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Another Day

Another Day is a narrative driven game that portrays the daily struggle experienced by those living in isolation in a claustrophobic environment during lockdown while experiencing depression and anxiety.

The aim of the game is to try to stay on top of an ever increasing list of daily tasks as you battle your internal conflicts. The team at Safe In Our World found that Another Day is a great window into what having a mental health problem can feel like, especially whilst living alone during the lockdown.

The game was part of the Cornwall House exhibition during the G7 Summit in 2021. Check out the team’s Twitter, YouTube and Dev Log for future updates.

We spoke to the Another Dollar Studios team in this interview discussing the reasoning and motivations behind making ‘Another Day’.

You can play Another Day for free on Itch.io

Content Disclaimer: This game contains depictions of isolation and mental illness, namely depression and anxiety. It is not intended to be a fun experience, and some may find these depictions distressing.

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

Stardew Valley

The player inherits their grandfather’s old farm plot in the beautiful town of Stardew Valley, which is your chance to start a new life and create a thriving farm. Players throughout the game will get to know Stardew Valleys inhabitants, make friends, start relationships and celebrate being together.

Stardew Valley is a feel-good game that you can lose hours in just taking care of your farm or doing other activities such as mining, fishing, mini-quests, and so much more. When we ask our community their comfort game, Stardew Valley has been in the running every time!

Features:

  • The farm is in your control do what you want with it
  • Meet interesting people, form friendships and relationships
  • Customise the game to your liking
  • Take part in events each with mini-games and things to do

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

Hymble Ventures

Hymble Ventures is a 2.5D sci-fantasy platform game about an insect-like alien on the autism spectrum. Players join Hymble on their adventure through Hymborgia, Eukaterra, to find and discover a mysteriously wandering maegent. Hymble Ventures features many environmental puzzles, metalhead creatures and special abilities based on autism hypersensitivities, converted into superpowers.

The core mechanics of Hymble Ventures are based on controlling the five senses (touch, taste, sight, smell, hear). For neurodiverse people, they can be hypersensitive to sensory information and may overreact to increasing stimuli. This autism trait is an inspiration to aspects of Hymble’s world such as quirky, organ-shaped berries that grant enhanced sight, or smell etc.
To hone in on the subject of autism and hypersensitivities, Hymble’s cartoonish and exaggerated character design consists of oversized melon bread antennae (or ears), and a large nose.

Features:

  • An array of puzzles that uses different senses
  • An experience to help others see how neurodiverse people feel every day
  • A wonderful cartoon art style

Hymble Ventures is currently in a testing phase and you can download it HERE. The team appreciate any bug reporting on the Itch.io page ready for Steam once the game is fully ready.

 

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

The Space In Between

The Space In Between is an emotional dating sim about June. June is an Asian-American trying to discover her identity while also coping with mental health issues.

On this journey between June and Miles her love interest players will experience a stargazing trip and create stories depending on the strong and powerful narrative. The developers of the title describe the game as “The Space In Between is a vignette into modern relationships, a story that will leave you calling your close ones to tell them you love them”.

Look up, let go, and take a chance on the night sky.

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

What Comes After

From the creators of Coffee Talk working alongside Rolling Glory Jam, they’ve created What Comes After – a heartwarming story that is described as a love letter to all of you who feel that you’re a burden on other people.

Players take on the role of Vivi, who is on a journey that takes her from where people go after they have died to what comes after. Make your way through the train, whilst you encounter souls of people, animals and plants that are on their own personal journeys leaving this world behind. Vivi will talk to many of them and learn about love, regrets, life and death.

Features:

  • A heartwarming story that will resonate with many
  • A personal journey that aims to teach you how to love yourself
  • A tale filled with both love and comedy
  • A unique and colourful art style
  • Easy to pick-up gameplay

 

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

Sea of Solitude

Sea of Solitude takes players on a personal journey of a young woman’s loneliness in a beautiful and evolving world where nothing is what it seems. Players will explore a flooded city by boat, foot and swimming, and discover what lies beneath the surface in a world that is haunted by a struggle of darkness and light. 

Players will be faced with monsters from the darkness, puzzles that piece together tainted memories of the world, all in an effort for Kay to discover what it truly means to be human.

Features:

  • A beautiful world to explore
  • Puzzles to keep you engaged
  • An interesting mystery to solve
  • Meet monsters with their own struggles

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

An Interview with Bradley Smith, Co-Creator of Ruya

We talked to Bradley Smith, of Miracle Tea Studios, about the inspiration behind Ruya, and the importance of the themes embedded within it.


The Interview

 

So, what was it that set you on the path towards game development?

