May 6 - 12


IMAGE(   Felix “Nun on the Run” Threepaper

Welcome folks, and happy “200th Anniversary of the premiere of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony” week!

Beethoven’s world-famous “Duh-duh-duh-duhhhhh” music premiered at a theater in Vienna on 7 May 1824. Beethoven himself was on stage, conducting the orchestra, although he could not hear it. The orchestra was actually following a second conductor, Michael Umlauf, who was also on stage. You may all celebrate by playing a game with a child where their controller isn’t turned on.

“No-AAA May” continues, and another host of indies takes the stage.

Animal Well is a combat-free Castlevanioid where you’re a cute pixelated blob exploring an underground cave system full of animals and secrets. Without the stress of combat, you’re free to focus on finding all the cool items that give you new traversal options and therefore ways to get through the screens. The trailer showed a wand that makes bubbles for you to jump on, Bubble Bobble-style. Despite the lack of combat and the haunting synth soundtrack lulling you into a sense of dreamy chill, the platforming can get quite tricky and plenty of environmental stuff can kill you. The overall effect is like staring at a sudoku through a lava lamp: meditative, but also brain-taxing.

Little Kitty, Big City is 2024’s first entry in the burgeoning “You’re a cat!” genre. Your quest is to find your way home, but where’s the fun in that? The city is a delightful open world, full of sidequests and free-roaming opportunities to make your own mischief. It’s some kind of Grand Theft Untitled Auto Goose Game.

V Rising comes out of Early Access this week. It’s a vampire survival game with a million systems to grind before dawn obliterates you: base building, crafting, combat, magic, blood types, boss fights and whatnot. There’s no XP from killing trash mobs—progression comes from finding and upgrading your gear, which ties the boss-slaying to the base-building and crafting. The single-player campaign is designed as the on-ramp to the PvE and PvP modes. V Rising is coming for Valheim’s crown and is sitting at a Very Positive rating on Steam after 2 years of Early Access.

Crow Country is third-person survival horror that’s a throwback to PS1 gaming in both presentation and gameplay. You’re exploring a spooky theme park using tank controls. There’s plenty of rummaging through trash cans, environmental puzzles, inventory tetris and keys to innumerous locked doors. When the shooting starts, you’ll stop dead in your tracks and try to pull off ammo-efficient headshots. If you don’t believe me, check out the free demo.

Imagine Earth is a planet-management sim with a focus on sustainability, unless you’re the kind of sicko who unleashes tornadoes onto their SimCities. The UI and spherical presentation of the planet look pretty slick, too. Because my main point of strategy reference is Civilization games, Imagine Earth looks to me like a Civ Rev version of Alpha Centauri.

INDIKA is this week’s most intriguing game because of its eclectic mix of ingredients. You play as Indika, a nun in 19th-century Russia. After an opening sequence of realist Dostoyevskian drudgery, evoking sad historical games like A Plague Tale, things take a turn for the surreal and suddenly you’re playing frogger. The story smooshes together genres and sources from within and without video games. One minute, three shivering nuns are huddled around a candle in the snow, exchanging gallows humour, then cut to a pixel-art minigame.

I thought I was quite happy on my Pile, but INDIKA is just crazy enough to make me sit up and at least consider heading back to New Game Meadows. GOTW.

GWJ Word of the Week

Castlevanioid: a term conjured by our very own TheHarpoMarxist, to describe Metroidvania-style games, both of themselves and in a certain sense that they do not strictly follow the Metroidvania formula. If you want more explanation of this duality, ask him. I only mention it here because I’m trying to help Castlevanioid catch on, and I have a weekly usage quota.

Here's the list, in release-date AND alphabetical order!


