I have a list of games.

It is a list of games that I have not played. There is no guarantee that I will ever play these games. There is no guarantee any of these games are good. But maybe someone else will play them. Maybe someone else will discover they are good.

In this episode, 17 more games are added to the Crashbook.

60/ Against the Storm

Roguelite city builder set in a fantasy world where it never stops raining. As the Queen’s viceroy, you’re tasked with building and managing new settlements inhabited by intelligent beavers, lizards, and humans.

Crash notes: CA dropped this in the comments in the last Crashbook.

Windows | Steam Link | Unreleased

61/ Abriss

ABRISS is an atmospheric physics-destruction building game. Build structures from parts to let them crash into your targets. Unlock new parts, destroy more, witness entropy at its worst in digital-brutalist cityscapes. Build to destroy.

Crash notes: Trailer looked neat.

Windows | Steam Link | Unreleased

62/ Lake

It’s 1986 – Meredith Weiss takes a break from her career in the big city to deliver mail in her hometown. How will she experience two weeks in beautiful Providence Oaks, with its iconic lake and quirky community? And what will she do next? It’s up to you.

Crash notes: Not sure what to make of this. While it seems to be like my kind of thing – wander about town posting mail and get to know people – much of the banter advertised in the trailer sounds stilted and videogame-esque.

Windows, Xbox | Steam Link | Released Sep 2021

63/ Babble Royale

Babble Royale is an intense multiplayer free-for-all that combines word-making skill with fast-paced tactical and strategic action. Earn money and collect loot to upgrade your abilities, outrun the deadly hot zone, and outwit or outlast all your opponents to have the Last Word!

Crash notes: Looks hilarious but I also imagine stressful – it is a Battle Royale game after all. Free to Play.

Windows, Mac | Steam Link | Early Access

64/ Before Your Eyes

Embark on an emotional first-person narrative adventure where you control the story—and affect its outcomes—with your real-life blinks. With this innovative technique you will fully immerse yourself in a world of memories, both joyous and heartbreaking, as your whole life flashes before your eyes.

Crash notes: Apparently this makes you cry. Needs a webcam. (Previously linked on the newsletter’s Caught My Eye section, precursor to Crashbook.)

Windows, Mac | Steam Link | Released Apr 2021

65/ Chicory: A Colourful Tale

A top-down adventure game in a coloring book world full of vibrant characters. Use painting powers to explore, solve puzzles, make friends, and draw on anything! From creators on Wandersong + Celeste.

Crash notes: I heard good things about Chicory.

Windows, Mac | Steam Link | Released Jun 2021

66/ The Anacrusis

The Anacrusis is a four-player, cooperative first-person shooter set aboard a massive starship stranded at the edge of explored space. Team up with your friends in an infinitely-replayable fight against alien hordes to unlock perks, weapons, and new ways to play that you can share with your team!

Crash notes: I just love the screenshots. Sorry. Not sorry.

Windows | Steam Link | Released Jan 2022

67/ Sorry We’re Closed

Sorry We’re Closed is a nostalgic single player survival horror game with rich lore and character interactions that allow multiple endings. Following the end days of Michelle, explore unsettling locations using the environment to hide and survive. Use your demon gun to defend in first person.

Crash notes: Weird trailer did it for me.

Windows | Steam Link | Unreleased

68/ Scarf

Scarf is an atmospheric and emotional journey about what it means to be a hero. An adventure game mixing puzzles and 3D platforms. Explore beautifully crafted worlds and discover your true destiny with the help of a dragon-shaped scarf.

Crash notes: Although Journey was the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw this, this is much more of third-person puzzle-platformer.

Windows | Steam Link | Released Dec 2021

69/ Cantata

Choose a Commanding Officer from one of three factions. Explore, expand, and endure across campaigns set on a mysterious planet steeped in mystical sci-fi lore! Fight tactical, turn-based battles across large maps. Play with friends in local + online multiplayer. Mod the game and make it your own!

Crash notes: Trailer again. Got a vibe.

Windows | Steam Link | Unreleased

70/ Herman Electro

We combined mind-bending puzzle mechanics with a roguelike structure to create a captivating experience unlike any other. Acquire powerful supertools, conquer electrifying puzzles, discover hidden secrets, and fight for your freedom!

Crash notes: Raigan Burns mentioned this to me during one of his now rare Twitter appearences.

Windows | Steam Link | Jun 2021

71/ Chessformer

Chessformer is a grid-based puzzle platformer with Chess pieces. The goal in each level is to capture the opposing king, who is lazy and never moves, so don’t worry about losing any pieces.

Crash notes: I played the original browser version on Itch last year and loved it.

Windows | Steam Link | Jan 2022

72/ It Sleeps Below the Haar

A short exploration game, set in a secluded coastal village in North East Scotland. Explore Kellas Bay and it’s surrounding forests, caves and ocean to uncover what lies beneath the fog-covered village.

Crash notes: From the developer of short horror The Black Iris.

Windows | Steam Link | Unreleased

73/ Rogue Invader

1-Bit Roguelite Action Shooter.

Crash notes: Picked this one up from John Walker. Greyscale animations look mighty fine.

Windows, Mac | Steam Link | Dec 2021

74/ NORCO

NORCO is a Southern Gothic point & click narrative adventure that immerses the player in the sinking suburbs and verdant industrial swamps of a distorted South Louisiana. The NORCO Act One Demo is Available Now.