“I had a kind of unconventional bohemian hippie upbringing where creativity and a DIY punk mentality was encouraged. There was a lot of freedom. Some might argue too much. Both of my parents are self-employed and run businesses which I think is a reason why I’ve ended up doing that too. A family friend from Ipswich who carved his way into the games industry from the working class world was definitely an influence, he ended up with the first indie game on Steam.

The combination of seeing that growing up, while being immersed in skateboard and alternative subcultures, naturally gave a pull towards the independent game scene. There’s a lot of commonalities in the indie scene that resonated with the type of person I am and the way I was raised. I love the DIY attitude and the genuine need to express something poignant that some developers omit. Making games quickly became an outlet in my adolescence, especially at university. It’s always been very personal for me. It’s typically how I’ve worked through certain neurosis or insecurities. I guess it’s a form of self-therapy at this point as I’m often trying to understand or turn negative thoughts in my psyche into something positive – a philosophy I learnt from straight edge music. Tom and I formed Miracle Tea shortly after graduating in 2016, we’ve been making small intimate games ever since.”

Tell us about the main objectives of Ruya and how the game is structured. 

“Ruya is a meditative puzzle game with emphasis on simple pattern recognition, it leads players down a somewhat solipsistic path. In Ruya, you’re solving puzzles in her own personal dreamscapes where your goal is to eventually wake up. It’s presented in such a way where Ruya is giving little pieces of herself away in order for her children to flourish by spawning flowers. Those flowers temporarily mask her antlers, which are figuratively and literally the depressive weight upon her shoulders. At the end of each level, these get washed away to reflect a temporary fix.

Ruya is ultimately about mothers that put everything into their children to deal with their own depressions, while being a game that mothers are likely to play. By gradually solving the solutions to puzzles in Ruya’s psyche you come to access her lost memories. Those memories are based on real observations from my own mother during times of grief. A lot of the nuances and meaning in the game most people wouldn’t ever fully register, but it’s the kind of thing we designed to be felt in a subtle way.”

What is the theme of the game, and the inspiration behind it?

I grew up very close to my two sisters and mother. When we were setting out to make Ruya, we had the intention to make a game for all the important women that have been in our life. The inspiration for Ruya will vary depending on who you ask in the team as each team member embedded different parts of themselves. Aside from this, one of our intentions was to design a game that aids sleep. In turn this was a theme that carried through into Ruya’s design. I’ve had an ongoing battle with insomnia that was particularly difficult throughout my early 20s and it was something I was keen to explore and understand more. There’s a handful of spiritual themes in the game too which is perhaps reflective of an existential time in our teams lives. We were consuming a lot of Alan Watts and Ram Dass during development and that naturally bled into the design.

What are the inspirations behind the visuals of the game?

I really like the artist Philippa Rice – she’s a big inspiration for sure. Just before Ruya was created, I lost my Nan, who was an influential and strong figure in our family dynamic growing up. She was also a very spiritual woman, which perhaps lends to some of the ambiguous themes in the game. I think the impact of her life was what led to a lot of the visuals and tone of the game. It was only until my partner at the time pointed out to me during development “do you think the visuals are about your Nan?” where it really registered that maybe something deeper was going on in my subconscious. It wasn’t something I was aware of, but the big wave of creative output at the time probably should’ve been a sign.

Alula is currently in the works, will these games link in terms of mental health?

Yes, for sure! In all of Miracle Tea’s games we try to embed a deeper societal issue to comment on. Alula explores the idea of loneliness and how an individual might learn to overcome that. Alula attempts to evoke feelings of what it means to be alone and how small or big that can make you feel depending on your point of view. One issue we’re exploring is the idea of people being more connected now than anytime in history, yet loneliness seems to be a rising epidemic. We are trying to make a game that illustrates to players the concept that people can do great things as individuals, but when moments are shared with others it can make for a more authentic human experience. In Alula you find yourself alone on an island receiving notes in bottles asking you to fulfil certain obligations. Slowly overtime you will come to know who’s sending the bottles and why. All of Miracle Tea’s games are set in the same universe meaning Alula comes from a similar place to Ruya.

As a game developer, what would be your main take home for players of your games?

If our games offer you some time to reflect, lower blood pressure, chill you out or make you think inwardly, then I’m happy. Beyond that, it sounds idealistic and pretentious, but if a game we made changed how someone viewed or interpreted the world for the better I’d be deeply content with what that means. That’s something that Miracle Tea is trying to carve out in video game history that I feel we’re yet to achieve. If that never happens, I’m okay with that, it’s fun trying!

Skills utilised:
News

Ruya

Described as a game of tranquillity through the art of matching pieces of Ruya in the world of her dreams.

Players will engage in a wonderful and relaxing puzzle experience in which you will face a multitude of challenges aimed to help relax the player. 

