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TFI Friday: three new indie games to distract you from external stressors

Transference via Onde, Wobbledogs and Another Tomorrow

It's been a hot minute since we were last together, reader, and that's because I have been, as the kids say, hella busy. I've obliquely mentioned it elsewhere on the site and podcast, but in two short weeks I am emigrating, and I don't know how many of you have tried that but it turns out it will consume your life. I am aware that my journey into Ireland could be way more stressful than it is (especially because a fringe benefit of being a UK citizen is having the right to live and work in Ireland, no questions asked, no visa required), but still, I have been in need of focused distractions. Here are three new indie games to focus your attention on something other than whatever is stressing you out this week.


Onde

Who's it by? Lance, 3-50, Mixtvision
Where can I get it? Steam, GOG
How much is it? £11/€12/$14

The most chilled game of the bunch on offer this week, Onde is what you'd get if you attempted to make a game out of the concept of being in a flow state. You control a... sort of octopus? A cell? Whatever it is, it is made up of four smaller cells, each mapped to a different main button on a gamepad. These little mini-yous flit between special points on the screen where they can generate resonant notes. It's these physical sound waves that push you around a level, because, you see, you can only sit on and move along lines - you can't move independently.

So you ride sound around your 2D lineart world as notes push and pull you around obstacles, having to time when you set the sound off. It's a place which feels simultaneously natural - plant shapes and geometric crystals - and strangely artificial, like a computer trying to imagine a tree (do androids dream of etc, and so on). I also got massive Fantasia flashbacks from Onde, because it is sound given a visual interpretation.


Wobbledogs

Who's it by? Animal Uprising, Secret Mode
Where can I get it? Steam
How much is it? £16/€20/$20

I haven't played enough of Wobbledogs for my liking yet, which is to say I have spent hours trying very hard to make the most horrific dog monsters I can, and yet they still look too normal. You get a little room and a couple of basic dogs (rectangular, blue and pink) and then are let loose to go dog wild. These dogs lay eggs, and pupate several times over their lifetime, mutating more each time depending on what you've been feeding them. This takes time, but my advice is to experiment, because you are liberally rewarded with more things. Letting your dogs dig will often turn up seeds or toys to enrich their pen, for example. You can encourage or punish certain behaviour - I regret praising one of my pups for howling - and milestones will see a new dog added to your pack.

Breeding horrible little gremlins, then, is a case of stuffing one full of chicken nuggets to see how small you can make it, and then cross-breeding it with the weird black and pink crocodile one with a big tail, which you got for telling off one of the others for biting. Then, in a simulated gene computer, you can pick what the offspring will look like, and continue crossbreeding, and then generate the fertilsed egg via a cutscene featuring a huge dog statue.

Wobbledogs is science. But it's fucking weird science. Odd. Glorious.


Another Tomorrow

Who's it by? Glitch Games
Where can I get it? Steam, Itch
How much is it? £10/€10/$12

Waking up in a strange room, with no memory of where you are, how you got there, or even what your own name is, is an absolutely classic puzzle game opener. You might think it'd be a tired trope at this point, but no, I still like it, and Glitch Games have done a good version of it in Another Tomorrow. In this point and click adventure you start in a basement under a bridge, trek to a bar, rifle through a block of flats and a white rich boy mansionette... All towards a singular goal, which, in complete fairness, you can kind of see the shape of from quite early on.

But your path is littered with strange and complex puzzles, a collection of locks, numbers, shapes, and clues that in many cases just tell you exactly what the solution is, but in such a direct way that it obfuscates the answer. You have to get into the right headspace for Another Tomorrow: aha, this is how this is going to work, is it? A lovely addition here is you're given a camera, so you can take photos of the clues or puzzle solutions that are several rooms away from the thing they unlock and then look at them later. It's an unbending on the part of the devs that I really appreciate. There's a robust and generous hint system, too, but I promise that if you devote the time required to figure things out on your own, it's way more satisfying.


P.S. Because the last time I mentioned this people were very kindly concerned: RPS has agreed to keep me gainfully employed even when I'm in a different country, so you'll still be subjected to my terrible takes.

About the Author

Alice Bell avatar

Alice Bell

Deputy Editor

RPS's dep ed. Small person powered by tea and enthusiasm for video game romances. Send me interesting etymological facts and cool horror games.

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