One of the best resources for good, free games is definitely Itch.io, the Steam for indies. Today I’m introducing my Avant-Garden collectionon Itch.io, a collection of surreal, engrossing, and sometimes just lovably weird games that I love. And most of them are point-blank free!
Free Points is a series of weekly(ish) free game recommendations. The games may range from the most surreal of Alt Games to the most traditional of platformers; the only requirements for a Free Points game is that they’re free (real free, not free to play!) and very much worth your time.
What Is Avant-Garden?
Avant-Garden started out as “Cool Weird Games”, a collection I’d add every…cool, weird game I found into! I frequently use Itch.io to find interesting experiences for my YouTube, and after removing games from my “to review” queue, I liked to add them to another “worth playing” collection for others to see.
After a while I grew a bit tired of the old name, and I’ve noticed some of my favorite game developers don’t appreciate the simplicity of calling their games “weird” in general discourse—though I certainly don’t mean it as a negative myself! It is a bit frustrating to see fantastic, unique games reduced to “look at this weird crap I found!” on various big YouTubers’ channels, after all.
Looking for a better word, I came upon a fun pun and Avant-Garden was born. I find it encapsulates the feeling of a quick, meditative romp that many of these games offer, and matches the experience I have of cultivating and adding to the collection. I adore finding new games to add to my garden.
Not absolutely everything in Avant-Garden is free; many are Pay What You Want, some are premium, but most can be played free of charge. Itch.io collections helpfully list the price if any.
Escaped Chasm is a brand new, Pay What You Want game on itchio by Temmie Chang. You probably know her from Undertale, but this game is an unrelated project by Temmie herself!
I believe this guide is complete (the game’s fairly small), but as always if I missed anything please let me know in the comments! Or just let everyone know what you thought of the game.
Escaped Chasm Mini-Review
Escaped Chasm is a tiny but very engrossing little game. For the price of free and the light time investment of ~20 minutes for a playthrough, it’s very much worth a playthrough.
The game’s heavier and sadder themes may be a surprise to those already familiar with Temmie’s work, which makes the early impact of the game quite the hook.
While short the game makes great use of it’s time and leaves you feeling for our Lonely Protagonist. Some Temmie-Brand bits of humor are dotted throughout,
especially in the Developer Room!
While something of a prelude to a more complete game that may or may not happen, Escaped Chasm is a very intriguing romp through a puzzling world. Here’s hoping we’ll eventually see a follow up to answer the many questions the game leaves us with.
Escaped Chasm Walkthrough
Note there’s no save feature, it’s short and meant to be played in one go. Turn off Dash in the options before playing, it causes a bug and does not increase your walking speed.
The game doesn’t have combat or what would normally be considered puzzles, so play at your own pace and figure things out before resorting to the guide. I’ve written the fastest way to finish each day (for replays) and noted extra items to collect here.
You can hold down the Z key to speed up dialog you’ve already seen. Do not press X when at the Diary Menu, it ends the game. If the game crashes when you watch the TV, turn off dashing in the options menu. You can also control with the mouse instead of the keyboard.
All you have to do to finish this day is check on Melody (her snake) and read your diary, then you can go to bed.
Today it looks like YouTube is rolling out the long-awaited Copyright Match tool, which will let normal Creators deal with video-stealers. In the past it’s mostly just been larger companies that have been privy to Content ID and other more exclusive tools.
The tool was announced a while ago but (at least for me) just released and was added to the YouTube Studio Beta, where it can be found in the new Copyright section.
How Copyright Match Works
You’ll get an email when you have access to Copyright Match in the new Studio Beta dashboard. It’s not presently in the old Creator Studio.
You’ll be shown something like below, assuming you have any matches. It lists the videos, some metadata on them, and includes links to the video to see it. You should check the video manually to see the exact context it’s used in, though as you can see in the below images, my matches were all 100% direct rips with not so much as a commentary track or video edit of any kind.
All in all it was pretty simple for me; just 3 videos, all 100% start-to-finish rips of my own videos uploaded as their own, and on channels loaded exclusively with stolen videos. I selected all three, then you’re given a little form to fill out affirming that you’re the content owner:
Of note, the physical address of your channel/self is not given to the other party unless they attempt to sue you. This is a step up from the current process which would require a hard address. Granted, some people simply spoof information in the existing system.
After this form, a real, meat human reviews the case at YouTube, and only after this review is the video actually struck and removed. Theoretically this will reduce abuse, though it’s YouTube we’re talking about here so that remains to be seen.
There’s three main options when you get a match: Archive, Request Removal, and Contact.
Archive simply archives the match (use this when no action is needed), Contact lets you request removal manually or otherwise work things out by talking to the uploading channel without (yet) sending a strike.
