Visiting the Mushrooms, descending the unsettling cave

I have to be honest here. Make a game with an extensive usage of the purple color and you've already gained my attention. But more seriously, Ryan Melmoth's Visiting the Mushrooms developed for the latest Ludum Dare, managed to particularly stand out exactly because of that. Which should be a rule that all the developers should follow. The choice of which kind of screenshots you want to feature on the game's page is actually important, as it is the only thing that determines whether your product will, or won't be played.

It's an easy platformer focused on exploration and the retrieval of, well, mushrooms. The theme, which was "connected worlds" could've definitely been implemented better, though as far as I'm concerned, I've had anyway a lot of fun with it. In Visiting the Mushrooms you play as strange individual entirely shielded by a suit. Almost like as if the air was poisoned, if that would help you understand. The whole environment, which slightly varies in terms of colors and music, is divided in -- supposedly -- procedurally generated levels where you need to descend till the bottom of the ever-changing caves.

The gameplay is basically divided in two parts. The first one, is where you actually collect 12 mushrooms along your way. Upon pick up, they explode in bloody particles causing a weird, but somewhat rewarding chain reaction. And as soon as you get all 12 of them, you'll get teleported into an alternate version of the world. One time it was much darker and I had to turn the light on and off by collecting lamps, then, I spent some time in a sparkling version of a cave. In any case, once you're done with the second half of the gameplay, all you need to do is to hit the A button to start once again.

As usual, I like the games where despite the obvious lack of meaningful things to do, they keep me entertained with unexpected, and unsettling events. Visiting the Mushrooms, regardless of the pretty funny walking animation of the character, and even the fact that the levels could've been less minimalistic, turned out to be all but boring. Give it a try, its Windows build is up on its Ludum Dare page.

Video Wednesday: Five Nights at Freddy's & At the Mountains of Madness

Our Youtubers are back in business, and while I feel like some of you might have seen Wretic's let's play coming, Leon decided to go for the narrative route. As always though, I wish you a pleasant watch.

People are going crazy on this one. Finally, a game that has nothing to do with well known horror formulas has managed to go viral. I was quicker, and wrote my thoughts about Five Nights at Freddy's a little earlier than the moment when it became the huge success that it is right now. But I'm digressing, so please, enjoy the first night proposed above here and consider to buy it!

I'm glad that Leon seems to be capable of understanding which game I liked the most throughout the weeks. So this time, he played the Lovecraftian At the Mountains of Madness spending almost half a hour into it. Don't be discouraged, I know it's a lot of time, but I anyway had a great time watching him struggling with it.

Wretic and Leon are looking to create a strong community and share their passion for video games through their videos. They're fun, and provide a lot of content aside the weekly footage featured here. A subscription is all it takes to help them out!

Stranded in space: Respire

How long has it been since the last game by James Earl Cox III made it here? It certainly feels like it's at least a handful of months. I might be wrong though, it's hard to keep track of his numerous releases. What counts, is that we're still covering Ludum Dare games, and just when I was about to write down my first thoughts on the freshly released Respire, my mind went back in time all of a sudden. Did you know that his first game that I poorly reviewed here, was actually developed for the very same jam?

 Respire, other than being quite an impossible task when you're in space, is an extremely atmospheric exploration game set, as a matter of fact, in the outer space. To make it clearer, you're playing as an astronaut that survived -- I presume -- an immense intergalactic battle. Debris and corpses are floating all around you, and despite the game being rigorously 2-dimensional, I particularly liked how there are elements that belong to the foreground as well as others to the background. Everything may be procedurally generated, but even if the map was made by the same pattern repeated over and over again, it definitely felt always new to me.

If I had to take a guess, the game tries to put the emphasis on the soundtrack. And honestly, I couldn't have been happier. In fact, not only I played a compelling game, but it also made me discover Two Parent Home (great songs in there!). The goal in Respire, is to find a radio to contact someone that can rescue yourself. Which is, pretty easy if it wasn't for the spirits that will rush towards your location whenever you'll decide to slow down. Don't get me wrong, you're in space and you're indeed moving incredibly slow. But stopping, means definitely putting yourself in a rough spot.

