A Playdate Fantasy Season2023/09/29
The Playdate is a tiny yellow handheld that includes a season of twenty-four games, delivered in pairs on a weekly schedule throughout your first twelve weeks with the console. Beyond that season there is a much larger library of games to be bought from Catalog (the official Playdate store) or sideloaded from other sources like Itch.
While there is no official word yet on a "season two", I thought it'd be fun to put together a fantasy season made up from those other games! With two games per week I decided to pair up games made using the full Playdate SDK with games made using Pulp, the Playdate's web-based game editor. I've also included two of my own games, because who wouldn't fantasise about that?
A Joke That's Worth $0.99
Very silly, slightly frustrating, and definitely funny, the crank controlled playdate-inside-your-playdate makes this the perfect gamified tutorial for playing with the crank.
kamibox - play.date
Another compelling part of the Playdate pitch is it being open to new developers making unique, interesting experiences. What better way then to open than with EYELAND. A carefully handcrafted walk-and-talk adventure where every screen ends up feeling like a little work of art.
When people see the crank, they want to go fishing. Reel-isitic Fishing delivers on that dream! The game is a clear labour of love and should catch anyone's attention.
ToadleyUnderControl - itch.io
The Fall of Elena Temple
Puzzle-platforming with crank-base time reversal, this is the kind of indie game that the Playdate was surely made for! Week two of the season aims to give players exactly what they'd hoped for from the Playdate.
GrimTalin - itch.io
The portable form factor and temptingly tactile crank lend themselves to entertaining little apps as much as they do more traditional videogames. Enter Music Box, a concept so instantly obvious it's a wonder the Playdate wasn't made specifically for it.
Tizian Zeltner - itch.io
Conquest of Helios
Something of a Game Boy throwback, this unassuming single-screen strategy game hits that right level of complexity to feel rewarding without being overwhelming to learn and rounds out the variety of genres in the early season!
Jongjungbu - itch.io
A simple, addictive, crank controlled high-score chaser, Crunky is pure fun that'll keep you coming back throughout the rest of the season.
Carson K. - itch.io
A tiny but fully formed adventure on a mysterious island, Woodland does an awful lot with very little and is all the more loveable for it.
thatsmaik - itch.io
Stars of the Screen
Maybe it's Word Art Punk, or Windows 95 Nostalgia. Whatever you call it, Stars of the Screen gives life to all of the secrets that you imagined might exist when you sat mesmerised by the 3D Maze screensaver on your parent's computer. Playdate at its weirdest and best!
Time From Earth
An sci-fi adventure with a worthy environmental message, the cast of characters come alive over the course of several in-game days. A sleeper hit for week five!
Pixel Ghost - itch.io
We're only halfway through the season, but this is the only game you'll ever need on your Playdate. An endlessly replayable endless 3D runner!
Oiffy - play.date
My own pocket size creation, Resonant Tale brings a handcrafted puzzle box world full of secrets to your Playdate. A proper multi-hour adventure for the mid-season!
The King's Dungeon
The genre variety continues into the second half of the season with this mini metroidvania. Once your done with the game, dive into the dev's video tutorials and start making your own games for Playdate!
SquidGod - itch.io
Along Came A Spider
Cranking up and down a spider web puts a unique mechanical spin on this Pulp-made arachnid adventure with multiple endings to discover.
Legend of Etad
Keep a pen and paper to hand for this old school dungeon crawler. The first person visuals are sure to impress!
More mysteries abound in The Keyper as you explore a physics-defying apartment block inhabited by increasingly unusual occupants. At least one of this week's games will have you reaching for a guide, in the best kind of retro way!
This season is great, I hear you say, but where are the classic dice games? Yoshimi has you covered with Yoshimi Yahtzee, a very polished digital recreation perfect for a casual pick up and play. A pleasant, relaxing contrast with this week's pairing!
Yoshimi Games - itch.io
Horror fans will find Nightingale worth the wait in the season with an excellent and thought provoking exploration of its themes around a false sense of safety. Beware the content warning, and otherwise enjoy!
KodiakGamesATX - itch.io
Loituma Girl Playdate
It's a new spin on leekspin in this unashamedly silly interactive recreation of the vintage internet meme. What better way to justify your luxury console purchase? No, don't answer that!
PacoLabs - itch.io
A properly retro fantasy action adventure that should satisfy players of all ages. It might take some time to learn, but SUKIMA never outstays its welcome!
ambientworks.jp - devforum.play.date
Another score chaser to round out the season's selection, BazookaCat relies on both crank and d-pad input, something by this point you'll be well prepared for!
Kuromenon - itch.io
Daedalus Versus Minotaur
Pass-the-Playdate multiplayer in a fully 3D first person Pulp game? That's the surprising pitch for another of my games snuck into this fantasy season.
Orange Thief Ltd - itch.io
By week twelve you think you know what the Playdate is capable of... and then P-Racing blows you away. A marvel of development and packed full of features, P-Racing will keep you playing well into the weeks beyond!
Risolvi Productions - play.date
The perfect season swansong, this art gallery offers up plenty of opportunity for reflection, while the many minigames and references to other titles provide a glimpse ahead into the wider Playdate world!