itch.io bundle recs
hey! it's emmett!
so there was that massive itch.io bundle for racial justice and equality that a lot of people bought, remember? it started big and kept getting bigger, and when the bundle sales closed it had 1,741 things in it. that's a lot of things! there have been a number of people doing rec lists for stuff in the bundle (polygon & colin spacetwinks for example), and here i am doing one also.
i have embarked on a quest to play Every Single Game in the bundle! or, more accurately, try every single game in the bundle. i've been sharing my thoughts on them as i go on discord, but i wanted to have a more navigable archive that i could link to.

i'm not looking at the resources, tabletop games, or programs! there are lots of those in the bundle as well, but for now i'm just doing the video games.

this page is broken up into sections:
first are my top-tier favorites! for-sure recommendations that i think everybody should try!
second are additional good and cool games, but i played them less or i am not Super Enthusiastic or i think their appeal is more niche or something like that. (there is not really that much difference between these two sections but i wanted to be able to have a rainbow of sidebar links.)
third is a shrug zone for games i think might be good for somebody who likes that kind of thing but i personally don't care about at all.
fourth is the list of EVERY SINGLE GAME I'VE PLAYED, which will eventually be EVERY SINGLE GAME IN THE BUNDLE.
lastly if you wanna know about my taste in games generally in order to contextualize my recs, click the "my taste" button to go to a section about games i like outside of the context of this bundle!

recommendations

A Short Hike - this game is lovely! very pleasant soothing vibes. you play as a bird going on a hike in a national park. you make friends on your way to the top of the mountain. it's very pretty and nice to explore, and the characters are all quite sweet. it's bigger than i thought it would be when i started! not huge, of course, but sizable. it reminds me of breath of the wild and animal crossing. i love to climb up a mountain and glide down and fetch things for people. vv good stuff.

Beglitched - a super cute match-3-ish game, simultaneously simple and challenging. i got stuck so i havent finished it, but i like it! colorful and fun. you are doing favors for a glitch witch, defeating hackers and spammers with puzzles.

Cook, Serve, Delicious 2!! - like nitw, you probably know this one already, but it deserves a recommendation nonetheless. it's great! immensely enjoyable followup to csd. fast-paced cooking/restaurant simulator game where you use the keyboard to make food. i've been playing this on steam for years and love it; there's funny flavor text and a lot to do. no story, just food.

Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor - i'm so excited that this was in the bundle! diaries of a spaceport janitor is an underappreciated gem. a scifi simulator game about being a spaceport janitor, haunted by a skull that screams at you all the time. walk around, incinerate trash, pray, buy things, sell things, avoid the cops, write in your diary every day. the visuals are really outstanding. this is one of those games that's nice to just play to walk around looking at stuff.

Dujanah - abstract arty existential mixed-media game about loss and war and machines and a bunch of stuff; you play as dujanah, who is trying to find out what happened to her husband and daughter (who were shot to death). it's sad and strange and uncomfortable and v good. features claymation, felt, pencil drawings, glitch art, and a super strange soundtrack. very weird but not as weird as, like, oikospiel. apparently the content and story stuff can vary from playthru to playthru and it has multiple endings maybe? lagged a bit on my laptop but wasn't unplayable.

Long Gone Days - a very good-looking rpg about war and belonging! it's still in development, but what does exist (about 7-8 hours of game) is great. i really enjoyed this. it's fairly dark and very violent, but it still has a lot of Friendship and isn't completely bleak. which is nice, for a near-future scifi military dystopia, haha. there's some interesting mechanical stuff going on, as well - no random encounters at all and a system where you have to manage your party's morale, which both work just fine.

Minit - puzzleish adventhreish little game where you die every 60 seconds. a lot of fun and doesn't take a lot of brain energy or time, without feeling annoyingly easy!

Night In The Woods - melancholy exploration game where you walk around a small town feeling bad. friendship good, capitalism bad. pretty sad. it's about poverty and mental illness and being a 20-something. you've probably already heard about this one a lot, it's won a lot of awards and is rather popular. but like just so you know it deserves all the praise and is indeed That Good!

