“It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Released: 15th October 2020
10mg is a collaborative effort by a selection of indie game developers who have worked together to bring players a collection of ten short minigames each designed to take around ten minutes to complete with the overall goal of creating an appetite for short games! Admirably, the short format is intended to give developers the freedom to experiment and try out original ideas without worrying about alienating players or the pressures and risks associated with large financial or time investments.
The 10mg Minigames
This 10mg minigame consists of a series of microgames, all of which are unique takes on nostalgic classics such as Atari’s Breakout and the OG mobile game Snake! Each game contains a twist, such as a golf hole that chases you back, allowing the game to feel fresh despite the plethora of retro influences. Although the prospect of so many separate activities within such a short game may feel chaotic, each section is connected and leads seamlessly into the next making for a smooth and enjoyable experience.
Always Down is ‘a game about going away’ and is made up of simple puzzles, cute enemies and light platforming challenges. The player controls a cube-shaped character who, after declaring that they are leaving proceeds to descend deeper into the ground, undergoing subtle changes the deeper they go. The game uses simple pixel art aesthetic to portray the varying environment and matches this well with relaxing classical music. Despite a few hurdles, the overall experiences was pleasant and somewhat meditative with a thought-provoking conclusion.
Locked In is a dramatic two-player marriage simulator set during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. Each player takes on the role of either Jerome or Sarah, both good parents with different ideas about how to help their vulnerable daughter during this complicated and challenging time. The question is whether or not they can cooperate, maintain a civil discussion, make compromises and ultimately reach an amicable decision. This 10mg title is particularly poignant at the moment and does a fantastic job of building tension in a short amount of playtime.
You are such a Soft and Round Kitten
As the title suggests, players of this game adopt the persona of a soft and round kitten on an explorative mini adventure through a variety of rooms filled with mysterious doors, gravity-defying ladders and adorable critters such as magical cats and helpful frogs! The game’s cute styling is prominent in both the colourful art style, charming sound effects and the energetic audio, this is a stand out feature of the game and gives it a very jolly feel overall.
HANDMADE DEATHLABYRINTH issue 0
This 10mg instalment is a challenging adventure RPG dungeon crawler and top-down shooter that likens itself to Dark Souls (if Dark Souls was ten minutes long)! HANDMADE DEATHLABYRINTH issue 0 has an unusual but well-implemented style and makes use of simple pixel art in glorious 160×144 resolution and a limited colour palette to represent the dark, cavernous locations and wizardly foes. This game certainly presents a challenge and even a tad frustrating at times with failure resulting in a return to the beginning, this does, however, make success highly satisfying!
Stroke is a dramatic interactive fiction about a man rushing his wife to the hospital after a suspected stroke with his young son and father-in-law in tow. The protagonist must navigate the complexities of the difficult and emotional situation and decide how best to support his family. Whilst ten minutes is perhaps too short a time to really delve into the intricacies of the situation or the medical condition itself the game touches on the subject matter and themes with sensitivity and is a gently moving experience overall.
SNAAAK is a short Snakevania about incarnating a formless critter delving into the bowels of a forgotten laboratory. Another iteration of mobile game Snake, the game explores different takes on the core mechanics and allows the player to roam a relatively extensive Metroidvania setting in a non-linear fashion.
Sealed Estate branches a number of genres, it could be loosely defined as a visual novel, it is also a top-down adventure game with dungeon crawler vibes and a stylised psychological horror. This is quite the feat for a ten-minute game especially as the different aspects don’t make this 10mg title feel cluttered and instead meld in a sort of trippy harmony. This eclectic mix of game styles is mirrored in the minimalist but varied art styles and also in the mechanics and gameplay.
Cover Me in Leaves
Cover Me in Leaves is a text-based interactive fiction that explored mature and potentially upsetting themes in a way that feels like poetry, metaphorical and philosophical and definitely thought-provoking. The visuals are highly stylised with high contrast, saturated and heavily manipulated photography combined with unique and original artwork that fit the abstract nature of the text perfectly and compliment the short but poignant experience.
Slasher Interrupted is a text-based interactive fiction in which the player becomes the storyteller! Sat around a campfire attempting to regale friends with a spooky story, the protagonist Emily perseveres through interruptions and suggestions and does her best to tell a tale that entertains everyone. The play must choose between the friends’ narrative recommendations and help Emily stay on track. This 10mg game was a fun little experience that provides an interesting twist on the choose your own adventure genre and also boasts replayability.
Overall, the 10mg collection is a fantastic mix of short and entertaining games spanning a vast array of styles and genres. The aim of championing shorter games and directing a positive light on minimalist gaming experiences is an admirable diversion from the seemingly increasing demand for AAA titles with several hundred hours of gameplay. Less is often more, the talented developers involved in this project have absolutely proven this to be true and I’d happily recommend any or all of the short games included in this collaborative collection.
Looking for more short, enjoyable gaming experiences, take a look at the following article:
Free Indie Games to Play in 30 Minutes or Less