Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality Catch-All

As you may already know, itch.io is running a Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality with over 1400 games and other goodies for a donation of $5. That's a bit of a bargain! But 1400 is a pretty ridiculously huge number of things to look at, where do you even start? After Rezzy suggested a new thread where we start sifting through this enormous pile, I couldn't resist.

Let us know what hidden gems you've uncovered, what's essential, what to avoid! And if you still want to get the bundle, there's still 5 more days left.

A couple of recommendations from me to start

A Mortician's Tale
This is a pretty interesting concept - a death-positive game where you play as a newly hired mortician. It's probably more a visual novel than 'game', I guess. Gameplay's divided into three sections - reading your emails, preparing the body, and funerals. The emails provide the overarching narrative, while preparing bodies and funerals are entirely self-contained. The emails also have little facts about funerals/death practices, like different cultural norms, common issues surrounding transgender funerals, or just general advice on how to help people who are grieving. The game also has a bit of a theme around small businesses, large corporations and their place in how Western society deals with death. That's a lot to pack into just under an hour of game, so it probably goes without saying that nothing is explored quite as much as it could be.

Anyway, this game made me feel something that I don't think any other game really has before. Personally, just that makes it worth a look. Should take about 40 minutes to an hour to complete, so not a huge time investment either.

Polymute
This is a really cool puzzle adventure. The visuals are very much inspired by the ZX Spectrum, but with a kind of pseudo-3D effect. It makes for a pretty unique look. You play as a wizard that can basically shape-shift into whatever forms you find. This means that gameplay is focussed on two things - a) finding forms to transform to, and b) using those forms to solve puzzles.

The puzzles are generally pretty fun, the dialogue is well written and there's a surprisingly large amount of content here. The only major complaint is that that interface is a little cumbersome and can take some getting used to.

Here is another selection LIST of aprox. 98 games made by Spencer Hayes, who works at itch.io updated with the new additions, I picked it up from Rock Paper Shotgun

A Mortician's Tale is really good. Really made me think.
Mushroom shroud. I need to change my will.

Here is another list from John Walker.

Also, some recommendations from PC Gamer.

I'll try to post my own based on games I've played when I can make some time for it.

What I've installed and tried so far:
QLRZ
"mixing & matching colors action/puzzle videogame"
First impressions were pretty good. A simple concept, easy interactions, but it definitely wants to be a mobile game. Dragging to mix colors never felt good and I have a kind of color insecurity? Without known contrast I have a hard time picking certain shades of red from certain shades of orange, blue from green, etc.
I got bored after a few levels, uninstalled and moved on.

Ecchi Sketch: Draw Cute Girls Every Day! (All Ages Ver/18+ patch)
"Cute lesbian fun in Ecchi Sketch: Draw Cute Girls Every Day!"
I started it before spotting this thread and have been clicking back and forth. Already lost several minutes to it. So far so good. I'm really digging the simple soundtrack. "Maybe this will be fun. Maybe this will be the excuse I need to meet new people." Okay, that hits home a little. Oh! It has voice acting? Neat! Oh. Oh no. Yume, I think the online friend that shares your passion for girl on girl anime is the daughter of your dad's boss that you've been asked to hang out with for the afternoon! Six screens of dialog and there have already been several clues. Will you catch on immediately or will this drag on and I'll have to yell at the screen! Let's keep clicking and find out.

Hello all, I am a long time lurker and occasional listener. I've appreciated the community from afar for awhile. Something about this bundle has made me really excited to play a bunch of games I never would have, and talk about them. I think maybe the indie spirit that pervades them all.

So, here's some words...sorry if it's too much at once. I look forward to other's impressions and will try to delurk again once in a while at least.

Jam and the Mystery of the Mysteriously Spooky Mansion - This is a short fun point n’ click adventure. It helpfully comes with a walkthrough; however if I had been in the mood to think about anything I wouldn’t have needed it. It’s silly and funny and has a great short parody of HP Lovecraft, among other bits.

A Normal Lost Phone - New to me. A neat, short, visual novel with a couple puzzles and a nice twist on where I thought things were headed. I liked it!

