Here come 10 short stories from the makers of The Red Strings Club

A lady drives her car and contemplates skeletons
(Image credit: Deconstructeam)

The Red Strings Club creator Deconstructeam has compiled ten "short games about life" as part of next month's Essays on Empathy.

Coming to Steam on May 18th, Essays brings together nine of the Spanish studio's more experimental shorts from the developer's backlogs—games about transhumanism, stolen skeletons, abusive relationships, dark rituals, and bookstores. Most of these have been available on places like Itch for a while, but come to Steam as part of a complete collection.

They're joined by a brand new game, De Tres Al Cuarto. Exclusively available via Essays, it's described as a deckbuilding comedy game about two comedians putting together a set. Deconstructeam itself sees it as a kind of return to form after burning out over the pandemic, penning a game that explores the "struggles and pleasures of the not-so-successful creative life."

I haven't gotten around to most of these games on their lonesome, though they each take a swing at often-heavy subjects with beautiful artwork and narrative flair. The one I have played, The Bookshelf Limbo, was a surprisingly powerful (and painfully relatable) short about the awkwardness of buying presents for your dad.

The collection's website offers a brief explainer on where the dev was at when developing each game, plus insight on the development process. The full Essays promises even more, with sketches, notes, and a mini-documentary created for the collection.

Natalie Clayton
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.