itch.io Bundle For Racial Justice & Equality


Recently itch.io put a CTA to developers using the platform. The plan was to put together a bundle of games and asset packs available on the store, raise funds to be split equally between the NAACP Legal Equality and Education Fund, and the community bail fund. The response to the project has been phenomenal with over 1300 creators contributing over 1700 projects and over $8M being raised for these charities. This is a huge number of things to browse through and a daunting task, so I've compiled this list of some of the projects that have stood out to me as a starting point for looking at the bundle.

If you haven't come across itch.io yet, it is a platform and store front specifically for indie developers. Launched in 2013, there are now over 140,000 items available on the store. One of the big draws to the store is the revenue split, where creators have more control versus other store fronts, initially itch.io would take a 0% revenue share and in 2015 introduced an open revenue sharing model where creators can set the split anywhere between 0% and 30% at their own discretion, rather than being subject to unfair fixed revenue models. The platform also has an interesting pay what you want (PWYW) model. This allows creators to set their minimum item price, be that free or paid, and allows buyers who feel the item is priced lower than it deserves to give additional funds during the payment phase, for example if a game costs $4.99 but you think it shows a lot of promise, you can pay more than that, or after downloading a free item you could process a purchase for it.

This bundle has posed itch.io with a number of challenges. The platform has never been set up to automatically add purchases to your library, as bundles of this size would not otherwise be sold on the platform. Due to the massive response the site even had to be taken offline for a period shortly after the bundle launched to allow a server upgrade to take place. The developers of the site are also looking at other improvements they can make, such as improved filtering and an option for bulk addition of items to your library. This bundle contains a wide range of items including games, asset packs, TTRPG rule sets and game soundtracks. I've looked through a number of these and have picked out some of the projects which caught my eye. It should be noted that whilst there are a lot of unknown projects in the bundle, it does include some well known games such as Celest, Oxenfree and Minit. For the purposes of this article I will be focusing on the less well know projects.

Kenney's Game Assets 1

My first pick isnt a game, but a really good quality asset pack.  I first came across assets made by Kenney with a number of building sets which he made available for Parkitect.  This pack curates more than 20,000 assets created by Kenney ranging from sprites and audio files to 3d models and even some source code for use with the Construct game engine.

One of the standout aspects of the work by Kenney is that these assets are provided with a public domain (or CC0) license making that you can use them 'out the box' in your own projects without worrying about licensing.   The range of assets available is extremely wide and will allow you to quickly create scenes including race tracks and side-scrolling world's, simple menus using an icon set, isometric tile sets and even some particle effects.

Whilst this pack normally sells for $9.95, it should be noted that all of these assets are also available for free from Kenney's website, but this pack helps to fund development of further packs and also takes some of the pain out of the process of hunting for assets that work well together.

Kenneys Asset Pack


Mewnbase

Mewnbase by Cairn4 is actually a game I purchased on itch.io a while back, even before it had it's release on Steam.  The game is a 2D base building survival game.  Your character is a cat in a spacesuit, which has a number of customisation options, which finds itself on the surface of a distant planet.

The gameplay loop is fairly simple and as you would expect for this sort of game - explore the world, gather resources, craft tools, expand your base and manage your stats including hunger, suit power and oxygen.

The planets are randomly generated meaning that you can replay the game a number of times and have a different experience.  The developer has also added a number of features since the game was also launched on Steam.  These include a chemistry module, expanded power options and, most recently, a creative mode where you can build without worrying about the survival aspects.

It's been a while since I've loaded this one up but you can read my review from just before the release here.  The name normally details for $5.

Mewnbase Screenshots


Odd Realm

Odd Realm from Unknown Origin Games is a topdown colony management simulation game.  Inspired by the likes of Dwarf Fortress you will start with a small group of settlers and some essential resources with which to establish a new colony.

You can choose from a variety of procedurally generated biomes (desert, taiga, voidland, tundra and tropical) to start in, which each come with their benefits and hurdles.  You also have a number of playable races available to you (human, ancient, ardyn, ghdir and tomak) which each have their own perks.

There are over 100 items to discover and over 100 buildable blueprints for props, plants, trees and platforms.  The game will take you time to get to grips with, particularly when trying to build or mine on multiple levels, but the payoff and sense of achievement when you have managed to build a village, or even a castle, is worth it.

In addition to building you also need to look after the needs of your settlers so that they will have children, allowing you to expand your colony into a kingdom.

Again, I've not loaded this for a while but you can read my review from the early access launch of the game here.  This one normally retails at $10.

Odd Realm Screenshots


Fossil Hunters

Fossil Hunters by Reptoid Games is an action-adventure game where you discover fossils and rebuild them.  The premise is that you are a fossil hunter who has travelled to a remote dig-site to discover some incredible fossils.

You will adventure through caves and tunnels to discover fossil fragments.  These are part of a modular building system and act like puzzle pieces, allowing you to build a bigger picture of the creatures which once roamed the planet.

Discover treasure, secrets and uncover the mystery of what happened to the fossil hunters who came before, either alone or with up to 3 friends in local 'couch' co-op.

I'll be reviewing this in more detail soon.  The game normally retails at $14.99.

Fossil Hunters Screenshots


Dry Drowning

Dry Drowning is an interactive thriller visual novel.  Follow the story of private investigator Mordred Foley as you try to find the truth about gruesome murders.

The game is set in a futuristic dystopia called Nova Polemos.  This universe is populated with unscrupulous and ambiguous characters, puzzles and unexpected turns of events.  Explore the 150 story branches and find the 3 different endings.  With the choices you make shaping the story, and essentially determining the outcome, there is great opportunity for replaying the game, with approximately 20 hours of content if you want to find everything.

Visually the game is reminiscent of Blade Runner with a 2 hour soundtrack to match.  The game does carry a warning that the story is dark mature in nature so you might want to play this one with the lights on.

Again this is one I hope to visit in more details.  This one normally retails at $19.99.

Dry Drowning Screenshots


And with that, we've reached the end of this whistlestop tour of some of my personal highlights from the bundle.  If you've bought the bundle and have found any gems that I've missed let me know either in the comments or by dropping me an email and I'll check them out.

itch.io Bundle For Racial Justice & Equality itch.io Bundle For Racial Justice & Equality Reviewed by Parcival on June 15, 2020 Rating: 5

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