Signs of the Sojourner - An excellent first impression. A young woman who is learning to take over her mother’s caravan trading route after her mother recently died. The conversations she has along the way; the deckbuilding game you play to have those conversations. I have not yet explored it enough to know if it holds up, but it has received excellent reviews. Playing it with my daughter sporadically, we have already had some neat discussions about how the conversation system works and why.

Neversong - A bit of a twee opening, with a “kids tale” rhyming narration that I personally wish no games would use ever again. But that soon gives way to a neat puzzle combat platformer, emphasis mostly on the puzzle. Also emphasis on the Tim Burton feel to the world and its inhabitants. Still playing.

Planet Diver - An arcade game with great stylish presentation. Dive as fast as you can down mostly straight but sometimes just twisty enough corridors, avoiding or smashing bad things and collecting coins. Appears to have lots of levels as well as an arcade mode. I enjoyed the bit I played and will be coming back for more.

Radical Solitaire - Regular ol’ card solitaire, except with crazy colors and sounds, and if you play a card in a certain spot (helpfully labelled “Rad Mode”) you get to play breakout to change the card to a different one. There might be more but I was done there.

Rezzy wrote:

What I've installed and tried so far:
QLRZ
"A simple concept, easy interactions, but it definitely wants to be a mobile game. Dragging to mix colors never felt good and I have a kind of color insecurity?

I forgot I tried this game also, I felt exactly the same way, down to the color insecurity and everything

Ok, here are my recommendations. I hope this list does not end up being a mess. I am only listing games that I have actually played and definitely recommend if they look like something you would enjoy. I am omitting some very well known games like Night in the Woods, Celeste, Nuclear Throne, and Oxenfree.

A Short Hike: Amazing exploration game about climbing a mountain as a little bird. I was surprised at how much it hooked me and it's a very pretty game.

2064 Read Only Memories: Cool pixel art point-and-click adventure game in a sci-fi world. It focuses more on the story than on the puzzles. They've added voice acting after I played it so it's probably an even better game.

Milkmaid of the Milky Way: A relatively short point-and-click adventure with a pretty cool art style.

Wide Ocean Big Jacket: I'd describe it as a 3rd person walking sim about camping. Absolutely lovely. Touches on some mature topics, but nothing super sensitive.

Signs of the Sojourner: I'm playing this right now. It's a deckbuilding game where the card game represents dialogue or communication with other people so the outcome of the "matches" is either agreeing or disagreeing with someone else. Super interesting concept, but don't go into it expecting a combat game. It's a much more introspective game. 

The White Door: If you know Rusty Lake games, that's what it is. If you don't, it's something in between a point-and-click adventure and a hidden object game in a creepy surrealist setting. There's nothing too scary though. The puzzles are pretty good.

OneShot: An excellent puzzle RPG with a great story and multiple endings. Don't underestimate it because it is an RPG Maker game.

Hidden Folks: This is like a Where's Waldo/Wally game in black and white, with funny animations and weird guttural sounds. Really nice game to wind down.

The Stillness of the Wind: A very contemplative adventure about taking care of a farm as an old lady whose family sends her letters and tells her about a missing relative. The game will make you think about life and death so make sure you're in the right place for it. There is a day and night cycle in the game, and I played the game 2 or 3 days at a time, which was a nice experience.

Super Hexagon: A punishing infinite runner type of game where you have to dodge walls coming towards you by moving left and right. I usually hate this kind of uber hard games but this one is the exception. It is very addictive. If you enjoy it, also try Jumpgrid from this bundle.

Astrologaster: One of the funniest games I've played in recent times. You're an astrologer in the 16th century England and you decide on what advice to give to people about health, business, love, and other affairs. Your decisions will have a strong effect on the outcomes. The game features excellent voice acting and a choir that recites a verse every time someone shows up. It is also based on a true story which is really fascinating.

Golf Peaks: Cute golf-based puzzle game. It is a mobile game so don't expect crazy things, but super recommended if you like puzzles. It is not very hard.

Plunge: Very good turn-based combat roguelike. You can move in the four directions and each key press will move your character until they hit an object, while enemies telegraph their attacks and you try to avoid other hazards. You are trying to kill the enemies while avoiding putting yourself in a position where you cannot escape their attacks.

Semblance: A clever and not too hard platformer where you play as a little blob that can smash on the terrain and modify it to create platforms or clear your own path.

