Indies for the Weekend

2022-12-30 by Mike Alexander


Kinoko is a short and sweet indie game with beautiful visuals. As the titular Kinoko, a forest spirit, players will make their way across a forest to wrest its beautiful greenery from the grips of an icy winter. Doing this entails doing the same three actions over and over, but the placement of those actions is typically interesting and even occasionally difficult to find, and the environments you explore and watch spring to life are absolutely gorgeous.
Quiet, dead forests buried under snow transform into a lush, green wonderland as you complete your objectives. Towards the end, the adorable woodland creatures and other spirits of the forest will join you and convey their gratitude with a heart icon that is displayed over their head. There’s nothing like knowing your work is being appreciated.

The character design of Kinoko is also worth noting. The character is interesting, and the added visual of holding its witch-like hat down as it runs is a fantastic touch that adds a lot of character. It certainly made me smile.

Unfortunately, the keyboard and mouse support for Kinoko seems to be a little finicky, and using a controller to play similarly took some getting used to, but it was all worth it for this roughly 10- 15 minute experience.
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What Lives Below

Do you remember Shadow of the Colossus? It was probably one of the defining games of the PS2, and it definitely pushed that hardware to the limit back in the day. Well, SotC seems to have inspired more than a few game developers with its unique gameplay formula, including one that goes simply by steb on (@st3bongo on Twitter).

His prototype, called What Lies Below, is an incredibly impressive concept for a game that mixes the all-boss battle, no-fluff game design of SotC with a sense of dread that is summoned when giant monsters arise out of the roiling waves of the ocean.

Armed with a few different types of harpoons, a fire extinguisher, and your resolve, you will take down five increasingly terrifying monsters as you simultaneously try to steer a boat to be in range yet out of harm's way. Managing the boat while taking potshots at monsters that are actively fighting back can get hairy, but that’s all part of the fun.

In a few words, What Lies Below is fantastic, and we really hope steb is able to turn this already fully-featured prototype into something more one day.
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No Snake Hotel

If you’ve been exposed to the gaming side of TikTok or YouTube over the past year or so, you’ve likely encountered the likes of Choo Choo Charles. That monstrous, spider-legged creature is the product of Gavin Eisenbeisz, the solo indie game developer behind Two Star Games.

While Choo Choo Charles continues to haunt your dreams, Gavin also has another nightmare- inducing game you might like to check out. It’s called No Snake Hotel, and it is a game with a concept that is absolutely dedicated to its concept… all the way up to the very end. The game will take you roughly five minutes if you take the time to explore the floor of the No Snake Hotel you are given and carefully read all of the hilarious notes scattered about, but you could also speedrun this game in probably less than a minute if you really wanted to.

That's… about it. The game looks fantastic, it’s got a great sense of humor, and it ends with a bang (and a hiss). We won’t spoil the game for you here, you should really go check it out, but just take a look at how foreboding this hallway is!

Game Link