Demonic queer fuck ritual. Jake Clover’s Borderlands. One move to play this game.
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A U G U R by oh no problems
AUGUR, from the maker of SABBAT, is bouncing with nervous energy and demonic power fantasy. It feels like queer exultance bursting through the trappings of small town life, a life of queer/trans isolation so familiar to me: gas station, cul-de-sac, asshole cops, a house so boring and suburban there’s next to nothing worth describing in the physical sense, just zones of absence or pain–the empty living room where “no one’s ever home”, the bedroom where you cry.
I’m an average MONSTERGIRL who can absorb pizza through my huge absorbing eye. If I want, I can have a scorpion tail. Or a gatling arm. Or acid fangs. I can be a FAKKUBOI or a SEWER GHOUL. AUGUR gives me everything I need to feel like a sexy monster babe.
Monster babes are such a queer/trans thing. We’re held under such a magnifying glass in public, made to feel so huge and repulsive, that monster babes become a way to celebrate our monstrous bodies, to say, we’ll never attain the perfection society demands of us, so we’re going the opposite way, we’re monsters with scorpion genitals and drippy orifices and fat bellies and it’s cool and powerful and we love it.
My quest is to summon a demon. I have some runes. For example, GUTS gives me “the power to manipulate guts”. You can find more runes. They’re inside people. That’s the fun part.
Tandoor by Jake Clover
Jake writes: “This game started out being inspired by Borderlands. I wanted to make a game based on what I liked about Borderlands and what I thought it was going to be like…I thought after getting through the arid badlands I would have finally got to a big free-roam area across a giant salt lake or something. But that never happened in the game. So that’s where the idea for this game came from although there is no point to anything and it’s endless, it’s turned out very different from the original idea.”
There is an entire button dedicated to lying on the ground and staring up at the sky. Blue sky, in contrast to the harsh orange dirt, with little specks streaking through the clouds. Birds? Distant spacecraft?
But even this relative calm is marred by an ominous droning noise. Everything is uncomfortable, so you circulate unpleasant experiences, substituting variety for reprieve.
Feels broken aesthetically and systemically. One time I couldn’t get inside the building to get the shotgun. Other times I’d be walking around and glitches would flicker for a half-second. Not sure how much is coded to break or just allowed to fail on its own.
The draw distance is weird. Resolutions are fucked up. You can see the edges. I assert that a game does not become better and more gamelike the more seamless the experience is. Instead it becomes less gamelike, less assertive of the physicality of a world built from machine language. This broken game is intensely gamey.
gam·y (of meat): having the strong flavor or smell of game, esp. when it is slightly tainted.
Clover’s games are spoiled, poorly preserved, they flare my nostrils. I am the kind of animal that eats this meat.
Harvest bottles from endless grungy bathrooms. Trudge toward gigantic teal creatures in the horizon, a seemingly unattainable goal. They look like feral AT-AT walkers. Shoot bandits and crocodiles with your shotgun.
The experience crystallizes around the gun. In a landscape both boring and alien, in the banal chaos of this broken wasteland, the gun is where you get some kind of agency, the power to blow bandits into crumpled heaps of blood to make yourself less bored. Their faces look like insectoid rat skulls. They make a really great yelp when they die.
The Blind Hunter by Jord Farrell
Hunting and being hunted in the dark.Your steps are echolocation, revealing the outline of the level even as they tip off scary hunters to your location.
The only thing you can see of your hunters is their steps. If you have an arrow, you can fight back. But if your prediction is wrong and your arrow misses, you’ll have to go and get it. You can also sprint, the panic option.
Rude Bear Resurrection by Alex Rose
You’re a bear exploring a labyrinth of spikes with other bears (it’s multiplayer). You get one life, although you can play again later after a certain cooldown.
The point is, you should die thoughtfully. Like in Dark Souls, you can guide or mislead others with your death message. Unlike Dark Souls, you’re a bear that people can step on to reach new locations.
Bad Dream: Butcher by Desert Fox
The adventure game clickfest never felt more sadistic, like scavenging through a room full of mousetraps, although [SPOILERS] you can apparently get an ending without personal injury. I appreciate how the ending doesn’t lead to a generic escape from whatever place you’re in, but instead reveals that your task is the illogical, painstaking labor of a bad dream. The outcome is not to escape horror, but to perform as just another one of the creepy denizens trapped in this place.
Relies on jump scares, but I was way more unsettled by the creepy ambiance than anything else. The environments are sketches fading into nothingness, glimpses between a fog of blank paper, and the sound effects are realistic and eery. When the aural atmosphere is richer and more gruesome than the environment, it creates an uneasy feeling of clouded vision.
My only qualm is that moving around the minimal dreamscape could be easier. The sequel wisely adds navigation arrows, but I like this one better (and I couldn’t figure out the sequel, I got to the part where you fuck up a tombstone and ???).
Sorry About Forever by Devon Baumgarten
My browser lagged for a second when I made my first jump. I died immediately. That’s my story. I’m the best.