“Collaborations work best this way; when there’s a mutual desire to see what the other side adds. You know that what you’re making on your own has value but the sum is more than the parts and every part knows it.” – Questlove
What is The Care Package Bundle?
The Care Package Bundle is a selection of games by a diverse range of developers and curated by JUSTCAMH. Created in the wake of the absolute mess that was 2020, the aim of this bundle is to help spread some positivity and joy this year and break the monotonous blues of ongoing lockdowns.
Released: 10th March 2021
Available on: itch.io
The Care Package Bundle Games
Adventure for a Bit
Adventure for a Bit is a relaxing world generator powered by a loveable AI character called Bit. The AI will generate an environment for the player to rate as either ‘good’, ‘bad’, or ‘meh’ as well as requesting feedback on things such as ‘detail’, ‘variation’ and ‘weird shapes’! The scores and responses given by the player will then influence the next generated world as Bit continues to learn about the player’s preferences.
The game and generated environments have a basic aesthetic using simple shapes and textures but the abstract style and vibrant colours give Adventure for a Bit a distinct look that matches its understated synth soundtrack brilliantly. However, Bit is the highlight of the game, the cute and jolly AI endears itself with wholesome and sometimes funny dialogue teamed with an eagerness to get to know the player and please them with generated worlds.
Overall, Adventure for a Bit is an ideal inclusion in The Care Package Bundle. It is a short and unique game that will leave players feeling positive, just as intended!
Lonely People Potion Shop
The Lonely People Potion Shop is as much about emotions and interactions as it is alchemy! A visual novel about mental health, wellbeing and potions, it puts the player in the role of a local witch, selling their magical wares from a quaint shop, tucked away in a remote part of the forest!
As the days progress, there are a plethora of interesting characters that visit the shop, from wizards to adventurers to magical creatures. They all want potions, but also company, or a listening ear, or respite. Brewing the potions is a colourful and satisfying process with a wide range of possibilities, such as adventure potions and wellbeing potions but exchanging stories with the patrons is the highlight of the game. There is tenderness to how the game handles mental health, subjects like depression and anxiety are approached sensitively, creating a meditative experience overall. There are quite a few errors in the English but the dialogue and inherent story are engaging and nicely written overall.
The game matches the mood of its narrative with relaxing piano music playing over echoey undertones and calming aesthetics. The charming pixel art is minimalistic but often mesmerising with its animations and vibrant use of colour!
Without shying away from difficult subject matter, Lonely People Potion Shop manages to be a positive and uplifting experience and playing it feels akin to self-care! It is not only perfectly at home in The Care Package Bundle, but a highlight amongst it!
Lil’ Bugventures is a wholesome Metroidvania set in a land of ladybugs and leafy things! Players take on the role of a specific ladybug and must find various seeds in order to utilise their refined botany skills and progress through the game world.
The game itself is mildly challenging but it has simple and smooth controls, just the arrow keys, Z and X to move, fly, plant and pick things. The cute little ladybug must traverse labyrinthine environments finding seeds to grow things such as umbrella sprouts and floating lilypads with which to overcome a variety of obstacles including treacherous rain and deep pits! Ona more positive note though, there are plenty of bug friends to encounter and talk with along the way!
The moody pixel art of Lil’ Bugventures creates a nice contrast with its wholesome gameplay, however vibrant splashes add a hint of playfulness against the darker colour palette. There are some ambient sound effects, the ladybug’s wings flapping being a personal favourite. The soundtrack is relaxing and retro, with electronic long notes dotted with an equally minimal but more jovial string of short notes, like a more melancholy version of the music from Ecco the Dolphin!
Overall, Lil’ Bugventure is a satisfying, non-violent and positive game that is sure to put a smile on your face.
Magnum Opus X
Magnum Opus X is a fun platformer and shooter with a distinctly casual feel that puts it right at home in the Care Package Bundle. Players take on the role of an unnamed protagonist that evokes a Cuphead gangsta and must jump, run and blast through enemy-filled sections with the titular weapon, the Magnum, model name – Opus!
The game has a nice pace to it, ensuring it poses enough of a challenge to be entertaining without being in any way stressful. Its gameplay features smooth platforming and satisfying combat elements of gameplay, with timers that dictate the amount of currency received on completion. This in turn is used for weapon upgrades that are essential to progression.
The game does fall down a bit in terms of the dialogue, it is clunky in places, with errors in the English and overexplains certain mechanics and controls. Similarly, there is no sense of individual characters or personalities amongst the various NPCs that are encountered.
