This action platformer is a return to your childhood, in all the best ways

The indie scene these days is filled with fantastic action titles. Celeste, Shovel Knight, Cuphead, Katana Zero. This renaissance is due to the creativity of the teams, the designers who played the beloved games of yesteryear and have crafted powerful experiences in their own right gilded with all the bells and whistles of modern game design. Hot off the presses is Flynn: Son of Crimson, a new indie darling that includes all of the good and none of the bad of your favorite action platformers from twenty years ago.

Action platforming at its best

Flynn: Son of Crimson, published by Studio Thunderhorse, is damn near…


Deck Nine’s newest entry in the budding franchise is what we need right now

Gentleness. When asked what might make the world a better place, what one thing would turn society toward the better, that’s my answer. Gentleness.

In his famous speech from The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin said:

Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost…

While playing Life is Strange: True Colors (the newest entry in the Life is Strange franchise, developed by Before the…


Double Fine’s new masterpiece is what I once envisioned would be common in the modern gaming landscape

When I was in my senior year of high school, I had fully convinced myself that video games were reaching their endpoint.

Not video games as a whole (an artistic medium that has gone through nothing but turbulent ups and downs since its conception), but video games for me. It’s not a rare occurrence to grow up in a household where video games are viewed as a profound waste of time, and I think this is a sentiment widely shared by my fellow spurned Millennials and Xers. …


The demo for this exploratory indie title gives us a world like no other

When I hear RTS, my mind wanders to the typical and well-known offerings of the aged genre: Starcraft, Warcraft, Age of Empires. While Cantata by Afterschool Studio (and published by Modern Wolf) presents itself as an RTS from the jump, the game I played has more in common with SimCity, with enough wonderful strategy thrown in to keep me hooked as I explore this savage planet and deal with alien fauna and hostile robotics.


This nonlinear, endless album feels like the gaming equivalent of a deep breath

I have grown up beneath the shadow of a mountain. Even now, as I sit in my bedroom enduring another grueling heat wave, my world wreathed in the smoke of forest fires, I can see the briefest edge of Mt. Rainier’s silhouette. The mountain is a guardian, it is a friend. Despite being a still-active volcano, Mt. …


This charming Zelda-like has captured my heart

The Tunic demo offers little direction at the beginning. I’m told to find a stick, a sword. The basic gameplay mechanics are presented to me, but it’s nothing I wouldn’t have figured out without pressing a few buttons. The world is easy on the eyes — charming, delicate, in the same way that model train panoramas are charming and delicate. Everything is foam, the aesthetics built on something not-quite old school, not quite new. It’s nostalgic. It’s warm.


This horror cyberpunk journey is dark, dismal, and difficult

Upon my first death in Whalenought Studios’ Mechajammer I was greeted by a tight-lipped cybernetic skull floating in garish liquid, encased in a glass dome as it hovered over my revivified corpse.

“You’re all patched up, friend. Good as mostly new.”


The addictive nonogram puzzler is a bountiful insight for writing a novel

Somewhere around the start of the pandemic, in the sludge of March 2020, I lost my desire to write. Saddled with an uncertain future and (again) thrown a loop in my millennial perception of that future, my plans for myself dwindled. My motivations sank — though, with all honesty, those motivations were fully obliterated for months. Essays, short stories, my own novel, all of these things were waylaid by a listless and grotesque numbness, a bland disquiet that had me doing very little beyond playing videogames and accomplishing the minimal chores required to keep me living from sleep to sleep.


This CRPG is a bloody good mixture of Fallout and cosmic horror

The most impressive feat of Death Trash — above its gorgeous pixel art, violent atmosphere, crunchy world building and smooth gameplay — is that a majority of its development has been helmed by one single person.

The Game

A five year effort by Stephan Hövelbrinks (with additional audio and coding by Christian Heusser and James Dean), Death Trash is the sort of indie game that feels like a love letter to gaming as a whole, a truly titanic feat of artistic inspiration and impressive motivation. …


This masterpiece’s environmental storytelling has cast a long shadow

There is a moment during the runtime of Angel’s Egg when I feel as though I’m revisiting a place I’ve never been. It’s subtle. As the girl (unnamed, barefoot, hair wild as a nimbus) treks her way across the Art Nouveau cityscape, scavenging for water and food, I visualize other experiences. I am crawling the streets of Yharnam in Bloodborne. I am descending the Hollownest in Hollow Knight. I am approaching the end of the world in Dark Souls III. …

Brandon R. Chinn

Author of the Kognition Cycle. Works featured in Moonchild Magazine, Twist in Time, Selene Quarterly. For inquiries contact brandonrchinn@gmail.com.

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