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Capsule Review: the static speaks my name

A brief and fairly pointless first person game where you play the last ten minutes or so in the life of a deeply and cartoonishly disturbed person. You can piece together the rough outline of what’s going on through environmental clues and then decide whether it ends with a suicide or a murder suicide, but there’s so little context that the game doesn’t really seem to be saying anything - it’s just putting you in a disturbing situation for the sake of doing so, and not a particularly realistic one.

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Capsule Review: Tearaway

A charming collectathon platformer in a papercraft world. There’s a light tone, a strong sense of adventure, and an emphasis on creativity and self-expression resulting in a very similar mood to its creator’s previous work, Little Big Planet. You’re occasionally tasked with designing aspects of characters or the environment and can create your own decorations to place on the player character.

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Capsule Review: Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword

A 3D brawler with light RPG elements and precision-demanding combat. You play as a samurai in feudal Japan, rendered with a distinctive cartoony style. The story is pretty light - you are literally tasked with rescuing the princess - and most of your time is spent fighting through various enemy arenas.

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Capsule Review: Kick & Fennick

A sidescrolling platformer a boy (Kick) and his robot buddy (Fennick). You play as the boy using a large gun both to shoot enemy robots and to navigate levels by throwing yourself around with the gun’s recoil. This central mechanic is promising but doesn’t seem to go anywhere interesting (and was almost certainly done better in No Time to Explain).

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Capsule Review: Right Click To Hack

Made for a game jam, this is a short and unpolished 3D puzzle platformer in which you must control several robots with different abilities and use them together to progress. The title references the game’s signature mechanic - any robot you have line of sight on can be taken over by right-clicking on it, so you must position the robots and use their abilities in turn.

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Capsule Review: Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt

A cute little (less than an hour) bullet hell rendered as an old-school RPG with minimalist plot, graphics, and sound. As Princess Remedy, walk across the towns and dungeons of Hurtland, gathering powerups and healing everyone you come across. Healing mode is a quick single-stick shooter (you continually shoot the direction you last moved in).

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Capsule Review: Murasaki Baby

A one or two hour puzzle platformer starring a slightly monstrous little girl who wakes up in a gently nightmarish world and tries to find her mommy. The game’s atmosphere excels with visuals (reminiscent of A Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Gorey), music, and sound that are somehow both adorable and off-putting, warm and yet disturbing - appropriate for a world filled with a child’s fantasies and fears.

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Capsule Review: Emily is Away

A lightly-interactive story about half an hour long, told in the format of a series of AIM conversations between high school and then college students in the early 2000s. If you’re in the right demographic segment, this game is a dose of nostalgia. Either way, it’s frustrating - you make some choices, but other things are decided for you.

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Capsule Review: Little Party

A twenty-minute game about being a parent. You play as a mother occupying herself and occasionally checking in while her daughter hosts an all-night art party. Mechanically, interaction is limited to walking around and hitting spacebar to interact with certain prompts - primarily, talking to the kids. This is surprisingly effective in putting the player in Mom’s mindset, as she’s surrounded by interesting activity but is mainly on the outside, and can choose to what degree she wishes to try to insert herself.

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Capsule Review: Oxenfree

An adventure game with a light horror setting - you play as one of a group of teenagers who must survive the night on an island despite the interference of hostile ghosts and some other twists along the way. The main draw is the game’s experimental mechanics - many puzzles are solved by tuning a radio, but more notable is the live conversation system.

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