Crash notes: Looks swish.

Windows | Steam Link | Unreleased

75/ Gas Station Simulator

Buy an abandoned gas station and restore it to its full glory. Renovate, upgrade and expand upon the offered services to keep up with your clients demands.

Crash notes: I fear I could add every “simulator” game I came across to Crashbook. There’s a discount on GOG as I post this.

Windows | GOG Link, Steam Link | Released Sep 2021

76/ REKA

Reka is an atmospheric home building game, set in rural europe. Play as a witch, collect ingredients, craft supplies to help the locals and build + decorate your own witches cottage!

Crash notes: “Atmospheric home building game”. Little known about this right now aside from the developer’s Twitter account and a newsletter.

Unknown | Developer site | Unreleased

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8 thoughts on “Crashbook #5

  1. Oh, hey, I’ve actually played one of these! Our mutual friend AJ praised it, and I enjoyed the four or so hours I spent with it. It’s fair to say it’s a bit stilted in places but the protagonist is a warm and pleasant character I was happy to spend time with. The central tension, such as it is in so peaceful a game, resonated with me.

    My biggest issue was actually tech problems – the shadow rendering on the Xbox One X had issues that really distracted from the game’s visuals and atmosphere. I don’t normally complain about such things, but you spend a lot of time driving about and soaking in the atmosphere and vibes, and the issue I encountered hindered that throughout. I suspect it wouldn’t be a problem on PC as you can hopefully just adjust your settings.

    I also am unsure how much events vary depending on player choice, which is of course a Big Deal in games like Lake, but I don’t tend to replay games like this as my first playthrough is my head canon.

    Anyway, I liked it. Chill game with low stakes; protagonist is very well voice acted; some of the characters you meet are fun; there’s good writing in here (not the cat lady). There’s stuff to think about with this even if it’s just critiquing this rose-tinted vision of US small town life in the 1980s delivered by a bunch of Dutch developers. 😀

    I’ve also seen Gas Station Simulator via YouTube channel Let’s Game It Out. Funny videos, but did not look like a particularly good game. 🙂

  2. Shaun, you’ve omitted to name the game you’ve been waxing lyrical about – but I’ll make a tentative stab in the dark and assume it’s Lake! The trailer attracted me but not enough to make me hit up that BUY button. Then again, it’s usually peer pressure I respond to most. (I just bought Gnosia, which is really down to AJ putting a word in again.) (But then we also have Vanquish and that hasn’t had the happy ending we might have expected.)

    I guess I’m not shocked that Gas Station Simulator doesn’t look as compelling in the flesh! I think I’m not doing my job properly unless some of these games are duds 🙂

  3. Oops. I think I edited the name out… but yes, your instincts are correct: Lake!

    I, uh, still haven’t played Gnosia myself, despite both AJ and Potter talking it up a lot.

    Will we hear more about your time with Vanquish? 🙂

  4. I don’t know if I have anything exciting to say about my Vanquish time than the Twitter thread which I wrapped today. I think the only topic I could write about is how increasingly bad I am at action games. I’ll try not to blame my descent into puzzle games for it 🙂 But then I was worried about this many, many years ago back in 2011.

    I remember watching AJ play Aerobat at EGX Rezzed 2015 and realising that my terrible fumbling attempts were completely outmatched by his performance on his first game.

  5. Chicory is probably one of the best, if not the best, iteration of the classic Zelda formula I’ve played. I liked the developer’s previous game, Wandersong, a lot – it’s a creative and colorful game with a very heartwarming spin of the hero’s journey, but I have to say that I lost a bit of steam towards the end, even though it’s not a long game.

    With Chicory, that never happened. Traversal mechanics are engaging enough that getting around the world was never tedious for me, and the narrative keeps a brisk pace (and again, is very sweet). But what surprised me the most was the time I spent colouring in the world. I found myself stopping at every new (black and white) screen to paint it at least in part, often fully. Sometimes, after acquiring a new shape for the brush (optional collectibles), I’d go back to a previously coloured screen just to try it.

    Colouring the world is necessary to move around, solve puzzles, and generally to progress, but I found it rewarding as an activity in itself. I guess it made me understand what people see in those adult colouring books I never really cared for.

  6. Thanks for micro-review, Lorenzo. Sounds cool! Chicory didn’t look like much to me but the IGF nomination got buzz going again and I picked it up for Crashbook from the online chatter.

    Colouring-in mechanics can be so satisfying. I remember playing the original version of de Blob over and over again.

  7. Joel, I’d missed the wrap-up of your Vanquish twitter thread. I’m glad you made it all the way through! I also feel it’s a challenging game, and idiosyncratically so. I remember having to unlearn various habits before I could really progress, and when I tried to replay the game expecting to remember how to ride the bike I was rudely awoken.

    No reason to worry about how competent we are at certain games. There’s a piece in Eurogamer this very day from a writer arguing that Hunt: Showdown is at its best when you’re not very good at it!

  8. John Walker at Buried Treasure is talking about Heavenly Bodies and it seems like sort of my thing, an absurdist physics puzzler like Bennett Foddy’s stuff that doesn’t hate you as much, but I need to know if it’s at all playable without a controller. For comparison, you’re not supposed to play Ynglet without a controller but I 100%ed it on Too Difficult.

    (Also, I feel restrained about having left this obvious bait sitting there for so long: What even is a roguelite city builder.)

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