What I seriously had troubles with, is the movement system. The WASD keys felt almost inadequate without the support of perhaps, the cursor. However, aside the fact that I often found myself spinning without obviously willing to do it, Respire is a great experience overall. It's calm, but worrisome at the same time. The developer said that it's way better to play this in fullscreen, but for those on either Linux or Mac, there's anyway the online version on Game Jolt.

MESSENGNR, a glitching delivery

We're on! Ludum Dare 30 coverage starts today, and just to take it out of the way right off the bat, the theme this time was "Connected Worlds". I can tell, within those 2 words lies a lot of creepy potential. Which thankfully, it seems like a lot of devs have picked up. For instance, the first one that I gladly spotted was Steve Richey with his compo entry MESSENGNR. It just took 2 seconds of my time to determine that I was going to like it, and I'm sure, that it will be the same for you.

All in all, this is nothing more than a very short platformer game with simplistic graphics and nothing challenging at all. However, if you're an accostumed Creepy Gaming reader, you should've learned that most of the games I find, have these charateristics in common. When MESSENGNR will be fully loaded, you're going to be greeted by a glitching title screen that I had to skip due to the loud static noise played in the background. That, sets perfectly the mood of the entire game, and although you go in with no instructions, figuring out the only thing you have to do is immediate.

You control a sketchy individual that needs to bring a message from a guy that will be always at the beginning of the level, to the recipient that's tightly waiting on the other end. Although postmen aren't supposed to do that, you can actually read what you're carrying with the X key. The message will be displayed in full screen accompanied by the already known static noise encountered in the beginning. They will all refer to a "different channel", a sort of other world that someone is trying to merge with your reality. And to give the idea, I liked how the whole visual quality of the game decays over time. Specifically, as you complete the levels one by another.

The short trail of glitching pixels left by the main character ended up to be particularly appealing to my eyes. But more in general, once I managed to tune down the volume a little bit, the whole experience became one of those psychedelic mess that you know I love so much. MESSENGNR can be played for free on And for those who like to complain, please, remember that it's been made in 48 hours.

Hoots in Cage, you're trapped between disturbing walls

Some of you should already know Titouan Millet from what I've written about his  Data Stains not too long ago. What I then realized, is that what I liked so much about that game wasn't even the result of some weird experimentation, but it was much more like his very distinctive style that I'm learning to recognize on sight. Hoots in Cage, developed together with Tom Victor, is his last product, and despite it being out in the wild from already quite some time, I decided to mention it today regardless. Anyway, it's unlikely that you've heard of it.

This non-game, as funny as it seems, speaks of Owls, but unless you try your best at deciphering the confused images that will be thrown right in front of you, you'll hardly realize it. It's almost like a mystic experience: the background is made of pulsing spots of psychedelic colors. Which is almost what you can sort of see when you push your palms on your eyes closed. I did that a lot when I was very young, it made me feel like I was in a totally different place, a safer and peaceful environment. In Hoots in Cage, however, you're trapped between what seem to be invisible walls. It doesn't look like that's the case, but you are, and keeping an eye on the two owls stuck with you while flying backwards will give you the proof you need.

The two animals, if you stare at them, can also provide you some insight on how it feels like to be trapped, but if I didn't check the instructions, I would've missed most of the fun. As a matter of fact, the Spacebar triggers the unexplained "beat" action. Which, as soon as I found the way to utilize it, I kept hitting that button for a considerable amount of time. Lean against a wall, and smash the space. It will break it revealing the outer world that obviously, will turn out to be even stranger than the initial view.

Then, it's all about contemplating the suggestive show. Hoots in Cage is available for free for Windows, Mac, and Linux over at its's page. The time at your disposal doesn't matter, but I suggest you to spend at least a couple of minutes in it. I'm sure it will be worth it.

N.B: From what you can read above, it seems like there's nothing else to do beside breaking the walls. But that's not true. Instead, try to click on the black circles in what I called the "outer world" to unveil the remainder of the gameplay.

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