BENGALURU: An occupational hazard of writing a column on videogames is that people often ask me for real suggestions. “I want to play something, but I don’t know where to start.
Tell me a fun game”... This request puts my brain into overthink mode – How do I stun them with this knowledge that I have? Should I throw them into the pits of online strategy where there is a tough learning curve? Do I introduce them to one of the latest mainstream hits with a graphics requirement that would cause their laptop to transform into an induction stove?
I normally test the waters by introducing them to cute, short indie games. Easy to learn and play. Short enough to temporarily divert them. It also has the advantage of making myself feel good by generating awareness on the woke non-violent indie universe. I don’t stop with a name drop. No; I want to make sure they play it. I give step-by-step guidance. In most cases, I get as far as “install and register yourself on Steam” at which point these enthusiastic but uninitiated potential gamers lose interest. Here’s a low-effort, max-value listicle for you lazy gamers. Mind, there are too many to suggest and I will add to this list in the weeks to come.
1. Cube Escape: Though I have mentioned it many times, be assured, Rusty Lake is definitely not paying me for this recommendation. This is a fun, free-to-play puzzle type game that is equal parts entertaining, head-scratching, and creepy. You can download it on your app store on your phone.
2. Cat Bird: If you tried the above game and went “Come on Anusha, show me something REAL”, then Cat Bird is for you. It is still low effort – free and available on the app store. It is a well-made platformer adapted perfectly for a small screen, and it is anything but easy. The cat can fly. And it shoots and jumps and stuff -- like Gen Z Mario.
3. Machinarium: If you are lazy, but willing to pay for an immersive yet light game, Machinarium is among the very aesthetic puzzle/ adventures created by Amanita Designs. Your intrusive device will automatically recommend you similar games through ads if you like games like Chuchel and Samorost. The good part – they are also available for the PC if your interest triggers the effort of booting the laptop.
4. Stardew Valley: Level 4 gamers who have got their laptops charged up, with their Epic games and Steam account open and pointers on the search bar, or even sufficient app store credits to spend – buy Stardew Valley! This is a game for all ages – and is assuredly going to take you on a transformative, meditative adventure through virtual farming.
Though I am out of words for this week’s list, a top tip: visit itch.io for more free games that you could play and tell me about it in turn. Till next time, go on some adventures and don’t be afraid to lose some virtual lives!
(This economics graduate spends her leisure time preparing for the zombie apocalypse)