Do Not Feed the Monkeys

First Impressions: Have you ever wanted to voyeur and get paid for it? Have you ever wanted to be a detective, snooping around people’s lives through a window? Does being able to pay rent make you all exited? Well with this game you can do all three as you are invited to an exclusive “Primate Observation Club”. Starting the game, you come see that it is people you are observing through multiple surveillance cameras. Starting with four different cameras, you can switch between them freely with each playing a different scene.

Gone Home

First Impressions: At the start of the game you are greeted by a foreboding phone call of you, returning to your family after a trip overseas. Reaching your family home, you, Kaitlin Greenbriar, are greeted to an empty home on a stormy night. On inspection of the door to the home, you only see an ominous scrawled note by a family member telling you to not look for them. With that, you explore the house looking to find the cause of your family’s disappearance learning more about them in the process.

Alto's Odyssey

First Impressions: At first glance, this was just a typical casual game. The reason I chose to play it was that I seldom play video games (except for this class) but when I do, they’re always casual games. I’d seen trailers for Alto in the past and the graphics really appealed to me. The tutorial level was very informative and helped prepare me for the game. The game is centered around a snowboarder who rides down snowy peaks and sandy hills. The gameplay is really simple: tap to jump, hold to do a backflip.

Do Not Feed the Monkeys

First Impressions:

Having never played a game that was anything even remotely similar to this, I was bored and confused for the first 10 minutes of gameplay. It seems that the player has been accepted into some sort of exclusive club or company and needs to spy on various “Cages” (security cameras) containing “Monkeys” (people or animals or other objects).  

The interface is a computer with a few apps on it such as email, chat, browser, and security cameras. On the desk next to the computer, there is a newspaper and a notebook.

Monument Valley

First Impressions: This indie game can best be described as a physics-based puzzle solving game with incredibly visually pleasing art. You are tasked with moving Princess Ida along three-dimensional platforms to reach the end of each level. In order to make it through most of the scenes, you rotate, pan, and slide the platforms and various other structures so that the princess can travel across seemingly impassable obstacles. The backstory is slowly introduced as Ida finishes a series of levels and communicates with a ghost.

Undertale

First Impressions: The game is an adventure game that feels like a Pokemon game where the pokemon are replaced with cave monsters and the player is the one doing the fighting or not fighting,  The fighting mechanic is interesting because the player can fight, but they can also talk with the enemy in the hope to stall the enemy from immediately killing the player. The setting of the game takes place in the Underground and each room is filled with a puzzle or clue that will determine whether the player can advance through the game.

It's Paper Guy!

First Impressions: This game isn’t very complicated, but it was of the best-looking indie games I have played.  The player is placed in a world made of graph paper and the player can cut almost anything in the game by drawing lines with the mouse.  The controls are simple and the player can interact with almost anything that is shown in the background. The world is also filled with many different puzzles that the player can solve.  The puzzles aren’t difficult, but they do feel satisfying to complete.

Levedad

First Impressions: The controls of the game felt pretty easy to understand and the game allows the character to do some interesting things with the camera.  The graphics are pretty simple and the player has the freedom to take pictures of whatever they can see from the rooftop that they are standing on.  Depending on how the player uses an adjustable shutter, the player is able to do play around with the mechanics of long exposure photography. This game is definitely different from any other game/experience I have interacted with before.

Darkest Dungeon

First Impression: Darkest Dungeon is a dark and gritty turn-based dungeon crawler.  Each mission consists of four flawed heroes delving deep into the dungeon beneath your ancestral manor.  While it isn’t a horror game, it still is not a game for the weak of heart; heroes will die, missions will be failed, and (because the game auto-saves for you) there is no going back.  However, with the right preparation and a bit of luck, success is attainable.  The art and music really help to get you into the mood, and the narrator adds a very dramatic feel to the game, especially the

Seers Isle

First Impression: Seers Isle is an interactive graphic novel.  You start out following a group of seven young men and women who have traveled to the isle to try to become shamans.  However, as they approach the isle, a storm springs up and wrecks their ship on the island.  Gameplay is relatively simple (clicking through dialogue and occasionally making a decision) but the visuals, music, and storytelling are the focus and are all amazing.  The artwork has a painted look to it that complements the relaxing air of the music perfectly.

Opus Magnum

First Impression: Opus Magnum is a puzzle game based around optimizing alchemy machines.  You design and provide instructions for an alchemy machine and can try to optimize around cost, speed, or size.  You design the machines on a hex grid and have a variety of different components you can place, including rotators, pistons, and various glyphs that combine or transform individual elements.  You also choose where the component inputs and outputs are placed.  Then, you provide step by step instructions for each component, telling them how to rotate or extend.  The game also

Volgarr

First Impressions:  Unlike most games, this game puts you straight into gameplay without any instructions. The tutorial level guides you across a series of obstacles, teaching you how to do basic things like jump and throw a spear. One strange thing was the unusual key bindings in this game. Z is rarely used as the jump key in games, which made it hard for me to figure out how to jump until the last step of the tutorial when it directly told me. I think this was done on purpose to increase the learning curve of the game.

Return of the Obra Dinn

First Impressions: This game’s title menu instantly gives off a very old school vibe: there are only two colors and 3 buttons. Once you click play, it gives you a series of save slots to choose from, with each one saying “no fates resolved” for me since I had never played before. This is an interesting way of using required UI features to give the user hints about what is to come. I was left thinking and wondering about whose fates I would be resolving. The intro is a man speaking directly to you, but he has no face.

Do Not Feed the Monkeys

First Impressions: The game begins with mystery appeal; the game’s logo is a picture of a creepy, one-eyed monkey on the face of an Illuminati-type triangle. Why a one-eyed monkey? A reference to the main plotline of the game, which is that you are secretly watching several people live their daily lives from a distance, kind of like watching monkeys at a zoo. The option you get in the game is to choose your avatar. You get a choice between a rubber ducky, a flower, a gingerbread man, and a robot.

Black Room

First impression: For the opening section of the game, you appear to be some sort of spirit or entity that falls from the sky and transforms into a human when you reach the ground. You then proceed to walk through a lonely snow ridden pathway and then straight into a town or city that is engulfed in fire. After you continue walking you end up in a different scene where you appear to be waking up in some unknown cave. You continue the same one direction of movement progress through this section of the game.