With 64 handcrafted puzzles, players will slide, swipe, pop and release cute characters so that Ruya can progress and unfold her memories. 

Features: 

  • Relaxing gameplay
  • Beautifully handcrafted puzzles
  • Visual narrative to encourage positive emotion

 

 

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

Tetris Effect: Connected

Tetris is back, in a new and mesmerising way.

Tetris Effect: Connected offers different gameplay modes in classic Tetris style, accompanied by uniquely relaxing, dulcet sounds.

While it seems like a simplistic title, the combination of a classic challenge and a calming soundtrack can easily whisk you away from reality.

Key Features:

  • Colourful and unique design
  • Music that changes as you play
  • A challenge that starts off easy and increases the better you get
  • Different modes to suit your play
  • Multiplayer

 

 

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

Safe In Our World: 1st Anniversary Charity Bundle

To celebrate our first anniversary, we are releasing our very first charity bundle dedicated to providing free Mental Health CBT courses for games industry professionals and gamers around the world. The Safe In Our World  1st Anniversary Charity Game Bundle is available now exclusively via the dedicated partner Fanatical for $4.99 / £4.65. Only 10,000 sets of keys are available for this extremely limited edition bundle.

The Safe In Our World 1st Anniversary Charity Game Bundle features seven games, each sharing a unique and relatable message about mental health:

  • AVICII Invector by Tim Bergling aka AVICII / Hello There Games
  • Dear Esther by The Chinese Room / Curve Digital
  • Fractured Minds by Emily Mitchell
  • GRIS by Nomada Studio / Devolver Digital
  • Meadow by Might and Delight
  • RiMe by Tequila Works / Six Foot
  • The Town of Light by LKA / Luca Dalco

Proceeds from the 1st Anniversary Bundle will go towards the creation of Safe In Our World’s own tailored, games-focused Mental Health CBT courses, which will provide much-needed mental health support at no cost to games industry professionals and gamers alike.

CLICK HERE for the complete bundle on Fanatical

CLICK HERE to download our bundle assets

The 1st Anniversary Bundle celebrates an amazing inaugural year in which Safe In Our World has made a significant impact on the games industry, thanks to support from wonderful partners. Since the launch last year on World Mental Health Day, the global non-profit organization has been able to:

  • Launch the hugely successful #LevelUpMentalHealth campaign featuring over 50 leading and indie games developers/publishers, including 505 Games, the Embracer Group, Wargamer, Curve Digital, NDreams, Mediatonic, Wired Productions, and many more; supporting 10,000 employees. (A full list of partners can be found here)
  • Further grew the SIOW ambassadors and patron list, with close to 100 key influential members of the industry representing the charity
  • Launch the COVID-19 Hub, a global resource set up at the beginning of the pandemic to help gamers and industry folk with information, tips, articles and resources, with traffic increasing by 146% from over 130 countries
  • Help to drive support for 1 million downloads of Fractured Minds, a game developed by BAFTA young game designer recipient Emily Mitchell
  • Reach 10 million players through messaging in key partner’s games
  • SIOW spokespersons join panels and events participation to help talk about mental health conditions within the industry, as well as sharing the touching, personal stories of many games industry professionals and their mental health through safeinourworld.org
  • Hire two full-time staff members, each with their own passionate stories, to further increase the impact and support within the games industry
  • Become a fully operational organization in less than 12 months

“2020 has been such a trying year for us all, but we are so proud and thankful for the impact Safe In Our World has been able to make in our industry so far,” said Leo Zullo, Safe In Our World Chairperson. “We now look to 2021, expanding our team and opportunities, as well as further increasing awareness, access and positivity towards mental health and mental health facilities in the games industry. Our message remains the same; it’s ok to not be ok. We have a duty of care to our gamers and our people and we implore the whole industry to unite and ensure this is considered at all times.”

Safe In Our World will continue to build and grow its support for those in need, and more announcements will be made as we head into our second year.

Skills utilised:
News

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

In this hyper-cute life simulator, you are the proud owner of a deserted island getaway package and are free to create, explore, and relax. 

During the time we’ve spent with Animal Crossing: New Horizons, we’ve shared fruit with our neighbours, been meticulously designing our wildest desires, and have happily lazed on a beach somewhere far removed from our daily lives. 

Animal Crossing is the perfect getaway package for the mind, allowing you to create and explore in a low-stress environment with user-friendly systems. Everything from the meditative sound design down to the soft, rounded aesthetic is entrancing. 

Animal Crossing teaches you to set yourself small daily goals and is at its most rewarding when played in short sessions. The game moves in real-time and you will have to wait until the following day to reap some of the rewards of your daily efforts. This means that you consistently have something to look forward to and you can plan your time how you want, while seeing positive progression. 

