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Monday, January 11, 2021

Interesting games on itch.io: January 11


List by Matt S
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I'm a big fan of itch.io for the freedom and open platform that it allows for developers to be creative, experimental, and directly canvas the audience for feedback for games that are not yet ready for primetime on Steam and its ilk. In addition, itch.io allows you to be transgressive, subversive, and downright dangerous. It's a true "art gallery" for game ideas and creative developers, and it should be celebrated for that.

What makes itch.io a little difficult at times is finding things that are interesting to play. Discovery is a real issue when great ideas are buried among high school projects and nasty little efforts to scam a quick buck from players. With that in mind, I thought what might be helpful to readers would be if I did a brief write-up of interesting games that I've come across on itch.io each week. In many cases these games will be unfinished or "in development," but I'm highlighting them because they promise something special and are well worth keeping on the radar.

Note: I also haven't played these games. I highlight them as interesting based on the itch.io description and concept. Where I find the time to do actual reviews or other coverage, I will compose separate articles on the game in question. These aren't so much an endorsement (or piece of criticism) as they are a head's up.

Naturally, if you want to pick up a couple of the Dee Dee visual novels while you're there on itch.io to support our work here, I would be eternally grateful!

The Tides of Time

It is truly amazing to think about just how much creativity that Nintendo's Zelda series has inspired over the years. Breath of the Wild has kickstarted an entire new approach to open-world games (Genshin Impact, Fenyx Rising), but right down to the most indie of indie games, Zelda inspires creative thinking and new ideas within a familiar context.


The Tides of Time is an example of this. It's a short little "Time Loop" game in which you sail the oceans and explore the islands of a mysterious world. You'll help villagers, take on bosses, and unravel greater mysteries as you go along... all with a distinct flavour that will be warm and familiar to you if you've grown up on a steady diet of Zelda. The Tides of Time was released on Steam in early December, but didn't make much of a splash there. It looks like the kind of game that should turn more heads on Itch.io though.

Knight Night

One of my favourite sides of Itch.io is that it is the one place you can go where super-short games are appreciated based on what they offer, rather than what they don't. Knight Night is a 30-minute little slice of adventure game action, and that brief runtime allows it to get its jokes in and move on before you can grow tired of it.


The naked and late for the tournament Sir Fred needs to get himself un-naked and over to the tournament in this homage to 90's-era point-and-click adventures. It's quite clear that a lot of thought has gone into the game - there are hidden trophies and beyond - and you can give it a play for free in-browser before deciding whether the humour is for you, and whether want to support it with a purchase and download. The pixel art is also great and well worth taking a gander at.

Divine Ememrgence promises to be a "philosophical visual novel," which is a pretty effective way to get me to click on over to the game's page. But it does look like it's backed up with some lovely anime art and there's another hint that this might have some unique qualities to it: The game is available in English and Russian. The only reason why Russian would be one of the two languages you release a game in first is if it is made by Russians, and Russians tend to make some really thought-provoking art. They're masters of it.


Anyhow, get a whiff of this game concept and tell me you're not at least intrigued: "Our reality shattered into fragments of the past and images of the future. The last refuge in the ruints of a bygone world was created in order to answer the final question. Is a human able to find the way back?" Yep. Sold. At about an hour's in length, Divine Emergence won't weigh the backlog down, either.


The last game this week is a bit naughty, but it also looks like it could be a lot of fun. Monster Girl Kingdom is a swipe card game - the genre that Reigns pioneered, where you have a card pop up on the screen with two possible responses, and depending on whether you swipe left or right to make those decisions, the story will play out in two different directions. Monster Girl Kingdom is an application of Rule 34: we all know the rule "if it exists there is porn of it." Well, that applies to game genres too. The gameplay of Reigns is popular, so of course a sexytimes version of that gameplay would be created.


There are five different "resources" that increase or decrease depending on your choices - they represent Army, People, Religion and Wealth. If any of those reach 0, it's game over. However, it's the fifth resource, Love, that most of the people that play this game will care about. You want that resource's score to hit 100. For... obvious reasons. 

Jokes aside, Reigns is good fun and the art in Monster Girl Kingdom is decent enough, with plenty of pretty girls to form bonds with. It's also pay-what-you-want to support so... why the heck not give it a whirl?

- Matt S. 
Editor-in-Chief
Find me on Twitter: @mattsainsb


Interesting games on itch.io: January 11
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