I Feel it Every Late Morning, and you?

This is not the first time I encounter a non-game by Ivan Netkachev. For those who can't remember, he's the same guy that was behind the atmospheric ISPOLIN. With I Feel it Every Late Morning though, on top of partecipating to the last Ludum Dare, he also shown that he's indeed capable of developing something much different from plain sidescrollers. You'll eventually might disagree. But personally, I value this one to be a considerable step forward in terms of game development overall.

The graphics are pretty simplistic, and definitely give the idea of being hand-painted. As far as the gameplay is concerned, then, I'm sure you've already understood that this is yet again nothing more than a short, interactive browser experience. At first, the main character will be standing in an almost empty room from which you can't even get out with the door on the left. There's a switch right in front of you, and with the G key you can use it to turn off the lights -- respectively, the F key turns the lights on.

Nothing will be happening the first couple of times you try to do that. However, right when I was about to close the page, a musical transition kicked in. The images got distorted, and for about 5 seconds, the game became unresponsive. As I was anyway expecting, the following situation didn't differ at all from the initial point. The blackouts you're going to get though, which still happen randomly while switching the lights on and off, will definitely grow in strength. They will become much more disturbing. And among all the noise and the confused visual effects, the last one will bring you in a totally new scene. A dark place where you're going to be interacting with a slightly unsettling individual.

That is going to be the end, and although I doubt that it has any meaning to back it up, I liked it nonetheless. Don't forget, the F key is needed to go through the last few images. Play it online right on its itch.io page.

Worldly Traveler, what are you exactly stealing?

Usually, when you consider Ludum Dare games, you don't expect a story, nor a meaning that stands behind the actions that you have to do. What's rewarded is the concept, and being in-line with the theme as much as possible. However, sometimes you stumble upon a game that, in all its rushed gameplay elements, seem to anyway feature a tale that gets siletly told while you play it. Worldly Traveler, by Jord Farrel, gave me exactly that feeling, and below, I'll try to explain why I found this so appealing.

It's an adventure game where you get to play as a space explorer on his quest to find very specific gems that are scattered between a few planets that you're going to be visiting. The sketchy, yet very colorful 2D graphics are what keep the game always interesting. In fact, despite knowing that on each planet there won't be a lot going on, I found even the dramatic change in terms of colors to be delightful. Aside the X key, which is used to interact with pretty much anything meaningful you come across, the right mouse button is what you use to move back and forth. And this, is really all you need to dive into Worldly Traveler.

You're in space on your intergalactic vessel, and at first, you have to remove the screws from the command panel in order to power up the spaceship. You have already a few world gems at your disposal, and by placing them right next to one of the 8 symbols displayed, you'll be enabling the respective button on the keyboard. I know that it may seem a little complex when you read it, but once you're going to be playing this, I'm sure you won't have any trouble. Tapping on two symbols will bring you to distant worlds. Some, won't have anything for you, but others, will still have the gem you're looking for.

Here, is where I first realized what was really happening. By removing the world gem, you're essentially shutting down all the life on the planets. Which, all at once, will become a wasteland. The question now is: are you really playing as a harmless explorer? The gun I chose to carry, maybe isn't supposed to be for personal defense. The game can be played online on Game Jolt, though as soon as you will recover the entirety of the gems, make sure to use them to make your last travel.

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.
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