  • 05-07

  • 3D PUZZLE - Hospital 1
  • Abyss (Old World Labs)
  • Ariane in Paradise
  • Astral Maze: Escape The Horror
  • Atomic Warfare
  • Ball Points
  • CANDYLAND: Sweet Survival
  • Cannibal Tales
  • Climb up to the Sky
  • Duck Life 9
  • Fairway to Hell
  • Fall Words
  • Fear the Moon
  • FightGirl
  • Genome Guardian
  • Heading Out - A Narrative Road Movie Racing Game
  • Kamla: Indian Exorcism
  • Mercenary Battle Company: The Reapers
  • Mobies
  • Nancy Drew: Mystery of the Seven Keys
  • Nangol
  • Pixel Paint Together
  • Pyramid Game
  • REMOTE LIFE 2: Fearless
  • Rip-off Taxi
  • Springs of Ardor
  • The Sleeping Sickness
  • Tower Defense: Infinite War
  • Towerful Defense: Prologue
  • TRAUMA Pro Wrestling
  • Whispers in the Void
  • With My Past
  • 05-08

  • 3D PUZZLE - Pirates
  • Bison Battle Machine
  • Climbing In Barrel With Double-Barrel
  • Color Splash: Monkeys
  • Europa Universalis IV: Winds of Change
  • Fallen Seeds
  • Fighting Frontier
  • Gift
  • Go Up Bird!
  • Jump Ball Jump!
  • Level UP! Factory
  • No.9
  • Ooga Booga: Troubles in Time
  • Outrageous Alchemy
  • Parkour Legends
  • Pocket Oasis
  • Shrimpwrecked
  • Solo Leveling:Arise
  • Soul of the Forest
  • Soviet Soldier
  • Strongloween: The Escape
  • The Neurochemical Conjob
  • V Rising
  • Vagrant Moon
  • 05-09

  • 1000xRESIST
  • Animal Well
  • Asleep - Ato 1
  • Brocula
  • Chaos Battlefield
  • Cluckmech Oasis
  • Count 427
  • Crow Country
  • Cryptmaster
  • Cyberpunk Horror
  • DNA: Season 2 | Episode 2
  • Escape Peng
  • Frustration Nation
  • Hidden Vintage House Top-Down 3D
  • King Arthur: Legion IX
  • Little Kitty, Big City
  • Monster Girl Conquest Records Battle Orc
  • Mushroom Path
  • Orient on the Murder Express
  • Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle: Chomp Champs
  • Princess Knight's Mission ~ Anna's Marvelous Adventures ~
  • Prison Fights Simulator
  • QUESTSCAPE: Survival
  • Rabbit and Steel
  • Rainbow Cotton Remaster
  • Ships At Sea
  • simple fight 2
  • Sprout of Control
  • Survive (The Game)
  • The Bridge Curse 2: The Extrication
  • The Butler Did It
  • The Murder of Sherlock Holmes
  • Vampire Survivors: Operation Guns
  • WisdomGems
  • 05-10

  • Arch Rivals
  • Bang Average Football
  • Basketball VR
  • BMX Wild Run
  • Box Wrangler
  • Bug Bite Tower Defence
  • Cakefoot
  • Caribbean Crashers
  • Chambers: The Outlaw
  • Check in
  • ComplexToe
  • Cookard
  • Crying Room
  • DACHstudio Jigsaw Puzzle Box
  • Dusk Shrouded
  • Eggstraction
  • Enishia and the Binding Brand
  • Ensename a Vivir
  • Finger Fury Showdown
  • Flying High
  • Fragmented World
  • Garten of Banban 7
  • Infernal Elements
  • Iterations
  • Konkwest
  • Master Fishing
  • Moose Miners
  • Owinka Shooter 2
  • Parina's Demon Lair Adventure
  • Pickup 'N' Packup!
  • Real Dive World
  • Rosemary
  • Ruby Dreams: Immortal Promise
  • Soccer VR
  • Space Zone
  • Summer's Gone - Season 1
  • Vedmaak
  • Weekend in Waimanalo
  • You Are Peter Shorts
  • Zig Zag Jump: Fantasy Challenge
  • 05-11

