Itch.io bundle for racial justice and equality: Odd Realm and As We Know It

I wrote about this bundle in my previous post, but the bundle for racial justice and equality is still available for a few more days and it’s almost doubled in items now: 1428 items are in it now. One thing is clear: With that many items, everybody who loves games will find at least one game that they like or even love! But it also means that it’s almost impossible to go through all of them one by one deciding which game to try out first…

“All proceeds will donated to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Community Bail Fund split 50/50.”

I already highlighted Dorfromantik. This time, it was a bit more difficult to choose one. I started with Interstellaria, but gave up again quickly. I’m not saying it’s a bad game! I didn’t play it long enough to even get a quick first impression. I had changed the music to “mute” in the settings, but when I started the game, the music was there. This was annoying because I did want to hear the game sounds, but not music, as I was playing while watching a gamer stream on Twitch. So that is the only reason it’s out. The description does sound interesting, though, and I’ll take another look at some other time.

Then there is As We Know It, a visual novel. I thought I wasn’t in the mood for such a game at the moment. But just after deciding not to give it a try now, I actually loaded the game and couldn’t stop playing/clicking. It’s not gotten many reviews on Steam, but 9 out of 10 are positive. If this doesn’t sound promising…! The screenshots also show a very clean and easily readable UI which is very much appreciated after looking at Interstellaria and Odd Realm – the game I did choose to point out here in a bit more detail first. Odd Realm is a very pixely building game. Steam shows it as an Early Access title and when you start the game, only two races are playable so far. I went with the boring humans because they’re usually the easiest and that’s good when I’m just starting to learn a game.

You can choose where to settle on your map. After that, it starts as games like this usually start: You need to collect resources and build rooms for your settlers to live in. The graphics first suggested it could be a shallow game – because, well, I just thought it looked like a non-complex game. But the more I saw, the more I realized I was wrong. For example, each settler has specific perks and behaviors, so paying attention to that will help you optimize your settlement. You don’t just build a room or a building, but can choose which material to use for the floor, the walls, the roof,… I admit, I have no idea if I built the first house correctly. Probably not, as it may be too small for the amount of beds I put in. I wanted to have something for all settlers to live in until I have the resources to build something more comfortable for everybody. The second thing I placed was a room for a well, so that the settlers would have enough water without having to carry some from the river all of the time. I admit, this is about everything I have seen so far. But the glimpse I got was a very positive one and I will check it out again once I can focus more on it.

And now on to As We Know It. I did say that I thought I wasn’t in the mood for a visual novel, right? Here I am, clicking further and further into the story. I am not going to put any story spoilers here. Just the very beginning: You play as a young woman who went into some kind of underground bunker community. Some people have been born down there and have never been to the surface. Our main character comes from the surface, though, where life is apparently very hard and dangerous and she constantly had to check for upcoming storms.

“A heavily branching visual novel, featuring love, friendship and life-sim elements in a future destroyed by the sun.”

I am not sure how heavily branching it is, but I have been allowed to make some choices like staying in bed or getting out to get some coffee. While I was out there getting coffee (I couldn’t have chosen anything else… because… coffee!), I met a guy and had a short conversation with him. Now, I don’t know if that will make a difference later, but for the storytelling itself, it probably does, because had I stayed in bed, I don’t think I could have met him…

My PC mouse is also a bit annoying as it sometimes double-clicks even when I only clicked once. This leads to conversation lines disappearing immediately. But the game has a history window where you can read everything that’s been said so far. Also, in case you’ve forgotten what somebody said to you before, you can just scroll back to read it again.

The story itself is still a bit of a mystery, because I only try to get an impression on the general setting before choosing whether to get a visual novel. In this case, Ashlynn and her mother are now underground and are trying to fit in with their new environment. They will both have to find a job they can do in their new home. At the moment, I am really curious where the game is headed with its story. Altogether, it seems like a really well-done game with lots of polish and I probably would have bought the game if it hadn’t been in the bundle – and if I had known about it before!

So that’s three more games that look promising. Out of so so many more. But thankfully, I’m quite picky when it comes to games, so it’s not actually that many that I want to try and play!