Itch.io’s Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality has raised an amazing $2.9 million for the NAACP Legal Defence and Educational Fund and the Community Bail Fund. For $5, the bundle lets you download over 790 games that have been kindly donated by their developers in support of the anti-racist protests happening around the world. The bundle has been live for less than a week and more than 250,000 people have donated to what might be the best indie gaming bundle ever created.
The bundle keeps getting bigger as more developers and creators donate what they can in support, and it’s not just games being donated either. The bundle currently has over 1,000 items including art assets, game development cheat sheets, pen and paper RPGs, and, of course, a whole lot of indie games. The outpouring of support from the Itch.io community has been incredible and the goal of the bundle has been raised to $5 million.
If you’ve donated to the bundle but not sure where to start with the massive 790 games that just landed in your Itch.io library, I’ve picked out a handful of games from the bundle as a starting point. If you go to your Itch.io download page after you’ve purchased the bundle, there’s a handy search bar that makes navigating the sea of games much easier.
Indie darlings like Night in The Woods, Overland, Minit, Oxenfree, and Super Hexagon are all included in the bundle, but I wanted to dive a bit deeper into the bundle’s games including some hidden gems and personal favourites.
A Short Hike
A Short Hike is a much-loved indie here at PC Gamer. You play as a cute little bird named Claire on her journey to climb to the summit of Hawk Peak mountain. Set in a peaceful national park, you can casually wander along trails, talk to other visitors, and glide through the peaks and valleys of the park. It’s a heartwarming game that has the coziness of Animal Crossing and wholesomeness of Stardew Valley.
Night of the Consumers
If you currently work—or have worked—in a retail job, Night of the Consumers might give you frightening flashbacks. It’s your first day at a new job at a general store and a band of ravenous customers have flooded the shop floor minutes before closing time. You’ll need to run around keeping the store tidy and restocked as you fend for your life against ferocious customers after a bargain for their buck. It’s fun and frantic but beware of the toothless old hag in the cereal aisle.
Far From Noise
You’re in a bit of a predicament in Far From Noise. You are sat alone in a car that is precariously balanced on the edge of a cliff with no means of escape and, in a bizarre twist, your only companion is a talking deer. You might be in a bit of a pickle, but Far From Noise is a pretty chill game. Its story is driven by your choice of speech bubbles as your character and their companion contemplate life, nature, and teeter on some philosophical questions about what to feel in times of hopelessness.
Kids is a strange, almost hypnotic series of interactive vignettes centred around groups of faceless bodies. In one sequence, you’ll be pushing a seemingly endless flow of running bodies into a black hole, and in another, you’ll be helping guide the figures through a bunch of intestine-like tubes. The meaning behind these scenes is completely down to how you personally interpret them, but one thing that is generally agreed upon is that Kids is like nothing else on Itch.
Loot Rascals is a wonderfully weird RPG roguelike where you explore randomly generated alien planets, zapping enemies, and collecting loot cards which grant you special abilities. Your super special loot deck isn’t completely safe as baddies can loot you right back, nicking your cards straight from your inventory. It’s a breezy, streamlined roguelike and if that wasn’t enough to convince you there’s also a Sottish teapot genie that you can ask for help.
Signs of the Sojourner
Signs of the Sojourner is a narrative card game where your deck represents your character with the cards acting as your voice. You can pick and play different cards to chat with characters, coupling symbols to match the tone and outlook of your partner or playing cards that will purposefully take the conversation in a new direction. Experiencing Signs of the Sojourner’s approach to dialogue, alongside its bittersweet story, is a more than enough reason to check this one out.
If you like 4th wall breaking games then OneShot is definitely one for you. Don’t be fooled by its cute cat protagonist, it will hide things in your computer’s files, ask you to move the game window around, and spookily talk directly to you. One of the game’s main inspirations is the mind-reading Psycho Mantis from Metal Gear Solid, and you can see that OneShot has taken this technology reading idea and run wild with it. OneShot is a smart puzzle game that makes you interact with it through interesting ways, and it certainly surprised me with its clever tricks on multiple occasions.
The Stillness of the Wind
In The Stillness of the Wind, you play as a goat-herding grandma called Talma who carries out the daily routines of her simple solitary life—tending to the goats, making cheese from their milk and growing vegetables. It’s a serene game that would almost be relaxing if it wasn’t for the troubling letters Talma receives from her family in the city. The Stillness of the Wind is a quietly powerful game that tackles topics like loss and solitude in a thoughtful way.
Dr Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald – A Whirlwind Heist
Dr Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald is the perfect pocket-sized heist game, sort of. It’s a twenty-minute game that’s supposed to be a heist but unfortunately, another player started at the same time as you, meaning that you’re instead demoted to helping out behind the scenes. It’s a hilarious and clever (if exaggerated) peek behind the curtain of game design.
A Mortician’s Tale
A Mortician’s Tale is a “death positive” story-driven game that puts you in the role of a funeral director. Playing as a mortician called Charlie you’ll be preparing bodies, carrying out your client’s wishes, and attending the funerals of the ones who have passed. Not only does a Mortician’s game teach you about the processes of funeral preparation, but it openly engages you in a conversation about death in an approachable way.
Secret Little Haven
I love any games that are set on a computer desktop, and Secret Little Haven‘s bubblegum pink operating system is the perfect setting for the story of a trans girl’s journey of self-discovery. Secret Little Haven is a wonderful throwback to the internet of the 90s, chatting to friends in AOL messenger, posting on forums, and exploring the curiosities of the internet. Its cutesy visuals are lovely, but it also tells an emotional story of a young girl who has created a safe space online away from the harsh realities of the real-world.
2064: Read Only Memories
2064: Read Only Memories is a point-and-click adventure that explores how technology has impacted definitions of being human. It ticks all the right boxes of a cyberpunk narrative—detective work, shady corporations, and advanced technology—but what I love about ROM is that it gives a lot of attention to cybernetics and what it means to have a ‘natural body’, creating parallels between today’s discussions concerning body and gender.