Bernband offers a simple pleasure. Namely, the pleasure of wandering around a strange alien city with no purpose whatsoever. You don't get to shoot anything, there are no complicated puzzles to solve, nor can you enter into personal relationships with said aliens. You just walk. It's a remarkably uncomplicated game, which is fine because it only takes about 30 seconds to download , and it's free as well.
Developed by a bloke named Tom , Bernband is set in the city of 'The Pff', which is a pretty good name for a city. The artificially pixellated aesthetic is a bit nauseating at first, but once you get your bearings (and adjust to the hypersensitive mouse speed) then it's an oddly hypnotic experience. At first the city of The Pff seems like a pretty drab and linear affair, but eventually you find whole nightclubs worth of aliens, and it's really quite nice to watch them mingle.
Adding to the sense of place is how minimal the interface is - there is no welcome or menu screen. Instead, when you boot up the game you're unceremoniously plonked in The Pff with no guidance. You have as little sense of direction as the silent NPCs you'll encounter. You might as well be one of them.
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Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.