Almost all PC gamers have an appreciation for Steam (and a hefty backlog to match), but Valve’s utter dominance over the digital marketplace draws attention away from equally exciting storefronts such as itch.io. With a focus on independent titles, itch.io has a massive library of games – many of which are not available on Steam yet! Here are some that are worth your time.
16 Bit Rally (Windows) $2.99 AUD / $2.53
Did you love racing games back on the SNES and Genesis? If so, then 16 Bit Rally should be right up your alley. Your goal is to race around the world and vie for the top spot against 19 other challengers. Each race you’re given points (to improve leaderboard standing) and cash winnings to spend on upgrading your car or buying a new one outright. Upgrades increase your vehicle’s speed, acceleration, and handling, but they only go so far. At some point you’ll need to plunk down thousands on a new car. The third and final car allows you to max out all stats and wreck the competition – until they upgrade too. 16 Bit Rally offers solid racing for different skill levels and tons of tracks.
Abomination Tower (Windows, Mac) $5.00 AUD / $4.22
It’s hard to turn down a platformer as charming as Abomination Tower. The game stars a being known as Headless who, predictably, lacks a cranium. His aim is to climb the tower and collect floating eyeballs. Of course, since he doesn’t have a head, you’ll have to use yours to help him dodge monsters and spikes. When you get to the top the game seemingly resets, but you might notice a new “head” hanging on the wall on your way back through. Eyeballs unlock heads with different skill sets that can then be plopped on your abomination’s shoulders and worn throughout a level. For example, the “Save My Butt” head allows players one extra hit before dying. Each procedurally-generated level is tough, but with perseverance you’ll eventually get ahead.
Zero Memory (Windows, Mac, Linux) $1.56
Milton Bradley’s memory game Simon is one of the most elegant toys ever conceived, and Zero Memory converts it into a video game while imbuing it with a distinct personality. There are two main modes: Long Term and Short Term. Long Term starts players off with a single note, and each correct answer adds another note to the chain. Short Term, on the other hand, provides varying patterns that switch up upon successful copying. Zero Memory succeeds because it offers players several cues to remember. Of course there are the visual clues of a pixel square lighting up, but each corresponds to a different sound that’s distinct enough to remind you what comes next in a sequence. The game’s simple aesthetics make playing as straightforward as can be.