Indie Itch Newsletter – Volume 1

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By Josh Nichols on May 7th, 2021

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Itch.io is an indie-fueled website that allows users to sell and download games. It’s a particularly popular platform for several reasons, including the ability for developers to allow users to utilize a ‘pay what you want’ model, which makes it easier to try out games while also supporting developers as much as they’d like to. This is partially why new developers choose to use Itch.io when they’re first starting out. The platform has become associated with creativity and innovation over the years as a result.

Game jams, lower percentage cuts on profits, and making it easy to participate in bundles that benefit charity keep the Itch.io community equally wholesome and innovative. Users know it’s a good place to find something different and developers know there’s an audience waiting for what they’re creating. Itch.io should be on your radar if you’re interested in indie titles in any capacity, but especially if you’re looking for different kinds of experiences.

Scratch that indie itch

This article is the first in a series where I’ll search through Itch.io every two weeks for interesting games from various genres for indie enthusiasts to examine. Some of which will be free and others will be paid. I’ll provide screenshots, links, and details on the games, including brief feedback on my time with the game. It’ll be an exciting way to explore indie games while also supporting developers. The world is better with indie titles and my goal is for this newsletter to help everyone find some new indie games to add to their library.

Friday Night Funkin’

Friday Night Funkin’ is packed with content and the latest version isn’t even all the developer has planned for the unique 2D rhythm battler. The game launched on Newgrounds and Itch.io with weekly updates that continue but its recent Kickstarter was wildly successful. Despite the full version not being available yet, the current version is absolutely worth checking out. It feels like a full game even if the developer is going to deliver more.

The game features the character Boyfriend who really wants to kiss his Girlfriend. Her evil Dad is an ex-rockstar that looks like he’s a demon or a vampire. I’m not really sure what he’s supposed to be but he’s scary and has some sick riffs and vocals you need to defeat in rhythm battles. The game is controlled with a keyboard, controller, or even a DDR dance pad if you have one laying around.

You hit up, down, left, and right at the right times to sound cooler and conquer opponents as you move from stage to stage to win your girlfriend’s heart and earn a kiss. It’s a good funkin’ time and I can only imagine how great the ‘Full Ass Version’ from the Kickstarter will be. This game has very low system requirements and can even be played in your browser so there’s no excuse for missing out. You can also download it off of Itch.io, which you’ll need to do if you’re interested in the thriving modding scene. I started playing it a few weeks ago and can’t stop thinking about it. I’m either playing the game or humming along to the music, which refuses to leave my mind.

P.T.

Silent Hills looked like it was going to be an instant horror classic so it was a shame when it was unexpectedly shut down after its viral announcement. A conceptual demo for the game dropped on PlayStation 4 after the game’s August 2014 announcement. The demo was known as Playable Teaser, which was quickly shortened to P.T. by fans.

It was available to download for free until it was pulled from the PlayStation Store by Konami on April 29, 2015. Since then Playstation consoles with the game already downloaded have fetched some high prices on websites like eBay and Amazon, and for good reason; P.T. is equally interesting and unnerving.

It’s one thing for Konami to have canceled Silent Hills but it was even more puzzling when the publisher removed the ability to download a free playable demo for the game. Regardless, it’s not easily obtainable now and can’t even be redownloaded if you’ve “purchased” it already, which goes against the established norm for digital purchases on PC and console storefronts.

There is still a way to experience the unique P.T. on PC platforms though but it requires a little work and kicking a few bucks to the person who made it possible.

Artur Łączkowski created a PC version of the game and with some quality of life changes, it plays even better than the original. It’s not technically available on Itch.io anymore, likely due to Konami requesting its removal like it did with similar projects, but you can get a copy by signing up for the developer’s Patreon. There’s a link and details on the Itch.io page that provides some information but it’s essentially the same game you’ve heard so much about. The developer is working on some really interesting stuff that you can be in the loop on if you stay subscribed to their Patreon but you could also just sign up for one month (minimum of $15 USD) to receive a copy of their P.T. port. It’s more than worth the price to have access to something that’s as interesting and important to video game history. I’ve had a copy of it on my personal Google Drive since this version was released and it will remain there forever. Unlike Konami, I’ll never part with this incredible piece of horror media and video game history.

Octobug

Octobug is a short but sweet platformer about a spider named Webster. It’s fun, warm, and it looks super neat. It’s the first game from developer TinyBookshelf and it embodies what makes Itch.io so special.

The game’s pixel art feels like a mashup between Atari and NES games and carries humor and warmth throughout the experience. It’s available for only $3 and it’s sure to earn both your heart and the honor of multiple playthroughs.

It’s hard to imagine something as simple yet elegant getting breathing room on the crowded and cramped Steam storefront but Itch.io is where different and interesting games don’t have to fight for room under the indie spotlight.

Check out these games for something unique, different, and captivating, which is what Itch.io is all about.

Indie Itch Newsletter runs every two weeks, which gives you enough time to explore this week’s selections before the next issue arrives. Let us know what you think of the games on Twitter and if there’s any games you’d like to see us talk about in a future issue.

Josh really likes video games. Horror is their favorite but they also like other stuff.

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