beautiful in stark black and white, and the sparse music and sound design creates a melancholy atmosphere as you push people into a massive hole. What I’ll remember for a long time is the pitter-patter of footsteps in this game. At first, these light taps echo in the void, until they become an avalanche.

Source: Kotaku.com

Don’t Split The Party Is A Game About Petty D&D Players

Sometimes the hardest part of Dungeons and Dragons is making sure your friends don’t start yelling at each other. Indie game Don’t Split The Party charmingly captures that challenge by putting you in the role of Dungeon Master—and peacekeeper.

Don’t Split The Party is a text-based game where you play as Brynn, a young woman who has just come back from an extended stay in London and is now in the States to play D&D with her regular group. When they all gather together, it’s clear that two of the friends, Allison and Lance, have had a falling out while Brynn has been away. Franklin and Ruby just want to play the game, as they’re at the final boss, Lady Malacatha, but Allison and Lance can’t stop snarking at each other.

When I run tabletop role-playing games, it quickly becomes apparent if players get tense or bored. It’s then my responsibility to keep things moving. When I tried playing the new tabletop RPG Comrades, which has leftist activists from very different walks of life trying to get along and fight the man, I very quickly realized that ideological differences were going to come up during play. I needed to figure out how to both let players express themselves and feel like they’re being heard while making sure they tended to the mission at hand.

In Don’t Split The Party, the characters aren’t arguing about politics. They’re arguing about the far more fraught world of musical theater—Allison wants Lance to help her put on a musical, but Lance ends up being flaky to further his own career. Their sides of the argument are expressed through how they play. Allison tends to try to think of strategies that benefit the group and pressures other people into just going with her plan. Lance tends to hog the spotlight and not think about the rest of the party. With dialogue choices, Brynn can choose a side by allowing either Allison or Lance a chance to shine.

On my first try, Allison and Lance mostly kept it together and were mostly getting along by the end. While I appreciated the apparent compliment on my skills as a DM, I wanted drama. In my second run of Don’t Split The Party, Allison and Lance did yell at each other right before the final confrontation with the evil Lady Malacatha, leaving everyone else in the room to look on awkwardly. While they still patched things up by the end, I definitely understood how letting Lance steal the show and chew on scenery time after time made Allison frustrated, especially when it resulted in other party members losing up to 80 health. Ouch!

Don’t Split The Party sheds light on the invisible aspect of managing people’s emotions when you’re hosting any kind of tabletop game. Even collaborative games like D&D can bring out people’s competitive sides or be susceptible to subtextual disagreements. I liked navigating this group’s social problems while they navigated the problem of a witch that can turn into a dragon. I’d love to join them on their next campaign, if Allison and Lance can get their shit together.

Source: Kotaku.com

A Big Adventure In A Literal Sandbox

Supraland is a massive game. Cast in the role of the hero of a race of red humanoids in conflict with their blue counterparts, players travel sprawling fantasy landscapes battling enemies, climbing immense towers, and solving incredibly clever puzzles. It’s easy to forget the whole thing takes place in a young boy’s sandbox.

To be fair, it’s a very odd sandbox that German developer Supra Games has created to host its Zelda-style adventure, out now on Steam. It’s filled with rocks and pipes. There are toy buildings the red rubber people call home. Pencils and other bits of child-appropriate debris stick out of the ground, along with things kids shouldn’t be playing with, like lit candles. And as far as all the stubbed-out cigarette butts on the ground, well, the boy who watches over this mini-civilization either has older siblings or really needs to stop smoking.

When an act of sabotage by the blue people is uncovered, the hero of the red folk of the sandbox is tasked with escorting the princess to the enemy’s base to figure out what’s going on. It’s not as easy as traveling from point A to point B. Supraland is a first-person adventure with Metroidvania elements. Getting from one area to the next takes upgrades, like double and triple jumps, and those upgrades cost coins. The more coins the red hero collects, the more upgrades they can afford, and the further they can get.

Supraland is also a land of puzzles. There are simple puzzles, like finding a switch to open a door. Then there are more complicated puzzles, like generating a purple block (one of the aforementioned upgrades) on a switch to open one door, running to the next door, using a gun to shoot the generated block from one switch onto another, closing the first door, and opening the next.

The game strikes a wonderful balance between puzzle solving and exploration. The solution to a problem isn’t always staring players in the face. Oftentimes, traveling past the puzzle to see it from a new angle is what it takes to see a solution. Sometimes it takes bizzare sandbox versions of Jesus.

How does sandbox Jesus figure into the game? That’s one of the many things left up to the player to figure out in Supraland. As the developers put it in the official Steam description, “Supraland assumes that you are intelligent and lets you play independently.” The game starts, gives players a basic direction to go in, and lets them figure it out from there.