Request Removal has two sub options; you can give a 7 day notice, or request immediate removal. With the 7 day notice, the other party has 7 days to remove the video before a strike. This is best used for cases where you truly do want the video down but for whatever reason don’t believe they channel deserves an instant hit, such as ignorant but not malicious misuse. The instant removal you can use for all your humdrum “yeah I’ll just copy paste this video and claim it as my own” stuff.
Generally speaking total mismatches/fair use/etc should be Archived, rude but not infringing videos should be Contacted (for example, a “react” style video that you’re okay with, except they didn’t even bother to link your channel in the description), and outright copied videos with malicious intent should be Removed.
Why The Copyright Match Tool Is Good
Copyright tools on YouTube have long exclusively been for large companies, like the ever-suing Viacom or “Blocked In Germany” GEMA. Copyright Match is the first time that regular creators will have any form of say in how their videos are used with a meaningfully effective process.
Notably, unlike Content ID not all matched videos are treated the same, since the creator (an actual human) has to review and select an action on each video.
This addresses the issue of Content ID where many people just wanted to claim videos of improper use, but end up netting everyone because Content ID is purely automated and has no concept of fair use. On top of that, many people won’t bother appealing either, as YouTube deliberately makes the process quite intimidating.
Hopefully this tool leads to the removal of a lot of these old scummy channels that have never been hit simply because normal people haven’t previously had a say in YouTube copyright issues. The three channels that stole my content for example were almost immediately identifiable as infringement, being filled with Let’s Play videos of multiple different people, podcasts, and even full episodes of TV shows.
What About Abuse?
Of course any new YouTube copyright tool carries the potential of abuse. I’m quite familiar with YouTube copyright abuses at an unfortunately personal level. But it’s pretty much all good news in this case due to a rather simple qualifier; you have to have been the first to upload the video to claim it.
This means that you can’t just upload someone else’s video after the fact and claim you’re the real owner; Copyright Match will only ever match newer videos matching an extremely high portion of your video.
Is it impossible to abuse? Well nothing’s impossible. A worst-case scenario I can easily think of would be a movie or game trailer being distributed to press outlets, then someone at the movie/game company deciding to strike all channels that uploaded the trailer they offered for distribution…but that’s not exactly good business sense.
A more realistic fear I have is the potential of recording a short clip of the intro or cutscenes of a video game and very quickly uploading them and potentially matching parts of Let’s Play and other gaming videos that include that segment.
You would have to be the first to do this and manage to trigger the match, then a real human at YouTube would have to approve your claim for it to actually go through. I’m not sure how practical this theoretical attack is, it’s just a potential example. As you can see there’s quite a few stops along the way.
All in all I would say this is at the very least, the most abuse-proof copyright/trademark related tool that YouTube has in their toolbox, considering abuse of their other tools.
In the past their copyright mechanisms have let anyone claim any video and appealing was incredibly difficult. This tool only lets you claim content you have actually uploaded before later uploaders, and lets you be human in your decision to remove it, contact the uploader, or just let it slide.
My Discord Server started playing Pokecord and it’s not exactly well documented, so I thought I’d make a guide with basics and commands to help people get going!
How Pokecord works is it pulls Pokemon data from Bulbapedia. Each pokemon has base stats, IVs, a Nature, Moves, and can potentially be Shiny (presumably at the standard astronomically low rate).
Pokemon can be traded and fought (1 v 1), and there’s no penalty for losing a fight and no reason not to catch or trade anything. There’s no winning or losing the game, so you can play as casually or intensely as you like.
Pokecord isn’t a perfect Pokemon clone however. Some important points to note: Pokemon do not have teams or abilities in Pokecord (right now). Your ability to earn money is limited to dueling (a pittance), voting for Pokecord daily on Discord Bots (kinda…icky), or selling pokemon on the ingame market (which is pretty weird).
Where To Play Pokecord
You can play on any Discord server that has Pokecord enabled. You can either invite the bot to your own server, join our server (we’re well moderated!), or join the official pokecord server (expect catching spawns to be incredibly competitive).
Spawns seem to be a combination function of time and how many messages posted, meaning a more active server means more pokemon—but also more competition to catch those pokemon. On fast, popular servers, mobile users have a pretty strong disadvantage compared to keyboard users.
Once the bot is in your server, pokemon will start to spawn based on time and number of posts. Type p!start to get started, then p!pick (starter name) to select a starter.
When a pokemon appears, the first to correctly p!catch it gets it. There’s no limit to how many pokemon you can get, so there’s no reason (other than politeness) to not catch a pokemon. In a server with friends, consider letting other players catch pokemon you already have (alternately, catch them and trade them to who wants them for free).
It helps to add all pokemon you’re planning to duel with to your favorites list, so you don’t have to go through the whole pokemon list every time. Pokemon are always referenced by number not name in commands, so this will help you find the numbers quickly.