  • Ports Of Call Deluxe 3D 2024
  • 05-12

  • Animal Bomb Chess
  • DNA Season 2 | Episode 4
  • Ruindog
  • tomorrow is my birthday

Xbox Series X

  • 05-08

  • Gift
  • The Prisoner of the Night
  • 05-09

  • CorpoNation: The Sorting Process
  • Crow Country
  • Little Kitty, Big City
  • Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle: Chomp Champs
  • Rainbow Cotton Remaster
  • Vampire Survivors: Operation Guns
  • 05-10

  • THE ORIGIN: Blind Maid

Xbox One

  • 05-08

  • MIDNIGHT Remastered
  • The Prisoner of the Night
  • 05-09

  • CorpoNation: The Sorting Process
  • Little Kitty, Big City
  • Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle: Chomp Champs
  • Rainbow Cotton Remaster
  • Vampire Survivors: Operation Guns
  • 05-10

  • Paper Flight - Future Battles
  • THE ORIGIN: Blind Maid

PlayStation 5

  • 05-07

  • Prison Architect 2
  • 05-08

  • The Prisoner of the Night
  • 05-09

  • Animal Well
  • Crow Country
  • Gift
  • Imagine Earth
  • Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle: Chomp Champs
  • Rainbow Cotton Remaster
  • 05-10

  • THE ORIGIN: Blind Maid

PlayStation 4

  • 05-08

  • The Prisoner of the Night
  • 05-09

  • Imagine Earth
  • Rainbow Cotton Remaster

Nintendo Switch

  • 05-07

  • Broadsword Warlord Edition
  • Skelethrone: The Chronicles of Ericona
  • 05-08

  • King Of Pyramid Thieves
  • The Night of the Rabbit
  • The Prisoner of the Night
  • 05-09

  • 1000xRESIST
  • Animal Well
  • Animals Drop
  • Battle Minesweeper Online
  • Chronicles of Magic: Divided Kingdoms
  • CorpoNation: The Sorting Process
  • Dark Fantasy Epic Jigsaw Puzzle
  • Devil Girl
  • Gearhead Karting Simulator - Mechanic & Racing
  • Gearhead Karting Simulator - Mechanic & Racing
  • Gift
  • Imagine Earth
  • LET'S THROOOW! Street Basketball Simulator
  • Little Kitty, Big City
  • Mysterious Adventure of Michael 2
  • Nazotoki Majo to Mugen no Hihou
  • O ni Taka Kororin Game
  • Pummel Party
  • Rainbow Cotton Remaster
  • Spot the Odd!
  • Summer Games Challenge
  • Vampire Survivors: Operation Guns
  • Watashi no Real ha Juujitsu Shisugiteiru
  • Ys III: Wanderers from Ys
  • 05-10

  • Hotel Hustle
  • Kinduo 2 - Frostbite
  • Mars Farming 2034
  • QUALIA ~The Path of Promise~
  • 05-11

  • Culinary Cooking Master Simulator
  • Hand In Hand
  • Hole io: Warzone DLC
  • MergeZ
  • Roman City Tycoon
  • 05-12



I was just thinking I need me a new Castlevanioid.

I discuss Indika on the coming CC, but the quick version for everyone is: GET THIS GAME. It is worth playing and something truly unique.


Pay attention to the content warnings if you need to. There's a lot packed in this game, but it handles it all gracefully.

The term "Castelvanoid" made me think of this. What will you think of next, Germany?

Indika looks potentially super interesting depending on how much horror there is actually in it. Personally, ngl, I'm very excited about Little Kitty, Big City.

It is definitely not a horror game. It does touch a lot of genres, but none of them dominate or stick around for long. I'll spoil the extent of the horror below:


There is a horror-adjacent sequence where the character is chased by doggy that is decidedly Not a Good Boi. There is a very short initial sequence, and then it comes up again later (arguably a jump scare) and is a little more involved but still not long.

There is also an extremely distressing scene near the end of the game that isn't horror per se but is certainly horrifying. The scene itself is brief and handled thoughtfully, IMO.