One Night Stand - an Actually Good visual novel! a short and small but detail-rich character study. you play as a hungover dude who wakes up in a girls bed with no idea who she is. you can poke around her stuff and talk to her to try and figure out who she is and what's going on. it has stylish rotoscoped animations that i found v appealing. a thing centering around m/f content has to be pretty damn good for me to recommend it, and this is that.

Overland - resource management/survival simulatorish game, a little bit like oregon trail and a little bit like the walking dead. zombie apocalypse roadtrip with weird rock monsters instead of zombies. any game where you can have a dog in your party is a good game imo. somewhat difficult but not maddeningly so. party members can permadie but you can also start each level over as many times as you want and it's turn-based, so it's got a nice strategy-puzzle setup that i like.

Secret Little Haven - VERY VERY GOOD. MADE ME CRY. actual tears. the video game equivalent of holding a delicate baby bird in your hands. a trans teenager in 1999 talks to her online friends for a few days. it's so so sweet and the writing is so eerily accurate and it's so nostalgic and just... like... so sweet. a rare instance of a story about a trans person that i think would be legible and important and useful for cis people to engage with and was still appealing and engaging for me (a trans person). absolutely deserves to be on any representation-focused rec list. there are some flashing & screenshaking effects that might be nauseating or migraine-/headache-inducing - they can be turned down in the settings but not turned off completely as far as i can tell.

Wide Ocean Big Jacket - a short narrative game about two tweens and two adults on a camping trip. i liked it a bunch and thought it was nice!

also good

Art Sqool - a drawing game! walk around a weird colorful 3D environment and do art assignments for your AI art teacher. interesting visuals, very funky, and definitely worth a try.

ISLANDS: Non-Places - a series of surreal interactive art pieces making already-eerie nonplaces (parking lot, baggage claim, waiting room) somewhat more unsettling. lots of ambient rustling and clicking and beeping noises. i thought it was nice but strange. idk if it's really a "game" but it's a neat little thing anyway! i have a particular weird fondness for liminal spaces and media that explores and emphasizes those things can be hard to come by, so it was oddly appealing to me specifically.

Kids - weird half hour long thing where you just push people into pits. more an animation than a game, really. it's oddly satisfying and at times unsettling and has a unique visual style. neat!

Last Word - a comedy rpg set at a mysterious dinner party at a mansion (sort of like in clue), in a world where conversations are fights and getting the last word gives you power. unique and fun gameplay! there's some fun details to poke around at and it's a really neat concept.

Loot Rascals - a roguelikeish thing that I ENJOYED?? shocking! fun colorful card-based game where you're in space. procedurally generated levels, permadeath, but w a neat and simple and intuitive combat system. I'm bad at it cuz it's hard but it is fun imo

Milkmaid of the Milky Way - a short (2 hours? maybe less?) point-and-click written entirely in rhyme, about a girl and her cows who get abducted by aliens. short n sweet n pretty nice to look at!

Mu Cartographer - rather opaque game in which you try to figure out how to operate a weird fiddly alien interface while looking at a bunch of wiggly colors to piece together tiny bits of story. intriguing but made me nauseous, and the pieces of story you get are like 2-3 sentences so it seems like it'd be p time-consuming to get a better picture of whats going on.

No Delivery - a horror game about having a job, this time at a fnaf-esque pizza place with animatronics and stuff. a little confusing but i thought it was fine and reasonably enjoyable! no jumpscares, just a kinda silly "chuck e cheese but everythings covered in BLOOOOD" vibe. it's not actually trying very hard to be scary and is more like a kinda undertaleish vibe where you're just kinda palling around with ghosts n stuff.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch - NOBODY SUSPECTS A THING. remember qwop? kinda like that. you are an octopus disguised as a man. you must flail your way through life without arousing suspicion, which is difficult because you are an octopus. very silly and very fun. an absolute classic. if you like goat simulator, untitled goose game, catlateral damage, or anything along those lines, it's definitely worth a shot!

