This is the first annual Access-Ability Summer Showcase. I was pleasantly surprised to even hear that it existed, and in all honesty I’m honoured to cover such a strong selection of current and upcoming titles. While I wish I could give full coverage to every game mentioned, I honestly just don’t have the spoons available. Instead, I’ve highlighted some of my favourites. But I implore you the watch the entire showcase to see what awesome games awesome people are putting out into the world.
Mythwrecked: Ambrosia Island
Mythwrecked: Ambrosia Island is set on, well, an island. It involves befriending Greek Gods and helping them remember who they really are. I’ve written a little more about it here.
Accessibility-wise, a lot is covered. The text is in a readable sans serif font typeface by default; text bubbles are available in light or dark modes. To continue with conversations, the player can either hit a button or choose to autoplay dialogue at one of three speeds. The text can also scroll, or all show at once. The game includes captions for ambient and environmental sound effects.
Players track objectives around the island using the AmbrosiDex, which features a high contrast journal and inventory system. It also has a radar function that uses sound effects, visuals, and haptic feedback to let you know if you’re close to finding a hidden treasure. Explore the island using a stable, dynamic tracking camera; enhance the experience by toggling haptics or button press sprint. Full button remapping is available.
Developed by Polygon Treehouse and published by Whitethorn Games, Mythwrecked: Ambrosia Island will be released for PC via Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series, and Xbox One later this year.
Sniper Elite 5
I don’t like shooters, in large part because they’re not accessible for me. And that’s what makes Sniper Elite 5 stand out: it’s really trying to be accessible to as many people as possible. Sniper Elite 5 launched last year as the most accessible game in the series. There are clear subtitles with speaker names (speaker names has recently become a big deal for me, I’m losing my memory fast these days), aim assists, and a highly customizable difficulty. Since the game’s release, other accessibility options have been implemented via updates; this includes things like aim toggle, automatic forward movement, auto traversal options, and colourblind palettes.
Developed by and published by Rebellion Developments, Sniper Elite 5 is available now for PC via Steam, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series, and Xbox One.
This is the third game so far in the showcase published by Whitethorn Games, which makes me think it is quite focused on game accessibility. (It also publishes some awesome games.) In Botany Manor, play as a retired botanist living in a beautiful manor. Explore the manor to discover clues and research that will help unlock the mysteries of forgotten flora.
Admire the manor the Aribella’s eyes with field of view, motion sensitivity, and camera smoothing sliders. Invertable camera controls help make the experience seem familiar. When viewing text-heavy items, overlays may be used for a clearer picture of what is written. The overlay is high-contrast and uses a sans serif text. There are no time limits. An optional single-stick mode does what it promises, and allows players to use a single analogue stick for movement; there are toggle and hold options for a look-around view that you can use to stand still and use the analogue stick to observe your surroundings instead of move.
Developed by Balloon Studios and published by Whitethorn Games, Botany Manor will be released for PC and Nintendo Switch.
Can you retain your humanity while fighting against a corporate BioTech conspiracy? Solace State is a 3D choice-driven cyberpunk (and hopepunk) visual novel. Young hacker Chloe confronts political plots as she fights for her friends and her city. Choices in building relationships and community can revolutionize into more (or less) freedoms and human rights. Romance Torrent, who shares Chloe’s intuitive hacking abilities; Sueli, a community leader who struggles with the expectations from different levels of government; and Alden, an old flame who happened to be Chloe’s first love. Chloe’s hacking allows her to take on someone’s identity and read their encrypted data.
You don’t have to decide right off that bat how you’d like to play the game: all accessibility options can be toggled at any time. There is a toggle for OpenDyslexic font to make the game more readable. There is a full history log of previously read text in each scene (I am so grateful for this). Text speed can be adjusted. Players can select a highlight colour to show which character is speaking. There are no time limits, and no flashing lights.
Developed by and published by Vivd Foundry, Solace State will be released for PC via Steam and Xbox this year.
Pine Hearts is a lighthearted, wholesome narrative-driven adventure about coming to term with grief and recpapturing the freedom of exploring nature. Tyke is revisiting a beloved childhood holiday destination to overcome the physical and mental mountain set before him.
The developer strives to make its games as accessible as possible; not just for Pine Hearts, but moving forward as well. This starts with clear signposting of what accessibility options are available and where to find them. This is addressed in two ways. One, there is an accessibility onboarding flow that allows first-time players to select a few basic options before jumping into gameplay; this includes things like adventure vs story mode, and balanced vs colourblocking visuals. Second, a dedicated accessibility options menu makes it easy to find the settings you’re looking for. It includes gameplay, UI support, visual support, and subtitles.
Developed and published by Hyper Luminal Games, Pine Hearts will be released for PC and Nintendo Switch in 2024.
The full list of games
- Mythwrecked: Ambrosia Island
- Skye Tales
- Bossgame: The Final Boss is my Heart
- Sniper Elite 5
- A Knight in the Attic
- Princess Farmer
- Botany Manor
- Brok the Investigator
- Solace State
- Pine Hearts
- Blinnk and the Vacuum of Space
- Stories of Blossom