Go, play, and maybe donate if you enjoy yourself!
The more time I spend on itch.io, the more great things I find. So I’ve started a little series where I rave about these discoveries to you!
Since it was created in 2013, itch.io has been an important space for developers and players alike. There are so many games available for free, donation, or a small cost, and they are almost all made by independent developers who are telling their stories, pushing boundaries, and doing something innovative. But there are so many games on itch.io now that it can be difficult to know where to start! So let me help you. Here are three free games I recommend this month!
Blossom is a meditation. The game generates flowers for you to meander through, in a combination of shapes and colours and animations and sounds. It is immersive and relaxing, and puts you in a surprisingly deep trance state. Despite involving only touching a screen or using a mouse, Blossom feels tactile, like you are actually running your fingers through the petals of strange flowers. Need a break from your own brain for a little while? I definitely recommend spending a moment in Blossom.
The developer, eevee, describes Sandcastles as a ‘brief rumination on permanence’ and that’s an apt description. The tiny game allows you to walk on the beach to a melancholic soundtrack, building a sandcastle and watching as it is knocked down by people and time. Nothing is permanent, and eventually everything passes. But that doesn’t mean there’s no value to what we create.
Unlike the previous two games, ᗢ (yes, that’s really what it’s called) was released a little less recently. I saw a demo even before that, where you were a cat who climbed a tree and looked around. That’s really all it was. You napped under a tree, you woke, you climbed that tree, and you could suddenly see all of the surrounding islands.
The general principle of the game hasn’t changed much. You play as a cat who hates swimming but who is stranded on an island, and who has somewhere to be. You move from place to place, staying in the water for as little time as possible, and slowly a story unfolds. It’s short, it’s sweet, and the narrative - though simple - is heartfelt and worth experiencing.