Pikuniku - a colorful simple puzzle-adventure-exploration kind of game. i played it on the switch! it's quite short and doesn't have a lot going on, but it's a fun little game and made me smile a lot when i played it. there's collectibles and lots of cute blobby fellas to pal around with.

i dunno

these games are not the kind of thing i like, but i think they may be good if you like that sort of thing and/or i've heard good things about them. i think they might be worth checking out, but i really don't know! i gave them a try, but dropped them quickly because they didn't really grab me.
i do not enjoy platformers or roguelikes and i don't have any interest in retro-style pixel art, for example. (sorry)

Anodyne - a zeldaish top-down pixelly adventure game. not terribly difficult (even for me as someone who's bad at these kinds of things), at least the beginning bits i played. i just can't maintain interest in these things. has some kind of mysterious story.

BEACON - top-down action game where you run around shooting robots. no story. has an interesting dna upgrade system type thing and a nice slick look and aesthetic. items and upgrades have well-written flavor text.

Celeste - this game has won a lot of awards and lots of people say it is very good! i gave it a try and discovered that i still do not like platformers, especially not ones where you have to jump off walls.

Flat Kingdom - puzzleish actionish platformerish. you change shapes to do various puzzles. didn't click with me.

Haque - top down pixel art roguelike thing w glitch effects. shrugs.

Micro Mages - 2d pixelgraphics platformer. autoscroller also.

Nuclear Throne - topdown shooter roguelike type thing.

Oikospiel Book I - you know that experimental arty music thats just like, people screeching and banging on pots and pans and stuff? this is like that but in video game form. it's some kind of avant-garde art thing and is completely incomprehensible to me. feels like being trapped in a neural network's nightmare

Sky Rogue - a flight simulator where you fire missiles at things. pretty nice retro ps2-feeling aesthetic and peppy music

WitchWay - pixel art puzzle platformer.

every game

2064: Read Only Memories - point-and-click in theory, visual novel in practice. this one's pretty popular but it didn't grab me! there's no auto-scrolling feature for the text, which is displayed one very short sentence at a time, so it's just frustratingly low. not much to do besides read the flavor text (which i didn't find interesting) and follow the story (which i also didn't find interesting). shrugs!

A Mortician's Tale - short visual novel about being a mortician. not much else to it. it's fine.

A Short Hike - this game is lovely! very pleasant soothing vibes. you play as a bird going on a hike in a national park. you make friends on your way to the top of the mountain. it's very pretty and nice to explore, and the characters are all quite sweet. it's bigger than i thought it would be when i started! not huge, of course, but sizable. it reminds me of breath of the wild and animal crossing. i love to climb up a mountain and glide down and fetch things for people. vv good stuff.

Airships: Conquer The Skies - kinda complicated steampunk-ish ship-building strategy combat/resource management game. you build an airship and then fight other airships with it. i found it kind of janky and frustrating as well as being overly fiddly. i did like that you can customize your airship a lot and make it look really stupid, though. no story as far as i can tell.

Anodyne - a zeldaish top-down pixelly adventure game. not terribly difficult (even for me as someone who's bad at these kinds of things), at least the beginning bits i played. i just can't maintain interest in these things. has some kind of mysterious story.

Arcade Spirits - visual novel w/ dating sim components about working in an arcade. has voice acting and decent art. juvenile and cheesy and not especially interesting. i found the writing annoying and didn't like any of the characters so i dropped it pretty quick.

Art Sqool - a drawing game! walk around a weird colorful 3D environment and do art assignments for your AI art teacher. interesting visuals, very funky, and definitely worth a try.

BEACON - top-down action game where you run around shooting robots. no story. has an interesting dna upgrade system type thing and a nice slick look and aesthetic. items and upgrades have well-written flavor text. i hate this kind of game but it seems good for people who like that kind of thing?

Beglitched - a super cute match-3-ish game, simultaneously simple and challenging. i got stuck so i havent finished it, but i like it! colorful and fun. you are doing favors for a glitch witch, defeating hackers and spammers with puzzles.

