The Music Machine


Steam Page || itch.io Page

Before anything else, I want to share a personal story about The Music Machine in October of 2016 I began to play through this wonderfully atmospheric first-person horror game for the sake of writing an article about it. Unfortunately, I accidentally overwrote my save data and lost some progress, but this isn’t a particularly long game so that wasn’t really much of an issue. Except, then my entire hard drive died and with it went my save file until I found a replacement. Then my computer died, taking my third save with it. Once everything was back in order the Halloween season was long over and plans to write about The Music Machine fell through the cracks.

With Halloween once again on the horizon, this week seems like the perfect time to at last delve into this story about a girl, the ghost possessing her, and the mysteries surrounding a very creepy and exceedingly orange island.
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FAITH


itch.io Page

It’s October, and that means all sorts of indie horror games are going to start popping up just in time for Halloween. FAITH is one such game and it takes the retro aesthetic even farther back than usual with graphics inspired by the likes of the ZX Spectrum and plenty of computerized ‘voice acting’ that would feel right at home in an 80’s arcade game (Sinistar comes to mind). Starring a priest who has returned to the secluded site of a failed exorcism, FAITH wields its minimalism like a rather sharp knife.

This is a fairly short game, but it’s also a respectably dense game, packed with enough secrets, lore, and alternate endings to more than double your playtime if you want to see everything. Whether it tasks you with wandering through the woods alongside a retro rendition of “Moonlight Sonata” or creeping through a house in dead silence, FAITH knows how to use emptiness and absence to create constant tension.
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A Bright Light in the Middle of the Ocean


itch.io Page

Video games allow us to intimately interact with spaces to a degree unrivaled by any other medium. It’s a lesson I think most players learn eventually. It’s learned in that moment when we catch ourselves examining every discarded scrap of paper, every shadowy corner, and the contents of every mug and cup left on a table because we’ve been captivated by a world, whether it is wondrous or horrifying, and we desperately want to know as much about it as we can. I first learned this lesson at a young age via my Sega Saturn when Myst completely captured my attention with its melancholy, mysterious island, but every now and then a game like A Bright Light in the Middle of the Ocean comes around to remind me of it.
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Cuphead

Cuphead


Official Site || Steam Page

Cuphead was one of the most highly anticipated indie games of 2017 and, while I always enjoy stumbling upon great overlooked games, it’s rather refreshing to see a game with so much hype behind it actually (mostly) live up to that hype. Both visually and audibly Cuphead is an aesthetic masterpiece and this is something that was obvious from the first, painfully brief E3 trailer, but there is a breathtaking world of difference between seeing a few disconnected trailers and brief gameplay demos versus playing it for yourself as one cohesive whole. Even more importantly, it plays extremely well.
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First Impression: Northwall


RPGMaker.net Page

This First Impression article is based on about an hour of gameplay and may not necessarily be indicative of the game as a whole. This includes the score at the end.

Northwall is a game I didn’t remember many details about when I started it up other than that it might have had some good reviews (it does) so I really wasn’t sure of what to expect from it. With its heavy reliance upon RPG Maker’s default graphical assets and an opening that goes on for too long before giving you control of a character, Northwall‘s quality only grew more doubtful by the minute. However, the combat system rapidly dispelled my doubts as to the game’s quality and by the end of my time with it I was eager to play more.
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