This is something that a few of you may have seen before, but if there’s anything we’ve learned from bumbling around the internet for… geez, it’s been nearly 30 years now, it’s that most things could always stand to have a few more eyes looking at it. So it is with Cab Ride.
Cab Ride is a free itch.io project that uses the Pico 8 engine. It gives you a first-person view from the engine car of a train as it travels between procedurally generated stations, and plays jaunty chiptune music. It’s a game only in the barest sense. It does rate you on how well you stop at each station. There’s no penalty for doing badly, and no conclusion. From the title screen you can activate Very Chilled Mode, which disables what little scoring it has.
The down arrow key (a little unintuitively) increases the throttle and increases acceleration, while the up arrow decreases. To play normally, you want to stop when you’re close the platform (when the number in the upper-left is as close to 0 as you can get it), then open the doors with Z. If you’re playing with a controller, that button may be different. Press X (when playing on keyboard) honk the horn, which is not required for anything. You can hold the left arrow key to announce the last station, which is the only in-game way to conclude a session, or right arrow to active “Express Mode,” which basically runs itself (but won’t stop to pick up or drop off anyone).
“We scour the Earth web for indie, retro, and niche gaming news so you don’t have to, drebnar!” – your faithful reporter
Found on Nintendo Everything and reported by Brian, the Wii shop channel is back online after an absence of months. It had been down for “maintenance.” Mind you, it’s still impossible to buy software that hadn’t been purchased before 2019. It’s still just a way to reacquire things you had already bought. Sigh.
At NintendoLife, Alana Hauges reviews Square Enix’s remake of the classic Japan-only JRPG anthology Live-A-Live, which I’m given to understand is pronounced like “Lighve Alive,” with long-I sounds. It’s been given the Octopath Traveler treatment, with pixel art akin to the original game placed in a 3D environment. It’s structured like a collection of short stories, all greatly different from the others. I have experience with the original game, and it contains several extremely interesting sections, including a space mystery, a Wild West puzzle segment, and a hugely complex and interesting ninja infiltration scenario where the player has to make many choices that each affect the outcome. While in the end all of the stories are linked together, on their own each is a small complete game in its own right. It’s long been a shame that the game as been unknown outside of Japan, and I’m excited to see it getting a chance elsewhere.
CBR’s Zachary Pilon rhetorically asks, why are roguelikes so popular? WHY INDEED IT IS AN MYSTERY. (Note: rodneylives spent like four years writing about them back at GameSetWatch.)
At The Verge, Andrew Webster states that the Playdate’s launch was a unique opportunity for small dev. People who bought the device have access to a number of games released periodically in a “season,” but software can also be loaded onto the system separately, and itch.io has an active community of these developers.
itch.io is becoming quite famous for its bundles, where you can contribute money for a great cause and pick up a large number of great indie games at the same time. Past bundles have raised millions of dollars in support of Black Lives Matter, to help Palestinians, to aid LGBQTIA causes, and to help alleviate the plight of the Ukrainian people. If you’re hard up for cash you can donate the minimum, but if you have the means then please consider donating more than that?
A current bundle is especially important, the Bundle for Abortion Funds, to provide funds to women to travel to abortions-friendly states in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s disastrous decision concerning a woman’s right to choose All proceeds are going to The National Network of Abortion Funds‘ Collective Power Fund. As of this writing the bundle still has about seven days left to go, but please don’t put it off for too long!
Of particular note, when you purchase a bundle on itch.io like this, by default the games will not be immediately put into your “library.” Being in your library can result in getting extra email and making it difficult to keep your bought games organized. When you load the page of a game that you’ve bought in a bundle, if it’s not in your library yet, there should be a notice at the top of the page to include it.
I have sometimes noticed, however, the notice not appearing, and generally I prefer to have it all in my big big list. If you’d rather just go ahead and dump them all into your main itch library, for instance to make it easier to use the itch.io app to automatically maintain and run your games, there is a Greasemonkey script you can install to do that. You’ll need Greasemonkey on Firefox, or Tampermonkey on Chrome, to run it. You can also use the website Bundle Browser to explore it, and see which games it has that you might already own.
Franken has made the internet rounds the past few days, being praised by Derek Yu and Video Game Dunkey. I was pointed to it by our own Kent Drebnar, the one-celled gaming organism who does news posts for us. It’s a free and short and free JRPG styled thing up on itch.io. It’s inspired by Final Fantasy VI, For The Frog The Bell Tolls, Moon, and Grow RPG! It’s made with OHRRPGCE, itself a fun, quirky and free RPG creation program.
It’s not really so much as game as a humor delivery mechanism and strongly-guided system of battles. There’s only one choice for actions throughout all the fights, but it’s more of a silly and good-hearted story that you experience through a Dragon Quest play system. It reminds me a lot of another JRPG homage for 3DS and Switch, Fairune, although without its sometimes maddening secret-finding, and with lots of quirky characters, which feel like they were imported from Undertale.
It’s only about an hour long, and did I mention it’s free, so I figure it’s well worth your time and money!