Catlateral Damage - no story. just a cat going on a rampage knocking stuff over. pretty fun! not terribly engaging, but it's not trying to be. lots of cute cat pictures and collectibles, so it's good if you're into that kind of completionism collecty type stuff.

Celeste - this game has won a lot of awards and lots of people say it is very good! i gave it a try and discovered that i still do not like platformers, especially not ones where you have to jump off walls.

Changeling - a pretty good straight visual novel. pretty much a YA fantasy novel, complete with secretly faerie snarky teen girl protagonist, handsome vampires, and basically everything you'd expect from that kind of thing. it's decent and has a lot of story content outside of the heterosexual romance options, and i think every romance route has multiple non-romantic friendship endings. LOTS of endings to unlock. not Amazing, but totally fine. good for people who like stuff like the spiderwick chronicles or shadowhunters. too straight for me to play more than one route (i did ewan's), but decent enough that i finished his route.

Cook, Serve, Delicious 2!! - like nitw, you probably know this one already, but it deserves a recommendation nonetheless. it's great! immensely enjoyable followup to csd. fast-paced cooking/restaurant simulator game where you use the keyboard to make food. i've been playing this on steam for years and love it; there's funny flavor text and a lot to do. no story, just food.

Crashed Lander - i couldn't get my computer to open this. i'll try again sometime.

Democratic Socialism Simulator - a simulator game where you have a job that I DIDNT like. it's fine, just kinda boring. too simple. art and ui are fine but nothing special.

Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor - i'm so excited that this was in the bundle! diaries of a spaceport janitor is an underappreciated gem. a scifi simulator game about being a spaceport janitor, haunted by a skull that screams at you all the time. walk around, incinerate trash, pray, buy things, sell things, avoid the cops, write in your diary every day. the visuals are really outstanding. this is one of those games that's nice to just play to walk around looking at stuff.

Dujanah - abstract arty existential mixed-media game about loss and war and machines and a bunch of stuff; you play as dujanah, who is trying to find out what happened to her husband and daughter (who were shot to death). it's sad and strange and uncomfortable and v good. features claymation, felt, pencil drawings, glitch art, and a super strange soundtrack. very weird but not as weird as, like, oikospiel. apparently the content and story stuff can vary from playthru to playthru and it has multiple endings maybe? lagged a bit on my laptop but wasn't unplayable.

Dungeons and Lesbians - dating game, kind of? it only takes about twenty minutes to finish a "route" . I found the writing annoying and tryhardish. would not recommend, but I guess since it's less than half an hour long like..... whatever lol

EXTREME MEATPUNKS FOREVER - decently written and fairly interesting, bad but skippable gameplay, not finished and doesn't hang together super well bc of how much of the character interactions are skippable. or maybe it's supposed to be mysterious? can't rly tell.

Flat Kingdom - puzzleish actionish platformerish. you change shapes to do various puzzles. just didn't click with me.

From Orbit - tower defense/resource-gathering strategy game in space w/ procedurally generated levels. no tutorial so it's kind of confusing trying to figure out what you're doing?? gathering rocks and getting killed by aliens mostly it seems. it's pretty hard, has no story, but has a fairly slick look and v simple UI.

Fugue In Void - another abstract artsy type thing that I don't Get. it starts with a ten minute video that's mostly shapes slowly moving around and then you walk around some rooms. apparently it's only like an hour long but I got lost and was not invested enough in it to try and get unlost

Gladiabots - programming-esque game where u make robots do fights. boring and kinda complicated. probably great if you like that kinda thing though?? no story or characters, not much color or aesthetic

Haque - top down pixel art roguelike thing w glitch effects. shrugs.

Highway Blossoms - f/f visual novel about a desert road trip slash treasure hunt. the love interest girl is the stupidest person on the planet and acts like a child so I stopped after like half an hour. maybe good if you like that kind of "born sexy yesterday" romance I Guess??

ISLANDS: Non-Places - a series of surreal interactive art pieces making already-eerie nonplaces (parking lot, baggage claim, waiting room) somewhat more unsettling. lots of ambient rustling and clicking and beeping noises. i thought it was nice but strange. idk if it's really a "game" but it's a neat little thing anyway! i have a particular weird fondness for liminal spaces and media that explores and emphasizes those things can be hard to come by, so it was oddly appealing to me specifically.

