Indie Update: One Night Stand, Soul Searching

The holidays are here once more, and so is GameCrate's Indie Update! In this edition, we'll be taking a look at One Night Stand, a recent indie that isn't afraid to explore the more uncomfortable and vulnerable sides of our humanity. We'll also discuss Soul Searching, another narrative-based game that also explores the inner-self in some fun and interesting ways.

Let's talk indie games!

Feature Story: One Night Stand explores a vulnerable side of humanity and defies social stigmas

It's been one month since developer Lucy Blundell — also known as Kinmoku — released One Night Stand. The game explores a deeper part of human nature that isn't often seen in video games. After a night of partying, you wake up one day next to a complete stranger. You have no recollection of anything that's occurred in the past several hours, so you're just sort of there, with this person you don't know, and you have to figure out how to deal with the situation.

One Night Stand tasks you with piecing together the recent events by investigating this stranger's room and making discoveries by uncovering different clues. You're not just interacting with your environment, though. Part of what adds a bit of realism to the game is the fact that you also have to talk to the woman you woke up next to, which leads to moments that range from tense to eye-opening to emotional.

Blundell emphasizes that One Night Stand isn't about any negative stigmas surrounding people's adult decisions. Though the game indeed has adult themes, which may lead to some raised eyebrows and incorrect assumptions, it's more about human interaction. This experience isn't so much about the actual titular one night stand as it is about waking up next to someone you don't know, who also has their own life, their own troubles, and their own vulnerabilities — it's exploratory in a way that not a lot of games are.

Speaking about the game's title, Blundell states that it has both led to some inaccurate speculation about the game, but it's also gotten eyes on it on Steam. “The general impression I get from One Night Stand is that people spot it quite easily, with it's striking name, concept, and art style, but then they assume it'll be bad,” she explains in a blog post.

Ultimately, however, the majority of people who have played One Night Stand walk away from it with positive impressions. The game has a “very positive” user score on Steam, and Blundell mentions that people have reached out to her via email and social media to share their thoughts. “I don't believe the trailer or screenshots give a false impression of the game or anything, and the people that actually download and play the game turn out to be pleasantly surprised and have a great time with it,” she elaborates.

Indie games have long been known to be avenues not just for unique forms of storytelling, but for actually unique stories, as well. One Night Stand is further proof of this — it isn't afraid to tell a story about vulnerability in a way that some people may consider taboo. And judging from Blundell's blog post, this is just the beginning. She's been working on-and-off on Love IRL, a bigger project that tells the tale of “a heartbroken university student who is surprised to find love in an MMORPG.”

Blundell will also begin working on a new, smaller project in the meantime. She states on her blog that this is both a creative and financial decision. Not only has she been thinking about the concept for a while now, but she also needs the funding to make Love IRL “the best it can be.”

If you dig experimental, narrative-based titles that look into different sides of human nature and emotion, you may want to give One Night Stand a look. It's currently available on Blundell's Weebly site for $2.99 as well as Steam and itch.io.

The Underground

Soul Searching, a seafaring game about self-discovery, has been greenlit on Steam

We've covered Talha Kaya's Soul Searching on Indie Update before, but now that the game's been greenlit on Steam more information has surfaced straight from the developer. This is a game about survival out in the world, but it's also a story about discovery. Not only are you discovering new lands and fantastical beasts as you travel via boat, but you're also discovering things about yourself.

Kaya states in the Steam description of Soul Searching, “Inspired by Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea series and movies like Life of Pi, Soul Searching is about growing up, leaving your homeland, standing on your feet. It deals with themes like isolation, searching for meaning and direction, leading to depression and suicidal thoughts.”

Soul Searching is definitely very personal to Kaya, who left his home country of Turkey due to the internal troubles the nation is facing. As such, he's created a game that isn't necessarily autobiographical but still certainly relates to the problems he's faced. Given its literary and cinematic inspiration, this is the kind of game that could appeal to fans of fantasy in general. So what you get is a story that's rooted in very real, very personal emotions, but also focused on creating a grand world with its own story to tell.

Be on the lookout for Soul Searching when it launches on Steam sometime in 2017.