Pokemon level just by chatting in a server with Pokecord active; only your active pokemon gets experience this way though, so be sure to p!select who you want to raise. Without an Everstone (in p!shop), Pokemon that can evolve via level will automatically evolve at that level with no cancel prompt.
Duels are very buggy but there is no harm in losing, so do them as much as you want. See the Duel Commands section below for pitfalls.
What’s Missing/Different In Pokecord
As far as I can tell these are the major differences/omissions from Pokecord
Teams/battles for more than 1v1 pokemon
Status/stat changing moves do not work at all
Pokemon gender, meaning some evolutions are presumably random? and some moves likely do not work
You can’t cancel evolutions manually, you must buy and hold an everstone
Held items only exist for evolving or preventing evolution
Abilities are also completely omitted
There is no breeding of pokemon
Mega Evolutions work differently and are semi-permanently activated out of battle. Use p!mega to toggle Mega Evolution state rather than having them hold the stone in battle.
Aside from selling pokemon (Team Rocket, anyone?) there’s no effective way to get money at a reasonable scale
Any pokemon can be a random spawn, including baby pokemon, legendary pokemon, starters, and evolved forms that aren’t usually available.
If you’ve never played a Randomizer before, the basic concept is to randomize some major gameplay aspects of a classic video game to enhance replayability and provide a new challenge for players who have already beaten, 100%, or even speedrun the base game.
Randomizers make particularly exciting things to speedrun, livestream, or race due to the unpredictability. I’ve streamed the Link to the Past Randomizer in the past and I’ll be streaming the Axiom randomizer tuesday!
In the case of Pozzum’s randomizer, it’s the item locations that are currently randomized. As a Metroidvania with multiple movement-based upgrades, that means how you get about the existing map can change drastically based on which items you get early (or late!). You can also randomize the enemies, if you enjoy death.
According to Pozzum, the project is briefly on hold while they build a new PC, but it’s still being worked on. Check the Releases page on Github to see the latest changes, and report issues so Pozzum can address them.
What It Does
Basic features of the current version (0.6.1.1):
Creates a separate randomAV.exe file to play without breaking the base game
Randomizes all item locations
Items, especially early on, are placed somewhat to keep the game possible
About 25% of seeds currently are impossible to complete however
Option to remove temporary one-way segments in Zi and Ukkin Na from the base game
This reduces the potential of impossible-to-escape situations
(Base game fun fact: the 1 way Zi fall isn’t actually one0way; if you savewarp you can return, a common speedrun strategy)
Option to randomize enemies too
This could get painful fast
Option to generate a list of spoilers for hints/etc
Optional Practice mode which gives all weapons/upgrades in early rooms to allow you to try out odd combinations to get used to gear you wouldn’t normally use early game
Note the program generates an alternate executable file for AV rather than altering your “clean” copy directly. Your “clean” game and randomizer share save files though, so be careful with them. You can copy and paste your save folder if you need more save slots or want to protect your pre-randomization saves.
If you don’t have Axiom Verge on PC, it’s actually free on Epic Games Store from now until Feb 21st 2019, so grab it quick! As said above, it won’t work yet, but you should be able to get it soon. Use that time to practice the base game.
Step by Step Install
Install Axiom Verge from Steam
Download the randomizer
Extract the randomizer somewhere you can find it (desktop etc)
Let it move it’s files to Appdata when it asks (avoids permissions issues)
The app will ask for your Axiom Verge installation file, you can find it by right clicking Axiom Verge’s entry in Steam, going to properties > Local Files > Browse Local Files… then selecting Axiomverge.exe
Now you’ll get the Randomizer’s main UI and can make a seed!
The first time you run it, you’ll have to manually run “randomAV.exe” within the Axiom Verge folder (find it via step 6) to get it to run, the run button in the randomizer won’t work the first time because of security stuff.
Start a new save file and you’re playing AV Randomized!
The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince just launched, so here’s a spoiler-free walkthrough for achievements and 100% completion! I loved the game (impressions video here) so I figured I’d help others enjoy it as well!
The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince Game Info
Title: The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PS4
Language: English, Japanese
Release date: 2019-02-12 (English)
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software, localized by NIS America
Price: $40 at launch
2019-02-14: Walkthroughs for Full Moon with the Prince, Chapter 5 and final boss added! Walkthrough complete!
2019-02-13: Chapter 4 walkthrough added. Added most enemy info.
2019-02-12: The game is released! The PS4 theme is free today
First and foremost, this is not a “Guide Dang It” game! Don’t worry about missables (there are none) and you should be able to beat most of the game without a guide, so try your best and come back if you get stuck or need something specific
You don’t have to complete a level/survive to keep Collectibles. If you touch a Petal or give a Flower to the prince, it’s saved even if you leave the stage
Try clearing a path of enemies before taking the prince along when possible
For Pacifist challenges, jump over small enemies in the way and you’ll usually be able to avoid them. Sometimes you have to be patient to wait for opportune enemy placement.
