Next week, we comb through the entries of the just-concluded Adventure Game Jam, but this week, we change into animals while riding a bike, we mould transhumanist clay into body implants, and we grapple, oh boy do we grapple. Read on for exactly those things. Enjoy!
Zen and the Art of Transhumanism by Deconstructeam
I seem to have missed this cyberpunk pottery game when it released in April, and I'm livid because it's a cyberpunk pottery game. Specifically, it's a game about creating implants on a big spinny wheel, implants you send to your clients to improve their social status, and other things people worry about in the cyber-era. And it's good, as you might expect from Gods Will Be Watching dev Deconstructeam, boasting a satisfying pottery system and fantastic pixel art.
Shrubnaut by Andrew Gleeson, Niilo Takalainen, Nathan Antony, Maike Vierkant
I don't know how Andrew Gleeson and co. made this lovely metroidvania in just six days, but they are obviously wizards. As a cute little astronaut, you have to explore a big alien shrubbery in search of crystals, something that's much easier, and much more fun, when you acquire a grappling hook. As well as aiding mobility, the grapple lets you shift blocks about. And where there are blocks, puzzles surely follow.
Minuteman by Jim Bruges
You don't want to be the kid that accidentally initiates nuclear war – just ask Matthew 'Hey, Whatever Happened To Matthew Broderick' Broderick. But maybe you do want to be the kid in Jim Bruges' Minuteman: an atmospheric text adventure set in an abandoned fallout shelter. Jim's use of images and sound is particularly on-point, but even the well-written text is (impeccably) stylised.
Intimate Codex by Andy Wallace
Intimate Codex is an “interactive non-linear text explorer that lets you traverse static text from a more first-person perspective”, but you could also describe it as animated story-cut up tool: the sort of thing that William Burroughs or David Bowie might have made if they were game developers. While there are sample files included, you can also add text files from your computer, which the Codex will mash up into a kind of poetry.
Shapeshifter Biker by More Mountains
Ride a bike in the desert while being chased by “angry ducks in black trucks”, in this chunky isometric-ish arcade survival game. Surviving is tough, given the number of duck-trucks and the various obstacles strewn around, but like most bikers you have access to transformation powers. Collect the power-ups and you can temporarily morph into elephants, eagles and so on, each animal possessing their own unique ability. The indie-rock soundtrack is the perfect accompaniment, too.