Feel like gathering materials in the morning? Great. Fancy visiting the island museum at lunch, which is full of critters and fossils you have collected on your travels? Fantastic. Want to wind down with a trip to the island of a friend? Perfect. Feel like doing nothing at all while watching the sway of the ocean? That’s OK!

Animal Crossing helps you realise that downtime for yourself is worthwhile, no matter what you choose to do with it. If you have checked one thing off your list today, then you have achieved something! 

Your enthusiasm in Animal Crossing: New Horizons will spill over into your real-world lives and your mind will thank you for it.

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

Shadow’s Edge

Are you facing a chronic or serious illness? Do you feel depressed? Or could one of your family members or a friend use some emotional support? Do you want to know what it’s like to be in that situation?

This game gives you useful questions to explore and strengthen yourself while playing a game.

Explore the mysterious city of Shadow’s Edge and the worlds of Disruption, Disillusionment and Discovery. Write about what happens to you, how you feel and create art with easy-to-use graffiti stencils, stickers and colors to express yourself. Or just search the pages of the lost book. It all helps your city come back to life.

“Shadow’s Edge helps me relieve stress, cope with my challenges and feel less alone in my struggles. I felt as if the questions in the diary had been written for me.”
Katrina, 23

Shadow’s Edge provides a unique digital safe-space for players to learn how to process their thoughts and feelings, and begin to heal emotionally and move forward from their trauma. It harnesses the power of technology and psychology and delivers the content right where young patients are – on their phones, playing games. It fill the gap in the way emotional health is delivered to young patients around the globe by creating engaging digital content and tools that guide young patients through their emotional journey, building strength through it. The game puts content, community, psychology, and technology together to support patients and families.

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

Actual Sunlight

Actual Sunlight is a uniquely memorable adventure that will etch itself into you as one of the most difficult, haunting and beautiful experiences you have ever had as a gamer.

Actual Sunlight is a short interactive story about love, depression and the corporation. The game puts you in the role of Evan Winter, a young professional in Toronto, as he moves through three distinct periods of his life.

The story is linear, unavoidable and (hopefully) thought-provoking.

You experience his perceptions, fall under the consequences of his decisions, and meet everyone who didn’t change him. Gameplay is minimal, and serves only to move from one part of the text-heavy story to the next.

Due to explicit language, Actual Sunlight is not appropriate for players under the age of 18.

It also deals with extremely mature themes, including depression and thoughts of suicide. Similar to other forms of art that tackle these issues, Actual Sunlight can be an extremely powerful emotional experience – before downloading it, please first consider what your reaction to a book, film or piece of music in a similar vein might be.

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

The Cat Lady

Susan Ashowrth has no family, no friends and no hope for a better future. One day she discovers that five strangers will come along and change everything…

The game features Susan, a middle-aged cat-loving woman suffering from depression who attempts to commit suicide by swallowing an overdose of sleeping pills. She wakes up in an alternate world and meets the “Queen of Maggots”, an enigmatic old lady who claims to understand Susan’s distress. The Queen of Maggots grants Susan immortality and gives Susan a mission that she must fulfill to become happy: find five evil human beings called The Parasites, and kill them.

Susan is just a person next door, the kind of neighbour we never pay much attention to because they keep to themselves. We all know people like that. We just assume they like their privacy and have their own set of friends they like to hang out with… but in fact, they have no one.

Remigiusz Michalski

By author Remigiusz Michalski (Harvester Games) this suspenseful psychological horror game features stylized artwork, a simple keyboard control method and English voice acting, plus a compelling, atmospheric 70 minute soundtrack by micAmic and featured artists Warmer, 5iah and Tears Of Mars.

The Cat Lady contains strong adult themes and is recommended only for players over 18.

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

Depression Quest

Depression Quest is an interactive fiction game where you play as someone living with depression. You are given a series of everyday life events and have to attempt to manage your illness, relationships, job, and possible treatment.

This game aims to show other sufferers of depression that they are not alone in their feelings, and to illustrate to people who may not understand the illness the depths of what it can do to people.

Over 40k words of interactive fiction.
Playthroughs are short enough to be done in one day, but long enough for the game to have gotten it’s point across.

About 150 unique encounters.
Based on your depression levels, different choices open and close off to you.

Content generated based on your decisions.
The choices you make have a real effect on how your playthrough turns out.

Multiple endings.
See how your choices affected the game’s world, and how well you’ve managed your depression.

Audio and visuals react to your depression.
Listen as the music gets glitchier and see how much stronger the static gets. Watch the color get sucked out of how you see the world.

 

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

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