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! There’s a new one that recently came out, Sade!
Indiepocalypse: Volume #25
Another month, another bundle of delightful indie games that you may well have never noticed, nor played otherwise. As we say every month, the Indiepocalypse is a collection of the most Itch of Itch games. These are small passion projects, highly experimental mini-projects, and cult games for the most hardcore of alternative art fans. This month’s collection of ten games (including one commissioned specifically for the collection), and a zine that covers the games (and more) might just be the best we’ve covered yet.
So here’s a journey and a half. We actually reviewed Duel Princess on Switch earlier this year, but the game seems to have run into all kinds of trouble. It has, apparently, been banned on Steam AND it seems to have been pulled from the Nintendo eShop, though I do believe that is meant to be temporary. Regardless, the developer and publisher seem to have turned to Itch as a platform that isn’t puritan and ridiculously inconsistent with its rules. As an added bonus, itch’s attitude towards NFTs shows that it’s the most moral platform of them all. Go team lewd!
Duel Princess is a lot of fun. It takes Battle Cats-style tower defence, and blends in roguelike and collectible card game mechanics into that. Throw in fetish play (no, really), some silly visual novel style humour, and some gorgeous anime art, and you’ve got a game that is a genuinely good time. I’m not usually a big fan of buying stuff to give the major platform holders the middle finger but… buy this game to give the big platform holders the middle finger. There’s no justifiable reason to be banning this one.
You know how this goes, folks; if the idea of a demake of the PlayStation 4 classic, Bloodborne, so that you’ll see it as it would look on the PlayStation 1, appeals to you, then for the love of all things holy, download this now before Sony’s lawyers catch wind of it. This fan-made project actually looks really good, and the PlayStation One platform was, in fact, a good platform for gritty gothic horror games.