Octodad Dadliest Catch: A hilarious physics based 3d adventure. You control an octopus person and try to get by in your daily life. The controls are independent for each limb so you can picture how that's gonna go. I've heard it's even funnier and more chaotic in coop.

Lyne: Awesome and not too difficult puzzle game where the goal is to draw a continuous line that goes through a certain number of objects on the screen. When there is more than one type of object, you will need a separate line for each type, but they cannot intersect each other. That's where it gets tricky.

Runner 3: A fantastic rhythm based infinite runner that is not really infinite because it has levels with checkpoints and an end goal. It's more difficult than the previous 2, but at least the checkpoints do help you make progress. It's tough but fair.

2000 to 1 A Space Felony: A murder mystery walking sim in space, haveily inspired by a movie with a similar name. There's been a few other games out with a similar premise recently but this one is still worth it to me.

Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and the Terribly Cursed Emerald: A short and hilarious walking sim made by the guy who also made A Stanley Parable.

Spring Falls: A very pretty, relaxing, and short puzzle game about watering flowers. 

Glittermitten Grove: A farming game with a lot of surprises. Don't read a lot about it before playing and give it some time.

Quadrilateral Cowboy: A funny first person puzzle game about a hacking detective agency, made by Blendo Games.

Bleed 2: Fun and short 2d shooter with some clever mechanics.

And a few others worth a look: Far From Noise, Old Man's Journey, A Normal Lost Phone, Wheels of Aurelia, and Cycle 28.

Lenna's Inception: What if old-school Zelda, except the hero gets killed in the tutorial dungeon? And the game is different every time because it uses a sophisticated procedural generation algorithm to create the entire map.

Mu Cartographer: indirectly explore a weird dimension by manipulating a mysterious interface. It's the kind of thing that will appeal to the people it appeals to.

Minit: What if Zelda but your character only lives for sixty seconds? Turns out, a deep exploration game compressed into bite-sized chunks.

Sky Rogue: An arcade combat flight sim, battling your way through the skies about procedurally-generated islands.

Catlateral Damage: You play a cat. Your goal is to knock as many things off shelves as possible.

Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor: Tagged as an "anti-adventure" game, you pick up trash and watch other people go off on quests while you try to survive your daily routine.

Voyageur: Text-based one-way journey though a galaxy; think of Oregon Trail or Sunless Skies but more focused on momentary glimpses of changing societies as you travel ever closer to the galactic core.

starseed pilgrim: A puzzle game that gradually reveals new layers as you master its mechanics.

No Pineapple Left Behind: You run a school. The school teaches children. Children are difficult. You can turn them into pineapples. Pineapples are easy.

I've been going through and picking out all the TTRPG and storytelling games from the packand putting them into a separate collection for easier reference. Still only half way through (barring any new additions) and there's a couple of things in there that aren't in the pack but which i backed on kickstarter.

Currently the list is +150 titles...
https://itch.io/c/904743/indie-ttrpg-stuff

There's some really great stuff here! Thanks everyone for your contributions.

This was my selection for tonight:

The Supper
A fun little point-'n'-click. It's kind of weird, gross and touching all at the same time. A cool setting that I'd like to spend more time in. It's made by Octavi Navarro, who was one of the artists on Thimbleweed Park, so no surprises that this game looks really good. Check out their website - that's some real pretty pixel art!

Pink Stripes wrote:

Here is another list from John Walker.

As an aside, I encourage everyone to check out this site. It's John Walker's latest endeavour where he highlights new, under-the-radar/obscure indie gems.

Thanks for this thread. I was planning on making a donation somewhere and saw this bundle so figured why not even if I play few of the games. This thread will help increase the odd of me trying some.

A Lullaby of Colors (now available for Oculus Quest too)
"A blissful psychedelic relaxation experience"
Tested on Oculus Quest

It's pretty neat and what it says on the tin... some criticisms:
-the frame-rate and running resolution seems a bit low. Lots of jaggies on the geometry and the occasional stomach-tightening sensation while flying around.
-the draw distance for the bouncing spheres is shorter than the landscape (which puts you in a fog enclosed bubble already)
-each scene is 'random' which, so far, has meant different movement and color change patterns on the undulating peg floor, different speeds of the undulating cloud formations, a random background sound or simple tune, and a random 'bounce' noise for the three or four giant balls that slowly bounce around the scene.
-Running into one of the bouncing balls generates a new scene. Which seemingly also happens if a ball runs into you, so if you find a nice scene try to position yourself out of giant ball range.

