Level Up! | Try these five games from Black developers

Level Up! Is a biweekly blog about all types of games, from Dungeons and Dragons to Mario Party.

By Sinéad McDevitt, Digital Manager

It’s Black History Month, which means people are at least socially pressured to pretend they care about Black people and systemic issues. So it’s time to get some eyes on games by Black developers! Here are five I’ve been playing.

Hair Nah (Browser)

I love my hair — it’s awesome and soft and I take very good care of it. I hate it when people try to touch my hair. It’s dehumanizing and makes me feel like a dog that people are just going up and petting. Except if someone pets a dog without asking and the dog bites their hand, it’s generally accepted that it’s the person who tried to pet the dog’s fault. If I tried to tell someone to stop, I’d be called hostile.

Hence why Momo Pixel’s “Hair Nah” is so satisfying! It’s a game about smacking away people who are trying to touch your hair, and it’s completely free to play online. I find this game deeply satisfying, and it allowed me to work out a lot of pent-up frustration. Quick word of advice to anyone playing — you won’t win if you just spam smacking away people’s hands, you have to get into the right rhythm to complete a given level.

Swimsanity! (Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox)

I’ve never liked water levels in Mario games. I find the controls to be annoying, but Decoy Games LLC’s “Swimsanity!” makes it work. The game is a multiplayer shooter, however you do have the option of solo mode where you play against waves of enemies or escape from giant sea creatures. Either way you move through the level shooting enemies and collecting power-ups in a pretty easy-to-learn system. The water movement does take some getting used to, but the game is pretty forgiving on that end, where bumping into a hazard or enemy won’t immediately cost you a life.

If you’ve got friends or partners, there’s co-op mode where you can take on levels together or compete in versus maps. There is both local and online multiplayer so you don’t even have to be in the same place.

  • ValiDate (Windows, Mac, Nintendo Switch, Xbox)

If you don’t have a partner to play Swimsanity, you might like

Veritable Joy Studios’ “ValiDate: Struggling Singles In Your Area.” The current version of the game has four playable characters and 30 endings, with more to come.

Your goal is to help guide these struggling 20-somethings through the ups and downs of dating in Jercy City. It’s got gorgeous art and expressive character designs, and a tone of different options and combinations for you to try out as you try to get these poor disasters some smooches.

  • Magical Warrior Diamond Heart (Windows, Mac, Android)

I’m putting another dating sim on here because I like dating sims. I personally believe everything can and should be turned into a dating sim at some point, and “Magical Warrior Diamond Heart” from Dreamy Pyon has the magical girl genre covered.

The game is gorgeous, packed with characters and currently has the first 13 episodes available as a free demo. Plus, on top of the four free romance routes, there’s a friendship route for anyone not interested in pursuing romance.

If you’re someone who’s always wanted to play through a magical girl game, like myself, it’s a very exciting project to watch and play for yourself.

Treachery in Beatdown City (Windows, Switch)

President Blake Orama has been kidnapped by ninjas! Looks like it’s up to the player to rescue him in this old-school arcade styled beat-em-up.

This is a very fun tongue-in-cheek action game that’s pretty friendly to someone who doesn’t play a lot of games that require things like a good reaction time or hand-eye coordination. It’s got a turn based element to it that I really like and makes it easy to rack up combos, not dissimilar to the system in the Caligula Effect games.

Beyond that, it’s just a fun, cheesy romp punching your way through ninjas and jerks with a fun soundtrack and clear love of the genre. Plus, the developers, NuChallenger and HurakanWorks,  are about to drop a DLC update so now’s the time to get into it