2023-10-21: Stuff I Played Recently 3⅓

I've gotten mildly addicted to Tower Unite recently. But nothing, not even a whole bunch of games of middling quality all put into one executable, can keep me from playing random niche indie games I found online.


You thought only GAMES could get Stuff I've Been Playing Recently features? Think again. That's right, we're all about keeping things FRESH here at the RICK ZONE, so here's a general recommendation for Xena-Spectrale, a developer with a sizeable library of short retro-armospheric games of varying genres, usually with a surrealistic horror bent. Why not try Hamelin's Journey (pic related), a bullet hell monster collecting game? Or Essence//Structure, the abstract open-ended 3D platformer with some cool movement combos? Or BRASIER, the experimental multi-perspective, er... Game? Or, you know, just read the game blurbs and pick out the one that sounds most fun to you. They're all pretty good. The choice is yours..........
Hamelin's Journey screenshot

Glass Wings

Glass Wings is dirt cheap, and that's because it's a short proof of concept for a full game the developer has planned. But, to be clear, it's still a very fun experience in its own right - it's a third person parkour game in the style of Mirror's Edge, taking influence from that game's visuals, music, and gameplay, making something that, unsurprisingly, you will almost definitely like if you're a Mirror's Edge enjoyer. As the store page helpfully summarises, "no combat, no story, just run."
Glass Wings screenshot

Viking Hiking

Viking Hiking is a fun student project with strong visual design and gameplay, and surprising amounts of polish. It's a 3D collectathon platformer with a range of movement mechanics, from the fairly standard wall jumps and dives to a pole vault that can be executed on both walls and floors. Your stout Viking fella stabs his Viking horn into whatever surface you touch first, launching himself some combination of forwards and upwards depending on how long you keep the button held down. Also, it's free!
Viking Hiking screenshot

Cavern of Dreams

Oh hey, it's that game whose demo I mentioned earlier this year! This might be another Pseudoregalia situation and the game will pop off in popularity in the coming weeks, but while it's still sitting at double digit reviews I might as well include it. Because it's great! It's a fun and creative 3D platformer in the vein of N64 collectathons, with a versatile moveset and level design that permits funky use of said moveset to get to places in unorthodox ways. And! It lets you explore out of bounds a bit! If you know me, you know that right there makes it prime GOTY material.
Cavern of Dreams screenshot

A Hand With Many Fingers

Ever dreamt of turning a plain old corkboard into a complex web of photographs and redacted documents connected by red string? In A Hand With Many Fingers you do just that, trying to unravel the conspiracy behind the strange death of an Australian banker by digging through archives full of CIA documents. The documents are fictional, but the conspiracy is based on real events, which gives the game a rare sort of psychological impact... with the unfortunate downside that you're not going to get a satisfaction of busting a case wide open, the mystery neatly solved and summarised right in front of you. Still worth playing? Absolutely, it's a one of a kind experience at a very low price.
A Hand With Many Fingers screenshot

I don't think anyone cares, but the reason I don't do Next Fest posts any more is that there's too much research involved in figuring out if a demo is actually niche or not. How many times did I mention a demo only for the game to come out to thousands of reviews and widespread critical acclaim? At least once*! And that's one time too many! I've got a fuckin reputation** to keep, man!

*Chants of Sennaar
**currently have no reputation