Every so often, we do a roundup of the best games that you can play on Itch.io. Here are three games that I think are worth your time.
I have a deep love and respect for birds. I browse YouTube and find clips of birds making noises when I feel sad. Toripon feels tailor-made for me.
In Toripon, you explore your apartment and take pictures of birds to complete your photography collection. It’s Pokémon Snap mixed with the first-person segments of Silent Hill 4: The Room, but with birds. As you fill out your collection, more rare birds start to appear in your apartment doing cute things. There are a lot of birds, with more than 40 types to find. It’s a treat.
The game has a 3D-pixelated aesthetic that works well when paired with the minimal animations of the birds. Torpipon’s attractive but straightforward art style reminds me of Proteus. While the birds move on set animation loops, it is still adorable every time they do something, such as riding a Roomba or getting angry at a cup. Additionally, the camera overlay that appears when you go into picture mode is charming. Everything about the art style and graphics are made for my sensibilities.
Music is another standout part of this game. The menu theme is a jam, and there are several radios throughout the environment playing soothing tracks to aid you in your bird journey. You can also hear the birds chirping and quacking all around you. The music and bird chirps are a calming cacophony.
If you want to feel better about your life when everything feels like it’s falling apart, let the birds of Toripon be your wings.
Release date: 12/06/2019
Time to finish: About an hour to get all the birds
Game Dev: Victoria Smith
When I was younger, I spent so much time on JRPGs. As a jaded adult, I could not imagine spending more than 100 hours completing the sphere grid in Final Fantasy X or finding all of the endings in Chrono Cross. Even with my adult responsibilities, I can find time to play an extremely polished JRPG that can be completed in less than half an hour.
Adiasis is a style-infused JRPG with an exciting combat style and beautiful art direction. The game pitches itself as an “active battle system that allows the player to avoid enemy attacks.” This inversion of the button timing systems of series like the Super Mario RPG and Shadow Hearts works surprisingly well because it makes the time spent watching an enemy into a rhythm game. Every attack against your characters becomes a tense moment of trying to respond in time. This dodge feature should be standard in every JRPG.
The UI is another standout feature of Adiasis. The combat interface takes massive inspiration from Persona 5 and translates that styyyyyyyle into a 2D interface. The level up screen is in your face, and a satisfying onomatopoeia accompanies every attack. It is a shameless rip-off, but it works so well at conveying an emotion.
The game is short, clocking in at less than 20 minutes if you are good at combat. There is barely a story or motivation for the characters beyond “destroying evil.” But, even with these limitations, the game knows to focus on its strengths. It does not overstay its welcome, and every encounter is unique. If you have a little bit of free time, you should give Adiasis a try.
Release date: 12/04/19
Time to finish: About 25 minutes (depending on how good you are at combat)
Game Dev: Albin Dahlheim
As a recent Bloodborne convert, I will take any excuse to go back to Yharnam. I was addicted to grinding blood echoes and spent so much time running around the first few areas of Yharnam. That knowledge was put to good use when playing Yarntown.
Yarntown reimagines the first few areas of Bloodborne as a 2D action game. The game converts streets and alleys of Yharnam into a flat overworld, similar to The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past. The enemies, bosses, and key locales are well-represented by beautiful 2D art.
Even with the change in perspective, I was able to apply my previous knowledge to find the critical path and secrets. I loved the secrets that Yarntown carried over from the original game, including a certain “hoonter.”
One of the most beloved aspects of Soulsborne games are the bosses and the combat system. In Yarntown, the much loved Cleric Beast and Father Gascoigne both show up to kill your character and end your runs. I’m happy to report that the strategy of rolling behind them and “punching the butt” is still useful. The rally mechanic, which allows you to attack enemies and regain health, is also in the game.
If you have any fondness for Bloodborne, you owe it to yourself to check out Yarntown.
Release date: 07/18/20
Time to finish: About 45 minutes
Game Dev: Max Mraz