As itch.io is continuing to grow in popularity, it’s attracting a lot of older indie devs who have more than one or two games under their belts. That can lead to some odd feelings of deja vu when you feel like you’ve seen a game before, but here it is in itch.io’s “New Releases”. Or maybe you’d never played the game before, but something about it doesn’t feel like it was released yesterday.
That last one is what happened to me with Jables’s Adventure. When I loaded it up, there was a certain look and feel to it that reminded me of late-2000s indie games like The Underside. In that odd era before Unity and Gamestudio, Multimedia Fusion was the go-to development platform for anyone who’d played Cave Story—and there’s an entire generation of indie games created in that period that never saw the publicity brought by recent services like Steam Greenlight. It’s thanks to freedom of itch.io that we have an easy way to find these games.
But, I haven’t really said anything about Jables’s Adventure yet.
One morning, Jables wakes up to find a
n octopus squid on his head. The squid tells him that he’s the hero. Of what? Well, you’ll have to play the game to find out. You’re then instructed to give a high five to the dude pictured above, and that’s about it. You’re free to explore the relatively linear world, shoot some blobs, fight some bosses. You know. The usual.
Really, it’s a pretty “first game” kind of game. This makes sense given that, as far as I can tell, it’s the developer’s first game. There’s gameplay, but not a lot of it. You can jump and shoot (after you get the one gun in the game), there’s an underwater level and frustrating jetpack spike pit obstacle course. The graphics are OK, the music is OK. There are pop culture references—Keyboard Cat shows up, you get to meet Finn and Jake, somebody mentions Strawberry Shortcake. You learn a lot about different kinds of fruit. Pretty much what you’d expect from a retro platforming indie game.
I don’t want to say too many bad things about the game considering its first-game-indie-game status. There isn’t really much bad to say anyway; just not a lot of good, either. There’s something oddly nostalgic about the game, and I don’t mean the pixel art and chiptunes. This game was released around the time that I made my own first forays into the game development scene, and it’s just fun to look back and remember that time in my life.
All in all, I spent a fun hour or so with this game. For a free indie game, it was worth what I invested into it. The one thing that I do like is that it introduced me to this developer, and now I can fast-forward through the creator’s own growth as a game designer, playing through some of their other games. That’s sort of the curious part about the era we’re in. It’s finally easy to find indie games, so I can go back and check out all the things I missed. If you want to check this one out yourself, you can head on over to itch.io.