This week, let's clamber up The Flesh Pit. And then let's play some games, featuring toast, books, first-person dungeon-crawling and lovely trees, all things that are close to my heart. Enjoy!
The National Library of Geometric Impossibilities by Nanolotl
It's a bit of a hellish library, this, given that you're completely alone, the rules of physics somehow don't apply, and, worst of all, you're expected to return a series of books one at a time. One at a time! They've invented a pan-dimensional, puzzling book repository, but they haven't invented the humble trolley, these library types. That aside, this is a nicely riddling labyrinth that asks you, a new employee, to return a big pile of books to their correct shelving. There's no music, which feels appropriate, but I could have done with a few more sound effects to really sell the emptiness and quietness of this strange location.
Dys by L.O.V.E. games
Dys is a game of first-person dungeoneering, and a pretty unforgiving one at that. There's no story gubbins to skip through, just a load of old-fashioned exploration and turn-based combat. You begin the game by building a party from some unusual, inventive character classes, each with varying stats and skills that only become apparent after you beat your first battle, and level them up. Once your team has been assembled, you're simply dumped in the dungeon, with roaming enemies to contend with that pose a serious challenge from the get-go.
The difficulty level reminded me of Etrian Odyssey, while the general atmos, odd enemies, and banging music made me think of the Shin Megami Tensei games. Combat resembles a typical JRPG, but, as I've mentioned, don't expect to breeze though any battle—you actually need to use your items and abilities here.
The Flesh Pit by Francis Coulombe
Risk of Rain devotees will have some fun with The Flesh Pit, which takes its sidescrolling, wave-based combat and adds a grisly wrinkle in the form of, well, enemy corpses. Defeat a big monster and their body will remain on the screen as a physical object, allowing you to leap up onto them, and eventually onto higher platforms, and the rest of the flesh pit. This is a game of bashing monsters with a variety of weapons, yes, but also one of tactical enemy positioning, and incremental vertical advancement.
Forests are for Trees by Ian MacLarty
They sure are, Ian, and you've crammed an endless amount of them into this little-but-huge exploration game. It doesn't actually take too long to cross from one end of each forest to the other, but as you may have guessed from my use of the word 'each' just then, there isn't just one forest for you to traverse here. There are hundreds, possibly thousands, possibly an infinite number of forest worlds, each of them accessed in an esoteric and, yes, a thrilling manner. You seamlessly pass into a new dimension by walking into a tree—it's a portal, really—which will take you to a new forest, with a new set of colours to admire. There's a magical five minutes of dimensional wandering on offer here.
The Confraternity of Toast by Dema Studios
I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to toast, which I probably wouldn't have eaten quite so much of if I had known it was alive, and part of a secretly toasty society. You'll explore that hush-hush organisation in surprising detail here, as you move from the outside of its bready headquarters to the inside, and pass the initiation required to be accepted into their number. It's a fun and silly first-person wander-'em-up, with lots of wonderful sights, most of them related to big bits of toast with giant eyes and things to say.