It's sales time: 10 recommendations

It's that time of the year again, and the only thing I managed to notice, is how the front page of every Steam sale has pretty much always the same games. By either scrolling down in the client, or on the homepage, it's possible to learn that there are over 5000 games discounted this week. As a result, today I won't be reviewing any freeware, and instead, I'm going to be giving at least my front page to 10 games that you may not have already tried.

Everyone knows that there's the Amnesia series 50% off, just like Outlast and the few other well known indies. What less people know, however, is that the following ten titles are also on sale (ranging from a whopping 74% to a more moderate 20%)

Ghost Tower, spooky floating

I'm, rather unsure of what's Trinketwave Shrine supposed to be. I guess it's safe to say that it's a collection of 9 free experiences from 9 different game devs put together by Porpentine the last week. I recommend you to go through the entirety of the collection, but, due to most of them being extremely short, I found myself capable of featuring here just the most articulate one. It's Lilith's Ghost Tower, specifically, which comes also from the creator of Oneiric Gardens, Crypt Worlds, and many more.

I would call Ghost Tower a first person haunting experience. As a matter of fact, in case that wasn't already clear, you play as a ghost here. The whole look, could be easily summarized by saying that the game has been developed implementing the usual Lilith's aesthetics. Though if you want me to explain a little further, it is a fully 3D adventre that features sketchy 2D characters and weirdly combined objects (most of them being random furniture). Like most her other games, there doesn't seem to be anything to do beside the mere exploration. However, thanks to the existence of surreal places that I wonder how can anyone be capable of conceiving, the aimless wandering becomes a gameplay element of great value.

You're haunting a dark tower. At the bottom, there's a blood lake where harmless humans appear to be having a bath. Then, if you look towards the roof, you can also spot cages holding more people. To navigate through this intimidating environment, WASD plus your mouse to look around are the only controls needed, however, with your left mouse button, it's possible to scare people as well as attracting other ghosts.

What I really loved about this, are the remote areas that you can find by following the two twisted tunnels situated inside the walls. One in particular lead me to a classy lounge where ghosts were having fun watching their human slaves standing on the main table (at least that's what it seemed to me). If you haven't played the game already, it's likely that you won't get why did I found this scene so amusing. Therefore, instead of questioning any further whether I'm gone completely crazy, you should try it online over here.

Surreal climbing: Five Nights at ▲

Takorii's Five Nights at ▲ can be barely called a game. Which, now that I think of it, it's exactly why I chose to feature it in the first place. When it comes to trying out one of his games, I'm always hesitant, as often times, you need to be extraordinarily open-minded to enjoy them.

It doesn't belong to any kind of genre, of that I'm sure. It's a pretty piece of software that moreover, doesn't take more than a minute to be done with it. The soundtrack provided by IsYourGuy is soothing, which combined with the bright low-res visuals, makes the game a pleasing experience without the involvement of any challenging mechanic. The color palette shifts between gradations of purple and different, duller colors, but despite the sudden changes, they don't end up by being disturbing.

You control a white, extremely pixelated cat stranded on a triangular structure that constantly rotates. You can move around with WASD, the Spacebar makes the tiny creature rest, and by pressing the E key, it emits a squeaky meow. After a while, though, meowing adds another block under the cat's feet. The area in which you can move, as a result, becomes less and less. That, when the game lets you, can be done for five consecutive times. And upon reaching the fifth, a win message will be displayed.

I felt incredibly accomplished regardless of the non-existent effort I've put into reaching that point, and if you have the chance to try it, I'm sure you'll love it as much as I did. Five Nights at ▲ can be downloaded for free for Windows machines.

Deep down in the ocean: Narcosis

I've got to be honest here, I discovered Narcosis just a couple of days ago. Chances that you've heard already of this exciting upcoming game are high, as its freshly released trailer managed get quite a lot of attention of major gaming websites. However, since I like to think of Creepy Gaming as an immense directory of indie games that are somewhat unsettling, I decided to feature it regardless.

Honor Code, its development team, refers to it as a survival story. It features indeed elements of psychological horror, but what seems to be the key concept here, is that Narcosis has a very likely storyline that doesn't involve the supernatural. Even though the Oculus Rift isn't required, it's hard to imagine a better game to try it out with. As a matter of fact, in Narcosis you play as an industrial diver lost in the depths of the Pacific Ocean. The idea of being stuck in a suit with limited oxygen, with the surface being so distant, terrifies me, and with a VR tool, it might become just too much to handle.

An unclear disaster has buried yourself under tons of metal scraps and rubble, which results in the environment being completely dark due to the lack of sunlight. The goal, of course, is to find a way through that deadly trap that leads to the surface, but aside the difficult exploration, there will be one more thing that will make your life even harder. The oxygen, as it's been already mentioned, is extremely limited, and I couldn't understand whether there will be a replenishment system. Moreover, there's also your self control that needs to be taken into account. Panicking depletes your resources twice as fast, and running into something that might scare you, is bound to happen many, many times.

Narcosis should come out next year sometime around Autumn. If you want to be always up to date with the development, I suggest you to keep an eye on its website, and the other on the game's official Facebook page.

Vernacular: point & click & drag narrative

When Da Neel comes out with a new game, I start to wonder what is going to make it as unique as his previous ones. This developer, somehow, manages to keep his experiences fresh in every regard, including art, gameplay, and storytelling. Vernacular is his last one, and by far, my favourite. Sometimes, I know, I get too excited. But I need you to believe me when I say that I had never seen anything quite like it.

It's a point and click browser game that uses extensively the drag & drop system. When it loades, you're presented a picture that asks you to let it slide in order to start things off. It's hard to get the hang of this core mechanic, but as soon as you realize that you're playing with a series of photos distributed neatly in three rows, you should also be able to figure out the order in which you're supposed to go through them.

The next issue, then, is to actually understand how to get the storyline going. The first row of sketchy photos drawn in white over a purple background suggest that you're witnessing a murder case. But moving forward, the next ones are simply blank. It's at that time that I learned that you can also interact with the items displayed in the snapshots. Often times, it's going to be all about collecting something that stands out from a picture, to then use it in the one that sits next to it. There's a door in the middle of the interactive grid, and the ultimate goal is to fill the four holes in it with items collected in the other scenes.

It's likely that you haven't really understood how does Vernacular play. Partially, it's my fault, but it's also undeniable that this is definitely something that can't be explained that easily. Most of the interactions with the accessible photos, unlocks the ones towards the end. But unlike what I was hoping, the story becomes even more intricate than how it was in the beginning. If you ask me if I liked Vernacular the answer will be affermative, the way in which the initial layout changes thanks to your actions is fascinatig. However, due to the effort I've put in completing it without checking the walkthrough provided by Da Neel, catching the true meaning of it has been impossible, to me.

You can play it on Game Jolt for free.
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