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Freeware Review - Mainichi
Mainichi is a short game created by respected critic/journalist Mattie Brice which, in her own words, “helps communicate daily occurrences that happen in my life as a mixed transgender woman.” It’s a bit like Dys4ia mixed with Every Day the Same Dream. As much as I try to avoid “It’s like Game X crossed with Game Y,” occasionally it’s the most expedient way to describe the game to those unfamiliar with it, and here the description fits. From Dys4ia, there is the use of game mechanics to convey very personal experiences with what Anna Anthropy called “gender bullshit” and from Every Day there is the repeated day structure with the ability to change the way things play out with your gameplay choices.
But luckily, in combining the two games, she was able to retain most of what was good about each. The narrative is very personal and affecting, and there are a handful of meaningful choices you can make. The game was made in RPG Maker by a single person using community assets and no programming and it shows, but it’s a worthwhile exploration of using game mechanics to say something you have a hard time saying any other way.
woww i just found out about dys4ia and now i want everyone to play it it will only take you 10 minutes and your life will be better after
it’s about a trans woman’s experience with starting hormone replacement therapy and it’s cute and colourful and sad and happy and it’s. perfect. go play it
(seizure warning applies though)
From time to time, I come across some free indie games that don’t elicit a full review, but that I think are worth playing nontheless. Today, I have three, all of which can be played in your browser by clicking the links:
Freedom Bridge - This is a (very) short game about the so-called “Freedom Bridge” in Korea, a bridge over which flowed POWs and injured soldiers during the Korean War. You painfully guide your square avatar through a series of barbed wire placements, hoping to reach the bridge, and freedom, before…well, you’ll see. It only takes about two minutes to play, so get to it.
Closure - This game is basically a puzzle platformer, although much more heavy on the puzzles than the platforming. This world is mostly pitch black, with just a few spots of white light. The main gimmick is that you can only stand on what is illuminated. If you step on a shadow, you fall through and have to start over. You can carry balls of light around and drop them where you want to manipulate the environment as you choose. It starts to get much more difficult than that, with multiple light sources that move, and some that disappear when you get close. It was ultimately too frustrating for me to finish, but it’s definitely a unique idea, and the art style is pretty neat. There are a lot of levels here, and it is the longest game in this post by far.
Personal Trip to the Moon - This is a game that claims to be “about dysphoria” but apart from the main character (who appears to be male) seeing a female reflection in a mirror in the beginning, you’d be hard pressed to see the connection. In this game, you fly from Earth to the moon, and meet up with some astronauts whose lunar lander is busted and missing several parts. You then fly around, gathering all the needed parts to help them get home to Earth. The flying is a lot of fun, and the animation is cool, but you can see your destination with the push of a button, so any challenge or exploration is lost. Ultimately, I think this game is worth a play for the art and score alone. Each time you take off into the air, an interesting and epic piece of music starts to play and build up, and it makes your flight seem much cooler than it probably really is. Certainly worth the 5-10 minutes you’ll spend on it, and maybe the story will hit home with you more than it did for me.
everyone go play this game, dys4ia. it gave me chills. it’s about the game creator’s gender transition experience.