Encountering the first crystal in the game Sealed Bite, which unlocks wall hang powers.

Sealed Bite is a forest platformer game by securas and wondard, which took first place in the 2019 GitHub Game Off. You play as a little red riding hood character who is venturing around the forest. During some light platforming, you're suddenly attacked and bitten by a werewolf, and black out.

Reaching the mountain peak in Sealed Bite, about to pick up the 2nd crystal...the double jump crystal.

What sort of trouble can you get into in the forest?

Recovering from the wolf bite, you meet a spirit who tells you what’s happened and gives you the quest to find and bring three crystals to an altar.

As you progress through the game, your platforming ability is augmented by these crystals so you can reach places you couldn’t before. The wolf bite initially gives you the ability to jump attack enemies, which also helps you regain health. The first crystal gives you a wall cling, so you can wall jump and ascend to new heights. And so on.

A section of the lava level in Sealed Bite, which encourages slow traversal.

Sealed Bite's lava level is likely one of my most favorite platforming levels in a long while. It’s an exercise in precise platforming and patience. It doesn’t reward you if you go fast—you're likely to meet an untimely end. No, instead, it tricks you into waiting until the last possible moment to start your jumps, leaving just a feather’s breath between you and the uncomfortably close razor’s edge of lava. I died here more than I’d like to admit, only succeeding when I slowed down my play to the point where I was uncomfortable.

My playthrough of Sealed Bite took about two hours…which might have been a bit faster if I had realized that the escape key shows a full game map, including a hint at where I’m supposed to go. It’s exceptionally well polished for a game jam game and is definitely worth your playtime.

Sealed Bite is available on itch.io for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

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Entering a spooky cave in The Gems, an action adventure game.

The Gems is an Action-Adventure game made by sharpfives, for the Github Game Off. In a world being taken over by demons, a ghost has lost his magic gem-stone, which has broken into fragments—23 to be exact. Your job as the hero is to collect these gem fragments and return them to the ghost. Equipped with a bow and arrow, you travel about the world and recover gems from demons you encounter.

The silly ghost that loses his gem, in a cutscene when you first meet him.

The game puts you up in various action-filled scenarios, like rescuing campers—who are just trying to enjoy their time in the forest—from scores of demons, or shooting a one-eyed beast who tries to jump on you.

One of the best encounters on this adventure is your quest with the dude sitting on a log, who is obviously quite stoned. This dude asks you for five mushrooms—and upon delivery, he gives you a magical shell, which provides you with the ability to talk to animals. Far out, man.

You really can talk to animals in the gems, the mushrooms dude just gives you a shell.

The game reuses space quite well. After getting the zoolingualism shell, you can travel back to other areas and interact with animals and the world in ways you couldn’t before, like exploring new corners and caves or going on a race.

The Gems is a great, well-styled action adventure that you can sit down and enjoy in about a half-hour of your time. It’s available on itch.io for play on the web, Windows, Linux, and macOS.

The frozen clocktower, a moment before midnight, in a screenshot of Moment to Midnight.

Moment to Midnight is a pixel art interactive fiction game by taxiderby, daisyowl, and cherof, created for Ludum Dare 45.

You start as a lost stranger, woken from the dark by a strange lizard. Stuck without any controls, the lizard gifts you abilities to let you listen and advance. Moving along, you start your journey of meeting and interacting with villagers of this sleepy little city.

The player reveals her name, Lyst, in Moment to Midnight.

A sudden prophecy

It turns out that all the clocks in this town have stopped just before midnight, and it’s up to you to find out why. The city, stuck in a permanent nighttime, doesn’t progress. Timekeeping devices refuse to work.

Your goal, as Lyst, is to investigate the prophesy—that a beast can restart time—and seek a resolution by climbing up the town’s clock tower.

Along your journey, you meet a sweet mix of townspeople that each helps you with your goal—like granting new abilities. There’s a lass here who pre-purchased a years' worth of vases—who’d do such a thing? An old man needs you to help him find his glasses. You alarm a sleepy sentry who asks, “What’s the danger? When’s the danger?”

The player talking to the old man, being told to play a game to find his glasses.

Go climb the tower

Because it’s a game jam game, it isn’t a particularly deep game, but that’s okay—it manages to do quite a lot in its short duration. The atmosphere, music, and the game’s unique take on ability progression certainly make it worth the short play.

It might be worth it for you to talk to everyone a few times. If you backtrack through the sleepy town, you might find that some people’s dialogue has changed.

Moment to Midnight is a delightful little narrative game with good music and good vibes and is a pleasant way to spend 15 minutes of your time. It’s available for Windows and macOS on itch.io.

Level 4 in 30-50 Feral Hogs, depicting a pixel art farmer protecting their children.

30-50 Feral Hogs is a pixel art game by Elijah Cobb. Protect your small kids who are playing in your inadequately protected yard from, well, 30-50 feral hogs.

Okay, yeah, don't take this too seriously—this is just a timely meme. But, that's kinda the sheer joy in this medium. This game isn't particularly notable or clever, nor does it bring impressive mechanics into play. But it is timely, and it does make a solid statement on some of the absurdities of our time. The game's creator dives in a bit more on their reasons in this tweet thread—it's worth it to take a glance at it.

We enjoy games because they're interactive art that is funny and fun. In its simplicity and timeliness, this game succeeds at being just that. A playthrough of 30-50 Feral Hogs will require 3-5 minutes of your time and can be played in your web browser.

As an aside, I support rational gun control as a route to end gun violence and build safer communities. Also, I don't think video games directly contribute to violence or mass shootings. Consider a donation to an organization like Everytown, who are working towards a rational solution to the gun violence problem.

The player, at the entrance to a dungeon, in Atma.

Atma is an adventure game made by teamatma. You play as Shaya, a guardian who keeps a balance between the spirits and the material world. Your lover and fellow guardian, Atma, tries to create an urja—or go through the process to become an elder—prematurely. This creates a rift, allowing spirits to wreak havoc in the material world. Your goal is to seek Atma’s key of memories.

Your primary way of interacting with the world is by a sort of spell casting, called mantras. With your mantras, you can do things like draw a line to assemble a bridge, or attack enemies by connecting a line between to hit them with lightning.

As you venture into a vibrant eastern-style forest city, you meet an ornithologist, who gives you a quest to unlock a new mantra. This quest grants you the power of wind, to solve unique puzzles and dungeons, as you continue on your goals.

One of the intro panels in Atma

Atma is a shining example of high-quality content put out on itch daily. It’s incredibly polished, with vibrant art, good gameplay focus, and a great journey and experience. It totally succeeds in its goal of making you feel like a real guardian of the material world.

Atma is great for players seeking a vibrant eastern atmosphere with a story that matters. It’s available for free on itch.io, and an average playthrough will take about a half-hour.

There's more to be seen!