Indies for the weekend

2024-01-26 by Callum Andrews

Jolly Laughter

After spending a month playing the games in the Pixel Pulp series, I found myself craving more. Especially after finishing the last game, Bahnsen Knights. I went on a search for more games from the developer LBC Games, hoping to satisfy my need for their strange and bizarre story-heavy visual novels.

Luckily, my search was fruitful and I was able to find two more games developed by the studio. And they certainly did not disappoint.

After playing this, I'm still not entirely sure what it is. For this article, we'll refer to it as a very short visual novel - even though the developers describe it as an interactive postcard. If you're familiar with LBC Games' previous work, you'll know to expect surprises when playing any of their visual novels. This is certainly the case here.

The character you play will seem familiar right from the start. However, as the story progresses, you'll begin to question whether it's that character. Almost the entire story takes place in the character's mind, as they try to figure out how they ended up where they are. The twists and turns are subtle, but once you reach the conclusion, you'll be able to appreciate the special twist that LBC Games has provided for this character.

The visual novel isn't too long - it takes about 30 minutes to complete - but it's definitely worth the time.
Game Link

Shark Riders

I am often amazed by the human mind and its ability to create such incredible works of art in various forms of media such as games, movies, and novels. While it's commonly said that children have the most vivid imaginations, I believe that adults can match and even surpass them in this regard, as evidenced by the works they produce

I've been somewhat in awe when playing some of the Pixel Pulp games, especially Bahnsen Knights for its bizarreness and now this one. How someone can come up with a premise for what happens in these games is truly beyond me. Even the premise for this one is wild. Which states:

"Two brothers on a raft, a gorilla head, a great white shark and hallucinogenic cactus spines."

If this doesn't pique your interest, then I don't know what will. You take on the role of one of the two brothers who are on a mission to capture a great white shark. The why is never explained as at one point even the main character in the story is questioning their actions. The proceedings are standard fare for a Pixel Pulp game where you follow along with the story and make various choices when presented to you. Like the other games it has several endings and which one you get is decided by the choices you make.

The game was made during 14 days for a game jam and might not have the same type of polish as the three main entries in the Pixel Pulp series but it still deserves to be played. My only main gripe with this one is that it lacks any sort of music or ambient sounds that the other games had. Still worth checking out though.
Game Link

How we know we're alive

Yeah, this is actually the title. Quite a mouthful but it definitely gets you thinking especially after you finish the game. Now this is not a title from LBC Games but from a Swedish developer called Motvind Studios. The main reason for this pic is that I ran out of games made by LBC Games (I really hope this gets corrected soon and they put out a new game soon) and the title caught my eye.

This title was definitely something else and I can already tell that it's going to be one of my top titles that I've played for this year. This was truly such an experience that I didn't know how to feel once I finished this game.

You are put in the shoes of Sara, who is back in her hometown of Härunga, Sweden to investigate the death of her best friend with whom she's been estranged for years. During her stay, Sara will meet with several of the locals who she remembers from her past and try to figure out the circumstances around her best friend's death.

The game is presented in a pixel-art art style, however not the grainy type of pixels some of us are more used to but rather more of what I would describe as "polished" pixels. It's quite nice to look at and the developers have succeeded in conveying what a small town in Sweden might look like. The music in the game is so amazing that it can be listened to as a background sound while working or studying. It effectively sets the mood and emotion that the game intends to communicate.

It's not too long taking just around the hour mark to finish, it's a game that deserves to be played by all indie-game fans. While it might start out as what seems to be an investigative story it surely won't end that way and will leave you in a state of surprise. Do yourself a favour and check it out.
Game Link