From one angle, Team Salvato’s (free) visual novel Doki Doki Literature Club looks like an attempt to capture a bit of Undertale‘s signature metafictional magic. A game that begins as a piece in a well-defined genre ends up being anything but—picking apart both the mechanical and narrative tropes that a player might expect from, respectively, a visual […]Read more "How Doki Doki Literature Club Paints an (Almost) Authentic Picture of Depression"
[This piece is intended for readers who have finished Hollow Knight and unlocked its true ending. If you haven’t, my (mostly) spoiler-free review is a much better introduction to this fantastic game.] Deep in Kingdom’s Edge—one of the farthest reaches of Hollow Knight’s bug-filled land of Hallownest—rests the carcass of something ancient. Draped around the […]Read more "Dream No More: How Hollow Knight’s Story Mirrors the Myth of Prometheus"
My favorite moment in Hollow Knight came about a quarter of the way through my forty hour playthrough, when I descended through the Fungal Wastes and found myself in a giant pit at the center of a hidden village. Three mantises—for Hollow Knight’s kingdom of Hallownest is a land of insects and bugs—sat on tall wooden […]Read more "You Might Have Missed: Hollow Knight"
A game’s qualifications for this loosely-defined series of mine usually begin and end with my belief that not enough people have played it. And while Rune Factory 2 is far from an indie game, I doubt the cross-section of audiences that enjoy both intensive dungeon crawling and Harvest Moon-style farming-and-relationship simulators is all that large. […]Read more "You Might Have Missed: Rune Factory 2"
If you’re at all a follower of indie games, you’ve probably at least heard of Bastion—the isometric, hack-and-slash RPG from Supergiant Games that quickly after its release in 2011 went on to become one of the most popular and acclaimed indie games of all time. While known for many things, Bastion’s most distinctive component (for most gamers, at […]Read more "Bastion: Thermodynamics, Entropy, and the Physics of Fantasy"
There is no such thing as a perfect film. But, at least in my view, there are films that are in and of themselves and as pieces of their respective genres the best they could possibly be. And as you can probably imagine, I could count all of them on one hand. That’s not necessarily […]Read more "You Might Have Missed: The Handmaiden"
There has been a recent spike in interest for what people sometimes refer to as “art games”—a subgenre of gaming that includes legitimately interesting pieces like Campo Santo’s Firewatch, flawed yet thought-provoking experiments like Davey Wreden’s The Beginner’s Guide, and walking simulators of questionable intent like Dear Esther and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. But more often than not, the implications behind […]Read more "The Minimalist, Ethereal Storytelling of Hyper Light Drifter"