This cute geometric puzzler is deceptively simple. It has an exceedingly simple premise: you flip diamonds around so that the colours at the corners align, giving you a complete diamond out of four pieces, and moving you on to the next stage. While being quite straightforward, in the beginning, the difficulty soon ramps up, with often infuriating results as you flip, reflip, and restart diamonds and levels.
Despite this increase in its difficulty, Yankais still works as a kind of chilled out, meditative game, just bumping through some levels for no reason other than to just do it. As the game progresses, the more infuriating it gets, and the more satisfying hearing that level ending ‘ding’ becomes.
This charming little action RPG is story focused, cute, and honestly hard as fuck. Bittersweet Birthday is currently released as an early demo-slash-preview of the larger game to come, and outlines story and combat elements we can expect to see in the full game.
Recommending that you play this game with a controller rather than with a mouse and keyboard seems like overkill at first, as you’re just traversing around an abandoned facility, with no memories of your past and a voice directing you over the intercoms. Just your normal RPG affair. However, this does change as the demo approaches a boss fight, where your wee dungaree-wearing protagonist goes up against some bird dude. The bullet hell that follows was genuinely a kick in the mouth for this gamer.
Seeming straight out of Furi, or Nier: Automata, Bittersweet Birthday has responsive controls, satisfying combat, and punishing difficulty, as well as being exceedingly polished for a demo. I for one look forward to seeing what else the dev team, World Eater Games, can come up with.
Finally, last on the list of these little games, is Iloilo: a one-shot, experience-based game that is one to play if you’re needing to take a chilled-out break from everything. In this micro-game you are a weirdly shaped fisherman delivering your catch to your island neighbours. As you deliver more, you can progress around the island.
With a basic third-person viewpoint, where you look around for empty crates to put fish in, this game is also super simple. The narrator pops text on the screen to give some background on the island and on you, the protagonist, and you find yourself taking time to just wander about, appreciating the scenery and what’s dotting the horizon. Eventually, you will also find yourself looking for hidden corners of the game, for even more little text bars to pop up.