(non-)friendly recommendations

This month I’ve made two purchases of creations created by creative friends. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this, but I think it might just be the first time I can unequivocally, without any element of doubt, say that I would have been overwhelmingly happy to have made these purchases, even if I had never met or had no idea who was responsible for them. And I’m happy to recommend.

First is Sarah Daly’s first album under her Metaphorest moniker, Metaphorest Volume I, which you can pick up now on Bandcamp in both physical and digital formats (the former comes with the latter). [Or, if you wait until 8 December, you can get them via Amazon and iTunes.]

Sarah is a ridiculously talented individual, with whom I’ve had the privilege of collaborating on numerous occasions. And she’s a wonderful person and all that. But that’s all irrelevant here. This album could have been completely fluked by an inept, belligerent idiot and I’d still want to listen to it. It’s just gorgeous. Example:

 

My second purchase was from an ex-university classmate of mine, Mr Stephen Lavelle. Stephen now works as an independent game developer, prolifically releasing old-school, lo-fi puzzle-y games under the name/label Increpare. You play a whole bunch of them for free on the Increpare site, including my personal favourites Constellation Z and  Mother Robot.

Stephen’s new game is called English Country Tune. And it’s a bit different. For one thing, it’s not free! You can buy it for iPod/iPad, Mac and PC, all via here. You are able to download a free demo of the first two levels though, so you can try before you buy.

I tried. And very quickly I knew I was going to buy. Okay, so I was probably going to buy it regardless, because of the whole friend thing. But the demo truly sealed the deal. And I am convinced that, had I come across the demo with no knowledge of its origin, or even if the person behind it were someone detestable, I’d still shell out the shekels for the full game.

It’s just brilliant. Its gameplay does share some elements with Stephen’s earlier endeavours. But as far as scope, look and feel, it’s an entirely other level. It looks beautiful. The ambient sounds are fantastic. And the variety of game mechanics through the different worlds are ingenious.

It’s great. I definitely recommend purchasing immediately. But if you want to be convinced, download the free demo. Just know that the full game has so much more.

The trailer hints at the greatness:

So, to summarize: My motivation for paying money for Metaphorest Volume I and English Country Tune, was undoubtedly shaped by the fact that I know and like the people who made them. But having spent some time with them, I can honestly say I would have had no issues parting with cash for them even if I did not know or like those folks. They’re just great!