One of my favorite Friday night activities is sitting alone hunched in front of a monitor with rice-crust pizza and pretending to murder people. This is second only to pretending to date people under the same circumstances. Thankfully, Ren’Py developers understand my consumer need and offer us these three free titles for all your wild late night pleasures, which sounded about as wrong as I intended it not to sound.
Akira and the Bee
… is not the name of this game. If it was, “Pretty” might be the heartwarming family tale of whatever that movie was about, like spelling and being yourself. But we’re not here for those Crazy Pagan Virtues, we’re here for vampires in school uniforms as imagined by Roy Mustang.
“Pretty” is a short kinetic novel by Zap Apple, a talented group that’s inexplicably doing one of those humanized My Little Pony dating SIMs with the names changed. You play a dorky paranormal enthusiast who is asked to hang out with the most pretty and popular girl at school, Kirei. Something is up. Do you have what it takes to– hmm, no, it’s a kinetic novel. I’m pretty sure you know how to press the space bar.
I’ve also done voice reels for both the girls in “Pretty” as I imagined them sounding. Yes, I’m a dork.
WIN THE GAME, 2014
If you’re seeking a little more player interaction, look no further than “Win the Game,” the Battle Royale-inspired survival horror visual novel by Happy Backwards. Your name is [DATA EXPUNGED], and you have just woken up on a deserted island. An affable yet sadistic AI issues you a weapon and tells you that in order to “win the game,” everyone else must be dead.
“Win the Game” contains around 25k words and was designed to demonstrate the capabilities of the developers’ Ren’Py-designed battle system, released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license. The engine-within-an-engine (engineception!! haha thanks for reading my blog buy my mixtape) includes a turn-based battle system with AIs, grid-based map navigation, an inventory and health meters, random AI player movement and time passing, to name a few features, and can be used by anyone to set up a “fully functional murder game.” The world is a good place.
That’s not to say that this game isn’t fully playable by itself; with campaign and free battle modes, unlockable weapons, 15+ characters, and three endings, “Win the Game” offers a lot of replay value, and by that I mean I have played it several times over obsessively pls help me oh god
The game mechanics are more Battle Royale- than Hunger Games-inspired, with a similar island/military setting and plot and the inclusion of forbidden zones, so if you’ve ever wanted to grab a randomized weapon and test your strategic survival skills, “Win the Game” is a godsend.
What do you get when you mix Phoenix Wight with .flow, add a dash of Xiaolin Showdown and some party favors from the Halloween store? It’s “Y;n,” of course, the psychological thriller where you must use the evidence and your wits to survive “Y;n” is, supposedly, the first and shortest entry in a larger story the author is planning as a three-part series.
One moment, high school student Yin has the perfect life: she’s popular at school, active in clubs, and loved by everyone. The next, she wakes up strapped to a chair in a frightening empty place called the Void. Everyone in the Void is a criminal, awaiting divine sentence from the malicious judge Charon. Yin’s crime? Killing her sister. No one has ever made it back from a trial with Charon, but Yin is different — Yin has outside help, and now she must revisit the scenes of her past and relive those painful memories in order to unearth the evidence that will prove her innocence and reveal the devastating truth.
“Y;n” plays as a combination of point and click, number-based puzzle solving, brief escape sequences, and trials, which involve selecting the correct object, person, or idea in order to refute your adversary’s claims. It’s got a cool aesthetic, engaging story, and twisty… twists, and is the product of half a year’s work by German developer Mirrowdothack as part of a master’s thesis. Coolest master’s thesis ever? Coolest master’s thesis ever.