Kids - weird half hour long thing where you just like push stick figures into pits. more an animation than a game. it's fine I guess? kinda satisfying.

Last Word - a comedy rpg set at a mysterious dinner party at a mansion (sort of like in clue), in a world where conversations are fights and getting the last word gives you power. unique and fun gameplay! there's some fun details to poke around at and it's a really neat concept.

LAZA KNITEZ!! - a jousting action game. no story just driving around with laser lances and guns smashing into other little guys. Fine but not my thing

Lenna's Inception - a zeldaish game but the hero dies so some lady has to save the day instead. seems fine but I don't especially like old pixelly Zelda games

Long Gone Days - a very good-looking rpg about war and belonging! it's still in development, but what does exist (about 7-8 hours of game) is great. i really enjoyed this. it's fairly dark and very violent, but it still has a lot of Friendship and isn't completely bleak. which is nice, for a near-future scifi military dystopia, haha. there's some interesting mechanical stuff going on, as well - no random encounters at all and a system where you have to manage your party's morale, which both work just fine.

Loot Rascals - a roguelikeish thing that I ENJOYED?? shocking! fun colorful card-based game where you're in space. procedurally generated levels, permadeath, but w a neat and simple and intuitive combat system. I'm bad at it cuz it's hard but it is fun imo

MewnBase - its dont starve but youre a cat on the moon and theres no monsters (at least not in the tutorial version) p good but i dont rly like dont starve that much

Micro Mages - 2d pixelgraphics platformer. autoscroller also

MidBoss - top-down turnbased pixelart dungeon crawler thing. you're a demon who lives in an adventuring dungeon. couldn't get the hang of the controls.

Milkmaid of the Milky Way - a short (2 hours? maybe less?) point-and-click written entirely in rhyme, about a girl and her cows who get abducted by aliens. short n sweet n nice to look at!

Minit - puzzleish adventhreish little game where you die every 60 seconds. a lot of fun and doesn't take a lot of brain energy or time, without feeling annoyingly easy!

Mu Cartographer - rather opaque game in which you try to figure out how to operate a weird fiddly alien interface while looking at a bunch of wiggly colors to piece together tiny bits of story. intriguing but made me nauseous, and the pieces of story you get are like 2-3 sentences so it seems like it'd be p time-consuming to get a better picture of whats going on.

Night In The Woods - melancholy exploration game where you walk around a small town feeling bad. friendship good, capitalism bad. pretty sad. it's about poverty and mental illness and being a 20-something. you've probably already heard about this one a lot, it's won a lot of awards and is rather popular. but like just so you know it deserves all the praise and is indeed That Good!

NIGHT OF THE CONSUMERS - first-person jumpscarey horror game where you work at a retail store. couldn't figure out the controls and got jumpscared and found the look of it offputtingly ugly. not my thing.

No Delivery - another horror game about having a job, this time at a fnaf-esque pizza place with animatronics and stuff. a little confusing but i thought it was fine and reasonably enjoyable! no jumpscares, just a kinda silly "chuck e cheese but everythings covered in BLOOOOD" vibe. it's not actually trying very hard to be scary and is more like a kinda undertaleish vibe where you're just kinda palling around with ghosts n stuff. will probably play more of this one at some point.

Nuclear Throne - topdown shooter roguelike type thing. idk.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch - NOBODY SUSPECTS A THING. remember qwop? kinda like that. you are an octopus disguised as a man. you must flail your way through life without arousing suspicion, which is difficult because you are an octopus. very silly and very fun. an absolute classic. if you like goat simulator, untitled goose game, or anything along those lines, it's definitely worth a shot!

Odd Realm - top-down pixelly colony-building/resource management sim. kinda complicated and dull, didn't feel like finishing the tutorial. dont rly like these kinds of things, too slow and too much to keep track of. nice music though!