For Speed challenges, making a clean run through a level without any KOs or major mistakes is usually enough. You’ll usually be good on these your second playthrough if you remember what to do.
Mushrooms cary your momentum from when you jump; press jump after moving in a direction to jump much farther in that direction. It’s much harder to change course mid-jump
Drop gingerly off ledges with mushrooms below; it’s pretty easy to take fall damage from some of the spots
In certain circumstances, you may need to select Retry from the menu to return to your last checkpoint if you’re permanently separated from the prince or otherwise mess up a puzzle. Don’t worry, it doesn’t restart the whole level, just the checkpoint
If you’re really, really stuck, you can skip stages after 10 minutes (but there’s a walkthrough below, so you shouldn’t get stuck that long…)
Walkthrough (Spoiler Free)
Here you’ll find video walkthroughs of every level in the game with all story cutscenes removed, so no spoilers! Click the links to skip right to the relevant level or use the embed to see the whole chapter. I’ve also noted which levels have achievements specific to them.
Each level has 5 Petals to collect and some have one Flower; see the Stage Select menu in the game to see which you’re missing from which stages. I recommend a full playthrough before going back to re-collect Petals, you can do it at any time so no rush, and it’s more fun if you try to figure out the puzzles at least once yourself.
Mega Miracle Force (メガミラ) just released in Japan! Just like Makai Wars prior (and several Neptunia games) I figured I’d do a little import guide to help other players get going! This guide is still very much work in progress so expect big updates.
Feel free to contribute any information that’s missing or ask questions in the comments, or join our Discord to discuss Mega Miracle Force, Neptunia series, or other games in general!
Mega Miracle Force is a Compile Heart universe crossover game, with Hyperdimension Neptunia characters as well as characters and enemies from many of Compile Heart’s other games. It plays much like Makai Wars as a gachapon based mini-SRPG with auto-battle and various character-enhancing systems. In a very Compile Heart quirk, you equip CG images from the various games as “equipment”.
2019-02-07: Uzume and Tiara were added to the gacha. No rate up.
2019-02-06: Much more info added to the spreadsheet, best current CG reqs added to Items section.
2019-02-04: Starting to add more gameplay info about CGs, achievements etc. Icons were added to the spreadsheet for Characters/Items/CGs (Link Cards), thanks to everyone’s help on that! Info from the sheet is being worked into the guide. Added a lot of the item descriptions just now.
2019-02-03: Pseudo Cloud Save workaround discovered.
2019-02-02: Updated info on the save transfer feature (it’s not REALLY a cloud save yet), how to emulate the game (you don’t need a specific android version, just a recent one). Recommend android 7.1.2 for emulation, 5.1 freezes sometimes. Images added to the Characters/CGs/Items spreadsheet, thanks!
2019-02-01: Much more complete characters list/spreadsheet, thanks to the contributors! Added info on how to get the game working in emulator.
Some time in February Hirotune (Hiro from Spectral Force combined with Neptunia from Hyperdimension Neptunia) will be available as a 3* quest reward.
Next fusion will be a combo of Vert (Hyperdimension Neptunia) and Shina (Death End Re;Quest).
Mega Miracle Force Game Info
Title: Mega Miracle Force (メガミラ)
Platform: Android & iOS
Release date: 2019 (Japan)
Developer: Compile Heart (Official Site), NTT Plala Inc.
Price: Free to Play with IAP/Gachapon. No ads.
Genre: “Mobage” style collectable character RPG, SRPG
Filesize: 344 MB fully installed
Cloud Save: Kinda: See Cloud Save
Always Online: Yes, persistent internet connection required
Gambling element: Yes (standard character Gachapon a la FateGO etc.)
Battery Drain: ?
What is this, Seahorse Captain? What is this, Seahorse-Seashell party? Who didn’t invite me? Why didn’t I get invited?
Some adorable fan art by Big Tuna! Thank you so much. The “sketchy” line style lets it fit perfectly with Yoshi’s Island itself!
This one requires a little explanation, it’s from one of my Megaqarium livestreams where we decided Lumpsucker sounds more like an insult than a fish (it’s both now). I also, as I always do when I see seahorses, referenced Drinking Out Of Cups, which if you haven’t seen it, well you just have to see to understand.
This is a “mini guide” for Tap Tap Fish – AbyssRium, with only the New Year’s Gift Event (2018) information, split out to be faster & easier to load on mobile devices. Feel free to add to your homescreen for easy access!
See the main guide for a more comprehensive set of information.
If you enjoy my guides, please consider contributing to my Patreon to help me make even more, higher-quality guides & articles! With enough funds I can reduce or even remove ads as well!