Tag Archive: exploration

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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Crystal Towers 2


Official Site || Steam Page

Crystal Towers 2 expertly combines the open, branching level design of many Genesis-era platformers with many of the better exploration elements from Nintendo 64 collectathons like Super Mario 64. This isn’t a game which shies away from revealing its influences, there are plenty of red springs and tiles with checkered patterns along the way, but it also doesn’t adhere itself too closely to the formula of any one game in particular either. Though there are a few rough spots along the way, mainly the boss fights, this massive 20+ hour adventure is filled with tons of secrets, charming writing, a fantastic soundtrack, and excellent platforming challenges.
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CAPSULE


Steam Page || itch.io Page

Many horror games are described as claustrophobic, but I’ve never played a game which captures the feeling of being confined within a small space anywhere near as well as CAPSULE does. Even though it contains common horror elements like isolation and the unknown I wouldn’t go so far as to say CAPSULE belongs in the horror genre, it can be a similarly stressful and unnerving experience all the same. Trapped behind the small, vertical screen of your capsule, you can only experience the world around you through sounds and abstract circles and squares. With only a brief overview of the basic controls and a vague objective at your disposal, you are plunged into CAPSULE‘s world with little in the way of concrete information. Your air is running out, your fuel is low, and you’ll have to do everything you can simply to survive.
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Odallus Thorns

Odallus: The Dark Call


Official Site || Steam Page

Odallus: The Dark Call is what you would get if you tossed a classic Castlevania game into a blender along with Berserk and added a dash of modern game design sensibilities. With its somewhat methodical approach to platforming and combat and a world divided into levels filled with branching paths and secrets, Odallus takes many of the best ideas the action platformer genre has to offer and combines them with fantastic aesthetics and a dark fantasy setting to create an incredible experience which outclasses much of the competition.
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Hollow Knight Title

Hollow Knight


Official Site || Steam Page

I knew I would probably like Hollow Knight from the start, but I was not at all prepared for it to resonate with me as much as it did. With the release of Bleed 2 last month and with virtually guaranteed heavy hitters like Iconoclasts and La-Mulana 2 on the horizon, 2017 is an incredibly exciting year for indie games, yet Hollow Knight may very well end up as my favorite game of the year. With a massive world to explore, an outright ridiculous number of secrets, a combat system which manages to feel extremely fluid while giving each and every attack a sense of weight, and an atmosphere which seamlessly combines some good old-fashioned Dark Souls gloom with lighthearted humor, this is one experience which is far from empty.
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