This leads to fun moments, like working out an elaborate plan to access a treasure chest located on the other side of a pit that involves jumping across half an area, then realizing once you have the chest that there was a switch nearby that would have gotten the job done in seconds. Whoops, but still fun.

Another example is in this recent trailer for the game, which taught me I could damage enemies by spawning purple blocks over their heads. I have played the game for hours and never thought to try that.

Then again, I try to avoid combat in Supraland. The exploration and puzzle-solving elements are so strong that having to pause to swing a sword or shoot a gun at random skeleton creatures is an unpleasant interruption.

(There might be a few pop culture references.)

Fortunately, there’s a lot more puzzle-solving and platforming in Supraland than combat. I get so swept up in figuring out how to push far-off buttons or reach the top of a MacGuffin-holding tower, that I forget I’m just a little creature in a sandbox, skittering about.

But there’s always someone there to remind me. Clean out your damn sandbox, kid.

Source: Kotaku.com

The Games This ‘Boy Band’ Makes Are Almost As Cute As They Are

Photo: Sokpop

The Sokpop collective, made up of game developers Tijmen, Tom, Aran, and Rubna from the Netherlands, started calling themselves a boy band as a joke, but they didn’t start it. “It was something people joked about at events,” Tijmen told

The Sokpop collective, made up of game developers Tijmen, Rob, Aran, and Rubna from the Netherlands, started calling themselves a boy band as a joke, but they didn’t start it. “It was something people joked about at events,” Tijmen told Kotaku, “mainly because of our looks.” Even if it’s kind of a joke, their cute games are set to capture your heart, and send your teenage girls screaming for their autographs.

“I think the boy band gig is more a result of us looking young and making cute stuff,” Tijmen said over email. (The group prefers to be called by their first names only.) Sokpop releases two games a month, funded by their Patreon, and they’re all seriously adorable. Simmiland is a tiny simulation game, where you use a deck of cards to add resources or change the weather. Brume manages to make the Dark Souls approach to ultra-hard adventure games feel whimsical. Their games feel wholesome, like something you remembered playing as a kid when the whole world was full of wonder.

Part of how they accomplish that is through silliness, as seen in the way they make their characters walk. In most of their games, they make their characters’ limbs flail wildly, which Tijmen said can lead to some silly situations. “For the people that play the games it can be a lot of fun to just mess around with that, like making your character do a little dance!” Tijmen said. “To me, that’s a type of fun that’s very wholesome and true. When making games, you also play around with that, and making the game becomes more playful in itself through it. Those kind of mechanics are not only discoverable in our walk cycles but are apparent in all kinds of places in our games. I think that’s what defines our style.”

GIF: Sokpop

Finding the playfulness is a result of talking through their work with each other. Each of the games that Sokpop produces is solely authored by one of the members, though Tijmen credits working together throughout the development process as the thing that helps refine their games.

Kart Kids was, at some point, supposed to have multiple race tracks, but that got cut down to a single race track. The way we decide this is by sitting together every week and talking about the things we make,” Tijmen said. “The support of the collective makes it more apparent what the fun/interesting part of a game is and how we can amplify that as much as possible. So with Kart Kids, we discovered that the fun part was the chaos of all the karts driving around. Instead of making another track we optimized the game so there can be 60 karts.”

Even if the boy band thing is mostly a joke, that doesn’t mean that they haven’t had a taste of the boy band treatment. Fans have asked them for photos and autographs, Tijmen said.”I was very surprised. Couldn’t believe the boyband thing was actually working!”

Now that the boy band gimmick has caught on, Sokpop has given some thought as to who fits what traditional boy band roles. Tom is the “quiet one,” Ruben is the “sweet one,” and Aran is the “dad.”

“I myself have been known as the bad boy,” Tijmen said.

Source: Kotaku.com

A Game About Dating That Instagram-Famous Egg

In early January, an anonymous Instagram user posted a picture of an egg, trying to get other people to like it in order to beat Kylie Jenner’s world record of 18 million likes. They succeeded. And now you can date the egg in a video game.

World Record Egg is a short dating simulator on itch.io where you date the famous Instagram egg. You hop around between different apps on your in-game phone to find the egg, and then bombard it with likes, retweets and thumbs ups in order to increase a meter of how much it likes you, which is indicated by the heart in the upper right corner.

World Record Egg has a cutesy visual style and is full of egg-based puns, but it also gets a little weird, which is telegraphed by a “horror” tag on the game store and a warning about jumpscares. Without spoiling anything, I’ll say that you should probably take stock of whether or not you eat eggs for breakfast. Your new paramour may not like that.

There are only two different endings, though the developer writes that there are “many secrets to find.” As for which ending I got, let’s just say I, for one, welcome our new eggy overlord.

Source: Kotaku.com