by Daniel Benmergui.
“I Wish I Were the Moon” is back! This is a HTML5 remake of Daniel Benmergui‘s classic 2008 artgame (which had become very difficult to play in 2021*). If you’re new to it, it’s basically a tiny toybox scene where you can move elements around, inspired by an Italo Calvino story. It takes just minutes to play.
I was surprised to discover that this isn’t just a 1:1 remake of the original – instead, it’s a remaster, adjusted to Daniel’s “current design sensibilities”. The original’s photograph idea has been simplified to a drag-and-drop system (which honestly makes a lot more sense), and the game explicitly tracks your endings now.
“I Wish I Were the Moon” is a beautiful game – back in the day, it used to be one of my go-to games to recommend to people who didn’t know what indie games were or what was interesting about them. I’m glad to see it back and playable again.
[Play online (itch.io)]
*Emulation projects like ruffle are slowly making progress – but for now at least, only a tiny fraction of flash games can be played in a modern browser. If you want to play the majority of flash games released after 2007, your best bet is to download the excellent BlueMaxima Flashpoint launcher, which has archived over 100,000 games, and counting.
I’ve really been enjoying the ongoing “Confounding Calendar” series – a collection of tiny single-screen puzzle games, one for each day in December!
There have been a lot of great puzzles in the series, and they’re all worth checking out – but I especially liked this little game from day 5, and wanted to single it out.
[Play online (itch.io)]
(via ElectronDance, thanks!)
Mimic is a short and charming puzzle game with a weird premise – copy the movement of the creatures you see to transform into them. So, for example, if you move back and forth horizontally like a fish, you’ll become a fish, and can swim in the water. Or, move in a kind of L shape tetris block pattern to become a mountain goat. And so forth.
I really like it when a game takes a weird idea and lets me discover all the funny unexpected consequences of it. “What happens when I …?” is one of the best questions a game can invite you to ask.
[Play in Browser (Itch.io)]
by Sylvie and Hubol.
Clockwork Calamity is a charming platformer/adventure game, with a big world to discover, mushrooms to collect and lots of people to meet along the way. It’s a collaboration between Sylvie (of Cat Planet) and hubol (of Super Bogus World).
It’s a very untraditional platformer, where the main mechanic is that you, uh, bounce dramatically off walls when you even slightly brush against them. So, movement becomes this super deliberate thing, where sometimes you’re carefully trying to avoid bumping into walls as you move around, then other times, you’re using walls on purpose to propel yourself forward to reach awkward places. I can’t think of another game that feels like this!
The platforming is pretty fun, but the real heart of Clockwork Calamity is actually its “trading” system. Every character in the game has a bag of useful things – they’ll trade you for mushrooms, which you can find in special platformy (procedurally generated?) Mushroom Zones, or for other items. So, the majority of the game is spent trying to trade your way up to crucial key items (the clock hands) by figuring out what people want. I guess it’s a little bit like the 8-bit Dizzy games? But, a lot more interesting than that!
I feel like the thing the platforming and trading and everything else in the game has in common is that it’s… like, going against the grain. You can see it in every system in the game, a choice made deliberately to make it less familiar, more textured, more interesting. Like, you could have made the trading work by just literally telling you what items you needed to find, and then swapping them out for the new thing when you talked to the NPC. Instead, they did something way cooler.
It’s worth mentioning that until very recently, this was a paid game – the creators decided to make it available for free in the hopes that it would reach some new people. I hope it does – I like it a lot.
[Download on Itch.io (Win/Mac/Linux)]
by The Haunted PS1 Community, organised by Vladimere Lhore.
If it seems like I post a lot of horror games here, it’s only because there’s a lot happening in indie horror at the moment. Horror belongs to the indies now!
This is the Haunted PS1 Community‘s second “Madvent” calendar collection, a series of 24 games for the Spooky Christmas season. As it’s an advent calender, I have of course not played all 24 yet, but I have played the first 3 and they’re excellent. Check it out!
[Download on Itch.io (Windows only)]