Will I run this again? Yeah, probably But I wish there was a way to randomize only one aspect once you find a soundscape you enjoy. I had this lovely undulating wave pattern on the ground that was ruined by a single sustained chord background noise I couldn't tolerate.

halfwaywrong wrote:
Pink Stripes wrote:

Here is another list from John Walker.

As an aside, I encourage everyone to check out this site. It's John Walker's latest endeavour where he highlights new, under-the-radar/obscure indie gems.

Thanks! I should preface this by saying I am a patreon of Buried Treasure but I definitely recommend that people check it out.

And The Supper is another excellent suggestion!

Sagebrush - PS1-style walking sim where you investigate the aftermath of a 90s suicide cult ranch. Great atmosphere and sticks the landing amazingly.

https://redactgames.itch.io/sagebrush

Verdant Skies - Sci/fi Stardew Valley. Looks striking in motion (3D scrolling / 2D characters). Days move faster than Stardew and it feels more low-impact. There's no shortage of depth but the whole affair feels more breezy. Great characters.

https://howlingmoonsoftware.itch.io/...

Dominique Pamplemousse 1 & 2

A pair of noir claymation musical detective adventure games. All produced by one person. Singing is off key but it's infectiously charming across the board.

https://squinky.itch.io/pamplemousse

https://squinky.itch.io/dompam2

....................

This bundle is just pure insanity.

BloodBlast VR
"Cure disease at nano scale by shooting virus directly"
Tested on Oculus Quest via VirtualDesktop/SteamVR

Yes, but have we tried shooting the virus?!
It's a shooting viruses inside the bloodstream game! You stand on a platform inside a blood vessel and different shapes drift towards you. Some of them you have to shoot with a gnarly looking pistol. You are also holding a baton. With the baton you need to smack any white blood cells that try to stun you. It's.... a momentary distraction from the hum-drum day.
There are increasing levels of difficulty and a custom music track for each. The particles seem to pulse towards you rather than drift steadily. The controllers seem to be mapped to a Vive model and aiming down the sights doesn't feel quite right. There is a scope that is zoomed a click or two too high for usability. Maybe this is adjustable.
Will I play this again? I don't think so. As a gallery shooter the aiming feels off, the targets drift along, and the main challenge seems to be having to fire at each target six or seven times to actually hit the damn thing. I never felt any sense of urgency, even playing at the highest difficulty. Missing a virus just affects your final score and doesn't seem to have any impact on what's happening in the moment. I might try it again while standing instead of sitting at my desk, but probably just to see if the scope works easier that way. Sitting at the desk it felt way too twitchy trying to line up a shot.

[HTC Vive] VR Drum Studio
Tested on Oculus Quest via VirtualDesktop/SteamVR

A drum-kit sitting in a recording studio in VR.
This works pretty good. You can rearrange the pads in the space in front of you and the buttons will let you fire off the kick drum and open/close the high-hat. There's a metronome I couldn't play with because it was sitting behind my desk monitor in the space, but aside from some double-triggering when a stick passes through behind the surface of the pad it worked as I would expect a drum kit to work.

I might play with this some more when I move my lounging chair into the VR Fishing position.

Rezzy wrote:

[HTC Vive] VR Drum Studio

I tried this (or something very similar to it) when I first got my headset, and I hated it. I'm not a drummer, but I did play enough Rock Band drums on Pro Expert to feel like i could be, and the lack of tactile "bounce" in the VR drums just felt so wrong.

Jonman wrote:
Rezzy wrote:

[HTC Vive] VR Drum Studio

I tried this (or something very similar to it) when I first got my headset, and I hated it. I'm not a drummer, but I did play enough Rock Band drums on Pro Expert to feel like i could be, and the lack of tactile "bounce" in the VR drums just felt so wrong.

I can definitely see how that would impact (ha) your opinion. I never got past oh crap how does kickdrum?! On Rock and, so if I can do the badum-dum tsch I'm happy.

