quarta-feira, 1 de dezembro de 2021

My list with the 10 best games I played in 2021!

This year I played around 42 new digital games (most part of them were indie games). It's difficult to select only 10, but I tried. Below, a list with my favorites from 2021:

• Mundaun

The best game I played this year. Mundaun is an immersive deep into a lovingly hand-pencilled horror tale set in a dark, secluded valley of the Swiss Alps. I walked the scenario two times in a row. Everything is perfect in this game: ambience, soundtrack, enemies. If you are a fan of horror games, this one is for you.

• Little Nightmares 2

The first part is awesome and the second is much more incredible. Little Nightmares 2 is an oniric travel inside a disturbed mind with a glorious plot twist in the end. Graphics are insane!

• Curse of the dead gods

Walk, kill enemies, return, do it all over again. A good title for roguelike fans with an Incan theme in the background. The game is a little unbalanced, but fun is guaranteed.

• Linelight

Well, I'm a big fan of abstract games. Linelight is a game created only with lines, points, and dots of light. Puzzles have an interest progression with the gameplay and the soundtrack is very relaxing. Beautiful with simplicity.

• Heal

A game about an old man with dementia. You must solve enigmas from the past of his memories to discover a love narrative fulfilled with pain and sadness. I loved the dark art and the somber atmosphere in the 2D scenario.

• Dead Cells

Little bit old, but excellent. I played this year for the first time. Classic roguelike game with an interesting medieval/high-tech ambience.

• Death Crown

Strange visual. Bizarre ambience. Death Crown, in a first view, looks like an old PC game from the 80s, but there's great mechanics inside the gameplay. A true indie game.

• Kholat

Based in The Dyatlov Pass incident. The incident was an event in which nine Russian hikers died in the northern Ural Mountains between 1 and 2 February 1959, in uncertain circumstances. The experienced trekking group from the Ural Polytechnical Institute, led by Igor Dyatlov, had established a camp on the eastern slopes of Kholat Syakhl. During the night, something caused them to cut their way out of their tent and flee the campsite while inadequately dressed for the heavy snowfall and subzero temperatures. The game explores supernatural forces and puts you as an investigator on the scenario.

• Children of Morta

RPG, roguelike, awesome pixel art, and a very unique narrative. Go get your copy now!

• Hook

One of the most interesting minimal puzzles games I played in my life. The studio created a great gameplay using lines and dots with very clever solutions. Very relaxing game, by the way.

Wow! What a list! I want to play all of them again.


sábado, 6 de novembro de 2021

Indie game of the month: STILSTAND

I’m always searching for strange indie games and, yesterday, I found this small treasure: STILSTAND. Well, in fact it’s not a game per se; it’s a kind of a dark, whimsical, and absurd interactive comic created by artist Ida Hartmann, exploring the despair and loneliness of a young woman living alone through a long summer in Copenhagen. You can check the trailer below:

The plot is simple, but the narrative is immersive and full of current issues from contemporary society. Amid the desire for isolation, there’s still a hope that one day, things will change for the main character. To reach this, she will receive some help from a bizarre shadow monster that lives in her apartment.

STILSTAND is a personal and hand-drawn tale about the high expectations and the fragile limbo of feeling stuck in life. It is a whimsical and absurd portrayal of anxiety, loneliness, and despair, and brings the player along on an adventure into the emotional landscape of a lost soul.


As I mentioned, it’s more a visual novel with a comic book layout structure. Most of the time you only click on the screen to move forward the dialogues/situations. Sometimes, there are few small puzzles very easy to decipher – but this is not the core of the game. STILSTAND is one experience to enjoy slowly and think about the crazy times we are living in.

Thirty-seven years ago, when I got my first video game (Atari), games were only about monsters, shootings, car racings, puzzles etc. Little Vince, at that time, never thought that, one day, he would play games with themes like depression, suicide, dementia etc. As I always say: games are media and part of contemporary culture. Games are mediums of expression and powerful platforms to send serious messages, too.

Thanks to the indie gaming industry for bringing us an exotic experience like this one. Not only an experience of entertainment, but a product that brings us to reflect about some common problems around us.

Platforms: iOS, PlayStation 4, Android, Microsoft Windows, macOS, Nintendo Switch, Macintosh operating systems 


segunda-feira, 4 de outubro de 2021

Game design process by Riot Games

An awesome (and didactic) content about how to strategically think game designing process. One crew from Riot Games explains in details how to start with a simple idea and how to reach an interesting ludic project. Check the video below:


terça-feira, 7 de setembro de 2021

STENA - mobile game (teaser trailer)

In November I will launch my new mobile game: STENA! Final tests are on the run! STENA is a reimagined version of the classic PONG arcade; but, instead of horizontal paddles settled for a two-player match, STENA has a circular scenario where, in solo mode, the player must defend the core of each stage with multiple paddles rotating 360º.

Check the teaser traier below:


sexta-feira, 3 de setembro de 2021

Alveole: an experimental puzzle game to relax and meditate

Created by Emil Ismaylov and Denis Petrov, ALVEOLE is a very unique gaming experience. With only a jump action - always in the same place - you must unravel the different ways to unlock the character's memories.

Alveole is a short experimental project that explores the possibilities of the player in a restricted environment, where there is only one game mechanic, elevated to the absolute.

For me, it's been an intriguing experience.

You can check the trailer below:

Highly recommended for experimental game fans!


sexta-feira, 13 de agosto de 2021

A basic exercise to take the first steps in the level design field

If you are studying the gaming area, you've probably heard about “level design”. In a synthetic way, as Adams and Rollings (2009, pp.399-400) point out, level design is the process of building the experience that will be offered directly to the player, using components provided by the game designer. Level designers create the space in which the game takes place, the initial conditions of the level, the set of challenges the player will face within the level, the termination conditions of it, the interplay between the gameplay and the game’s story and the aesthetics of the level.

We can also say that level design is how we can make the game cohesive and establish a sense of progression to the audience, stage by stage.

Therefore, in this post, I’ll present a basic exercise to practice the idea of level design. It’s a very simple formula that I have used in the last five years, in my game designing classes. Let’s imagine a game where the player must conduct the character through each level to escape by a door. Let’s also imagine that the space where the action takes place is a 10x10 imaginary grid. In the image below, there’s a sketch of the game with the main idea for the initial level and conditions to the play.

The character is on the left side; it has a magic wand pointing to the right and is looking in the direction of the door (on the right side). This hint is the basic structure of the game: you must walk to reach the exit to the next level.

On the second level, we have the same situation, but now, the door is located on a platform. On this second stage, we’ll teach the player that it is possible to jump one square up to reach the exit.

On the third stage, the door is located on an unreachable platform (because the character's jump can reach only one square up). But we have a new element: a block. So, the player can try to push the block near the platform and jump two times to reach the exit.

These are very initial ideas to discuss in this case. What I propose to my students is to create ten more levels for this game. Try to think about this challenge: find a new way to reach the door in every level. Think of adding trampolines, teleport cabins, traps, enemies, whatever you can imagine.



ADAMS, Ernest; ROLLINGS, Andrew. Fundamentals of Game Design. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009.