It’s summertime, and the gaming’s easy! Maybe you’re stuck on a long road trip, or you’re in between games while you wait for the end of the year’s big releases. Or maybe you don’t even need a reason. Short, casual games can sometimes be just what you need to chill out on a hot day. These three indie games, all released this summer, might be short on play-time, but they’re huge on the humor and quirky fun.
Warm up that Steam account, because right now you can find all these indie darlings for under $12.
Chook & Sosig: Walk the Plank
Chook & Sosig: Walk the Plank is a point-and-click adventure with characters so unique it almost sounds like the result of a torn-out Mad Libs page. There’s the ghostly chicken, Chook; Sosig, the spaghetti-limbed cat; and their friends: an undead cow, a mischievous fox, and a psychic bat. Oh, and they’re all playing a tabletop RPG together. In their game within the game, you’ll take control of Sosig and point-and-click your way through a pirate-themed treasure hunt. Solve puzzles by exploring and talking to your friends, who are all playing their RPG characters inside the game. Yes, it’s very meta, but not very confusing once you get the idea.
The hand-drawn art by TookiPalooki truly shines and adds even more charm and whimsy to the lighthearted game. (Just about every character in this story is smiling.) This is one of those delightful games that you buy for yourself but end up letting the kids take over, as they’ll get just as big a kick out of the offbeat humor and crazy characters as you will. (PC/Mac, TookiPalooki and Armor Games Studios)
A Short Hike
It’s almost impossible to play A Short Hike, a slice-of-life exploration game, and not draw comparisons to all of your favorite things about Animal Crossing. Sure, there are animals packed with personality, digging X-shaped dirt mounds for useful items, fishing, and an overall peaceful mood, but A Short Hike is a game that’s all its own.
The pixelated art and the game itself was born from a personal art project by the creator, Adam Robinson-Yu, who was inspired by the forests and hiking trips of his childhood. The art blossomed into a game meant to be a relaxing experience as uplifting as the summer breeze across the beach sand.
Explore the island and mountains at your own leisurely (or not so leisurely) pace, search for treasure and other hidden items, and meet other hikers and inhabitants of the island. There’s no better way to unwind than with a sweet, casual game like this one. (PC/Mac, Adam Robinson-Yu)
Summer Catchers is a side-scrolling endless runner that relies on both luck and skill. You’re a young girl who lives in the distant snowy north, dreaming of a summer that never comes. She’s determined to make it south to find the sun, and so embarks on the dangerous journey in her trusty wooden cart. With the help of speed boosts, jump boosts, and more, you’ll get her through every obstacle in her path to find her first summer.
The tools at your disposal are randomly generated, which can lead to some occasional bad luck, but it will keep you on your toes. You’ll have to be quick on the draw with a tap of the fingers to pick the right boost for the job; but if you’re not, after stocking up on more items, you’re back on the road in no time at all. Summer Catchers is one of those rare games you can pick up and put down at a moment’s notice with no ill effects on gameplay. Plus, we’re a big fan of the world building, gorgeously colored pixel art, whimsical and heart-pumping soundtrack, and mystical mystery that all combine to make this indie game truly compelling. (PC/Mac, FaceIT and Noodlecake Studios)
Featured Image: Adam Robinson-Yu