Oikospiel Book I - you know that experimental avant-garde music thats just like, people screeching and banging on pots and pans and stuff? this is like that but in video game form. it's some kind of avant-garde art thing and is completely incomprehensible to me. feels like being trapped in a neural network's nightmare

One Night Stand - an Actually Good visual novel! a short and small but detail-rich character study. you play as a hungover dude who wakes up in a girls bed with no idea who she is. you can poke around her stuff and talk to her to try and figure out who she is and what's going on. it has stylish rotoscoped animations that i found v appealing. a thing centering around m/f content has to be pretty damn good for me to recommend it, and this is that.

Overland - resource management/survival simulatorish game, a little bit like oregon trail and a little bit like the walking dead. zombie apocalypse roadtrip with weird rock monsters instead of zombies. any game where you can have a dog in your party is a good game imo. somewhat difficult but not maddeningly so. party members can permadie but you can also start each level over as many times as you want and it's turn-based, so it's got a nice strategy-puzzle setup that i like.

Pikuniku - a colorful simple puzzle-adventure-exploration kind of game. i played it on the switch! it's quite short and doesn't have a lot going on, but it's a fun little game and made me smile a lot when i played it. there's collectibles and lots of cute blobby fellas to pal around with.

Secret Little Haven - VERY VERY GOOD. MADE ME CRY. actual tears. the video game equivalent of holding a delicate baby bird in your hands. a trans teenager in 1999 talks to her online friends for a few days. it's so so sweet and the writing is so eerily accurate and it's so nostalgic and just... like... so sweet. a rare instance of a story about a trans person that i think would be legible and important and useful for cis people to engage with and was still appealing and engaging for me (a trans person). absolutely deserves to be on any representation-focused rec list. there are some flashing & screenshaking effects that might be nauseating or migraine-/headache-inducing - they can be turned down in the settings but not turned off completely as far as i can tell.

Sky Rogue - a flight simulator where you fire missiles at things. pretty nice retro ps2-feeling aesthetic and peppy music

The Space Between - extremely tiresome pretentious narrative game about a dude wandering around w/ retro ps1 graphics. so dull I didn't bother to finish it even though I think it's quite short. would not recommend.

Walden, A Game - first-person walking-sim/exploration game where you play as henry david thoreau, wandering around walden pond for some reason. it crashed twice when i was opening it and it runs very poorly on my computer, apparently because the game has recreated the entirety (??) of walden pond in a lot of detail and is very beefy. you can look at & identify plants and animals. has a lot of what i assume is direct quotation from thoreau's writing and letters sent to him. a nice idea seemingly well executed, but i do not care about thoreau and have been to walden pond in person many times, so all the plants and animals are already familiar and not especially interesting. maybe nice if you have a hankering for a walk in the woods and also really love thoreau?

Wheels of Aurelia - road trip/dialogue game set in Italy in the 70s. really nice art but extremely janky? I cannot figure out how I'm supposed to play it so the dialogue makes sense and am having a very hard time piecing together what it's about.

Wide Ocean Big Jacket - a short narrative game about two tweens and two adults on a camping trip. i liked it a bunch and thought it was nice!

WitchWay - pixel art puzzle platformer. shrugs.

other fave games

i know i generally like to know what kinds of things people like when i'm looking at recommendations they're making. i mean, it'll come through in the recs regardless, but still. my taste in things is kind of eclectic and i'm not very good at explaining it in broad terms, so i thought it'd be potentially helpful to put a list of Games I Like in here so you can get an idea of how/if our tastes align. these aren't in any particular order.

mainstream bignames


Persona 3 & Persona 4
Breath Of The Wild
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
The Sims 4
The World Ends With You
Professor Layton
Ace Attorney
Portal & Portal 2
Mass Effect 1, 2, & 3

indie games


Papers, Please
Long Live The Queen
Black Closet
Sunless Sea
Cook, Serve, Delicious! & Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!
Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor
Recettear
The Yawhg
80 Days
Return of the Obra Dinn
Hypnospace Outlaw
The Shrouded Isle
Massive Chalice
Undertale