I ordered my copy, impressed with the amount of Mac content. Will probably make some kind of "to play" list using all the sources here.

Tonight, I played Bonbon. I think I saw it recommended somewhere. Unfortunately, I have to say, it really shouldn't be recommended. I encountered what seemed to be a game-breaking bug. I've watched Let's Plays on youtube that showed something completely different from the total dead-end that I discovered, so I can only assume that it's a bug of some kind. Add to that a very unresponsive, buggy character controller and it's a game that is more trouble than it's worth. Like, I don't mind a fair bit of jank (see my own games), but I can't even finish it without starting from the start again. A bit of a shame, given that it's one that I've seen recommended, albeit not in this thread.

In other news, this bundle has raised well over $5,000,000! That's such a huge number - it's almost ludicrous!

Can I actually access any of this stuff through the itch desktop app? I can't figure it out.

Jonman wrote:

Can I actually access any of this stuff through the itch desktop app? I can't figure it out.

As of right now, you first need to add games to your library using the website. Once you add a game to your library, you will be able to install it and run it using the Itch desktop app.

The easiest way to look at the bundle is using the link in the email you received when you purchased it. If you don't like that option, you have to go to your profile on Itch.io and you will find the bundle under My Library / My Purchases / Bundles.

pyxistyx wrote:

I've been going through and picking out all the TTRPG and storytelling games from the packand putting them into a separate collection for easier reference. Still only half way through (barring any new additions) and there's a couple of things in there that aren't in the pack but which i backed on kickstarter.

Currently the list is +150 titles...
https://itch.io/c/904743/indie-ttrpg-stuff

I've been really excited about some of these offerings - even some really simple and small stuff like the 5e Oath of the Good Traitor (basically a whistleblower paladin) is neat, and that's not even counting things like Blades in the Dark which has essentially spawned an entire mechanical tradition in TTRPGs or Lancer, which I have multiple friends who will not shut up about.

Impulse Drive is the one I've been personally digging into. It was recommended to me by a friend who is currently playing in a Star Wars game that uses it.

ECH0 looks neat. The Wretched looks neat. Our Pantheon looks like a potentially-cool pre-game tool in the vein of Microscope or the upcoming Decuma.

When my daughter naps I am looking forward to trying Quadrilateral Cowboy, Lenna's Inception (I love procedural generation) and a few others.

On the TTRPG side I have been reading Troika! Numinous Edition, which describes itself as "a science-fantasy RPG in which players travel by eldritch portal and non-euclidean labyrinth and golden-sailed barge between the uncountable crystal spheres strung delicately across the hump-backed sky."

It is an original setting, but feels like a mix of MirrorMask, Planescape, the Planarch Codex, and LSD. Also an original dice mechanic. I will probably never get to actually play test it, but there are some good setting ideas.

My $.02 contribution...

Codemancer: A delightful way to teach small children the basics of programming. It reminds me of my grade school days of using a turtle graphics program on the Commodore 64. A quick Googling suggests that might have been Logo? Anyway, I digress. Despite being designed for kids, it works as a puzzle game as well. It is also available on mobile.

Sky Rogue: Fun arcade-y low-poly flying game. I only tried a couple of the missions so far. It reminds me of Jetfighter I and II back in the DOS days.

Golf Peaks: Mini-golf-based puzzle game based on limited moves using the cards they give you. It's great - but I immediately uninstalled it and bought it for my phone instead. C'mon - they donate some of the proceeds towards animal rescue.

Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, And The Terribly Cursed Emerald It's...umm...interesting? And funny. Maybe. Probably.

I bounced off Minit and Super Hexagon, but installed a dozen or so others that I haven't gotten to yet.

dewalist wrote:

Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, And The Terribly Cursed Emerald It's...umm...interesting? And funny. Maybe. Probably.

IIRC, same people who did The Stanley Parable

Celeste is also in the bundle if you like really hard but good platformers.

Apparently they added Pyre to the bundle. I absolutely loved that game.

Mixolyde wrote:

Celeste is also in the bundle if you like really hard but good platformers.

Played it when it was on xbox live games for gold and hated it because the sound track made me want to punch things.

Two games I've played from the bundle - Cromwell - it's pointless and just gives you the same decisions over and over.

Normal Lost Phone - great interactive story that you follow by interacting with a phone.