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!
Indiepocalypse Presents: Indie Tsushin
It takes some real gonads to give developing a grand strategy title a go. This genre is dense, requiring massive and complex systems, some exceptional AI to challenge players, and extreme balance over lengthy, protracted campaigns. It’s not a genre you’ll see often on itch.io, in other words, but World Empire 2027 looks like a genuine attempt to get all of this right. It looks a little basic, aesthetically, but the game promises all the depth of the greats of the genre, and with 180 nations to play as, no less.
World Empire 2027 features spying and diplomacy, an economy system, the United Nations, technology developments, and a dynamic news system. There is both single-player and hotseat multiplayer for up to eight players. The developers are also promising to bring more to the game based on feedback and player’s responses, so be sure to let them know what you think of World Empire 2027 if you do give it a go!
Saint Spell’s Love Guide To The Magical Student’s Handbook
I must admit that I don’t really understand the background of Saint Spell, but it seems like a Deviant Art artist and community, which would make this a tie-in game of sorts. This is a dating simulator for the various characters of Saint Spell, and is massive in scope – it features 155,000 words, 140 pieces of art, and 29 (is that a record for a dating simulator?) characters.