Magnum Opus X has a fun and energetic soundtrack, and while it lacks in variation it fits the gameplay and tone of the game really well and matches the simple but effective sound effects. However, one of the highlights of the game is the pixel art, depicting interesting and varied scenery in a clear and visually appealing way with thoughtful colour palettes that create a really cohesive aesthetic overall.
Magnum Opus X is one of the more fast-paced games in The Care Package Bundle but is still fairly restrained as far as other games in the genre go. It’s a balanced mix of action and relaxation making it a unique inclusion that will appeal to a range of players.
Remnant’s Last Journey
Simply put, Remnant’s Last Journey is a platformer with a flag. Players must use the flag as a pole vault to jump around and overcome challenges, the ultimate goal being to help friends ascend into their next life!
The game starts off pleasantly but the introduction of the all-important flag leads to some difficulty. The demo has such a steep difficulty curve that even the second section was unfinishable and while this is due to be fixed for the full version it’s uncertain how much this will improve the situation and I expect the game to remain incredibly challenging. The controls are fixed and really rather intuitive and require some serious levels of hand-eye coordination. The arrow keys need to be used for movement and WASD to control the flag. Additionally, the flag must be pointed down to jump, meaning that using WASD feels inverse to the arrow keys making for some laborious and frustrating gameplay for anyone that doesn’t specifically like coordination challenges.
The visuals were the highlight of the game as it is aesthetically quite stunning. It uses a simplistic art style with clear, crisp lines, and solid shapes that are teamed perfectly with a minimal colour palette consisting of contrasting but complementary colours giving a really distinct and original look.
Remnant’s Last Journey is far from the most relaxing game in the bundle and certainly not for everyone. However, for those that enjoy the specific type of challenge that it presents, it will be a very rewarding and satisfying experience.
HappBee’s buzzy protagonist may just be the cutest, jolliest and most determined little bee in indie game history! Players take on the role of this little bee, too scared to fly high and must defeat the swarms of mosquitoes that terrorise the land!
To progress on the mission, players must also collect pollen in order to activate portals to new levels, culminating against a phased boss fight against the mosquito king! This requires a little use of strategy but is not too challenging, the bee has a few different moves including jump, dash and sting and all need to be utilised here. Additionally, while the game has no save system, it does have checkpoints meaning that deaths are not too punishing.
HappBee has a cute, colourful art style, with vibrant natural environments made up of mostly rounded shapes giving it a somewhat wholesome feel. Likewise, the upbeat but gentle soundtrack matches the friendly overall aesthetic.
Despite the combat, HappBee is a delightfully upbeat game with a simple but optimistic narrative that leaves the player feeling positive. It sits perfectly within The Care Package Bundle and was a personal favourite of mine (of course we like the bee game!).
Monke Jazz has the player restore a forgotten coastal town with the power of jazz. Casually strolling around as a cute and jolly little monkey, playing some tunes on the sax to help the locals. There are also seagulls so mind your chips!
From a brief preview, Monke Jazz seems to be one of the more challenging games in The Care Package Bundle, players must fend off negativity, in the form of shadowy enemies by playing rapid sequences of notes on the saxophone using the arrow keys. Moving around using WASD as the fiends attack from all directions can quickly become overwhelming, especially as a single touch from one will result in death!
The music in unsurprisingly jazzy, subtly playing sporadically in the background as the player improvises saxophone tunes over the top. There are also some lovely ambient sound effects such as the aforementioned seagulls and the soothing sounds of the waves. The art style is amongst the most unique in the bundle with its soft cartoon style and distinct and vibrant colour palette of oranges, reds, pinks and purples. The overall effect is somewhat retro and brilliantly matches the musical elements and create an original overall aesthetic.
Monke Jazz is an enjoyable, but not always relaxing, game about a little monkey, just trying to help people in a disregarded seaside town. It offers something a little bit different in its ability to be both delightful and frantic and will provide players with a memorable gaming experience.
The Care Package Bundle is a diverse collection, created with the intention of giving people something positive, a selection of upbeat and relaxing ways to spend some time, in an accessible and affordable way. Buying all the games individually would cost $16.99 but the bundle sits at $7, less than half of their collective RRP! There is a range of genres, from visual novels, platformers and shooters with puzzles, alchemy, boss fights and more meaning that is bound to be something for everyone.
Overall, The Care Package Bundle is an uplifting collaboration, full of great games and is excellent value and I highly recommend checking it out!
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