The Ugly Monster
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The Ugly Monster

Playing Every Game in the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality

PEGBRJE: ‘OddyTree’ and ‘I’m Bored, Let’s Explore (Mall)’

Even more small titles

Me too, little guy.

OddyTree is a ‘co-operative’ game created by Zwi Zausch, an indie dev from Germany currently working on Dorfromantik (which we saw the prototype of earlier on in the bundle and I loved it). This little project, however, was done with Aileen Auerbach and Richard Kubusch for the Indie Schooltrip Game Jam in 2019, and features a tree trying their best to relocate to a new forest.

Using the arrow keys to keep the balance and the WASD to move, players will march from the dying forest to the freshly grown so that our little tree can make new friends and grow happily with others. The key is offsetting the movement, because if the tree hits the ground the game is restarted.

Unfortunately, the tree did not notice over the years that a Swedish village had cropped up between them and the other side, so there are many obstacles in their way that make the supposedly simple journey now hazardous. Thankfully some of the obstacles are not difficult to bulldoze through, such as fences — although I am certain the residents won’t be too happy trying to explain that a walking tree destroyed their property.

While it can be played single player, OddyTree shines as a multiplayer experience, with one person controlling the balance and another moving the tree. You do not have far to go, making this game quite short once the controls are mastered, but the point of the game is not to be lengthy. Instead, OddyTree just wants to be a quirky little game in which you run through things for fun and yell at your partner to balance better as you run in to another object. It’s a game jam game at its peak — simple, yet effective. If that sounds like a fun time for you, give it a whirl.

They always do, don’t they.

I’m Bored, Let’s Explore (Mall) is a short narrative exploratory game created by Dan, also known as thatguynm. Part of a collection of exploration games, this one features two friends as they return to an abandoned mall to relive the past.

Players will wander through the halls of the mall, triggering different conversations as they go based on either location or coming in to contact with yellow objects. The two friends reminisce about their shared past with the mall, making small comments about what had been there while trying to avoid dangerous locations. Getting to the next area can be a bit tricky in the old school aesthetic due to not always having a definitive ‘this way to next room’ design, but it does encourage players to explore everywhere.

The draw is in the feeling of nostalgia, that sense of wonder in seeing a place that you have not been to for years and how it has changed while remembering its past glory. The dialogue is flawless in this regard, as the two friends go back and forth making small talk on everything and anything, from the giant pole in the centre to the moldy hamburgers. It’s a strange feeling, especially on those of us watching others that are being nostalgic for earlier days as it makes you want to go out and find something to be nostalgic about. I never had malls growing up around me, but after playing a single run of this it makes me want to go find one just to explore a run down and abandoned mall.

You may not be able to relate to the mall itself, but we all have enjoyed reminiscing about something. If you like short stories about that kind of memory, then this is a great game to try out. Oh, and it is a browser game! Always handy.

Links!

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Jacob Vorstenbosch

Jacob Vorstenbosch

Just a Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.