Playdate, three months later did the novelty effect pass?

Playdate, three months later did the novelty effect pass?


"Time a week and then you forget it in a drawer". When we published the review of Playdate three months ago, many wondered how long we would continue to play with the little yellow console produced by Panic, especially once the initial enthusiasm for a new and colorful gadget was exhausted. The use of the crank would inevitably lose the novelty effect, and once the first wave of games included in the console ended, the future of Playdate would have been largely in the hands of fans and indie developers intent on creating small ad-hoc experiences for free or at payment. Most of those who have pre-ordered a Playdate are still waiting to receive it, but after a quarter of the official launch, it's time to take stock of how it's going and what are the plans for the future of the console.

In small doses

Playdate and its iconic yellow Playdate has never been a console designed for long gaming sessions, and this was clear from the first time it was presented. The console is a mine of little hit-and-run experiences, much more like those of Nintendo's old Game & Watches than bingeing on the Game Boy. In recent months Playdate has always remained at hand on my desk, between the keyboard and the PC monitor, ready to fill those small moments of waiting in which you have just a few minutes, too little even for many games I have on my smartphone. . Leaving Playdate in a drawer means forgetting it for sure, but keep it in sight and for sure there will be times when you will want to start it for a quick game or to try a new game just out. Unfortunately, you can't get used to the lack of backlighting, so forget about keeping Playdate next to your bed for some evening games.

Community games

Not all Playdate games take advantage of the crank In addition to trying all the games included in the first season of Playdate (how it works has been discussed in the review) , you can nibble on the already numerous experiments that the community has created and published online on platforms such as Some of these are free, others for a fee, many ask for a donation at will (typical of, and in the midst of many games there is room for simple gags, like an app in which you "play" a French horn or an interactive version of Loituma Girl. There is also no lack of productivity apps such as Pocket Planner, although here it is really hard to understand how you can prefer Playdate to your smartphone. There are many amateur projects, precisely because Playdate is a console that allows anyone to create games and share them online, but in this heterogeneous pile of software there are already several experiments and pastimes that deserve your attention if you are among the (for now few ) owners of Playdate. Here are some of them:

Bloom Bloom (€ 12.50)

Bloom was the first game for Playdate sold separately, and today it is also one of the most expensive on, yet it is without doubt one of the most cared for and best successful. Developed by a team of three people, it's a game that is very reminiscent of Stardew Valley, as you have to manage a small garden while learning about the life and (difficult) character of the protagonist through her interactions with her friends and parents. . The world follows the console's internal clock, encouraging you to start the game from time to time to take care of the plants.

Mobware Minigame Jam Mobware Minigame Jam (Free)

Mobware Minigame Jam is a collection of many small micro-games made during a game jam and playable in a completely random way within a single package. The result is the closest you get to a WarioWare for Playdate, where you have to use the console's crank, keys and motion sensors in the craziest ways. Grab a free-falling parachute, track down a thief, win a rock-paper-scissor contest, or help a polar bear make the òla. Being a mix of games created by different people the collection is choppy both in style and in the quality of the challenges, but it is a perfect example of how well Playdate is suitable for games of this type.

A Joke that's worth 0, $ 99 A Joke that's worth $ 0.99

The goal here is to rotate the console crank to make a little man bounce across the screen, while a sickly song tells a long joke. So try to keep the character in midair long enough to get to the end of the joke. Said this seems trivial, but due to the physics of the game you will realize that it is a challenge that is anything but simple. The title means "A joke worth 99 cents", and it would be almost entirely honest if it weren't for the fact that, with taxes, the game ultimately costs € 1.25. But it's funny.

Sketch, Share, Solve Sketch, Share, Solve (Free)

Probably the least original game on Playdate, but certainly one that cannot be missing on the console, if you are Picross fans. Sketch, Share, Solve is in fact the most classic of the nanograms, those puzzles in which you fill in the spaces of a grid based on numerical clues placed on the sides. "5 2 3" means that in the adjacent row there are sets of five, two and three spaces to fill. Sketch, Share, Solve contains 99 puzzles to solve, in addition to those created by the community through the internal editor.

Bíotópico Bíotópico (Free)

If you are intrigued by the idea of ​​a meditative app for Playdate, try Bíotópico. The idea is to wear headphones, isolate yourself and do breathing exercises by synchronizing your breath with the rotation of the crank. Using the app every day you accumulate oxygen points that allow you to grow plants within the game (and in reality). At the moment Bíotópico is very lean and most of the functions (such as new types of seeds, biotopes and breathing exercises) will come later in time. However, it remains a curious experiment to use Playdate in a different way.

DYG DYG (Free)

"Go hoeing", New York developer Burgess Voshell invites us in a game where the aim is simply to dig using the Playdate crank. As the sun sets behind the digger, DYG tries to synchronize the movements so as to dig lower and lower before the inevitable final. If you don't have a Playdate and are curious, you can try the web version of the game on the author's website.

You Cannot Go Back (Free)

Perfect for a flying game, You Cannot Go Back consists of a series of rooms with small challenges to overcome in order to move on to the next one. Maybe you need to remember a password you have read in some room before, avoid huge blades, or solve mathematical puzzles that help you figure out which corridor to cross. Without any mistake, it takes 5 minutes or so to reach the treasure at the end of the dungeon, but for sure you will find yourself making more than a few attempts.

Tapeworm Disco Puzzle Tapeworm Disco Puzzle (€ 11.28)

Tapeworm Disco Puzzle is a mix between the old Adventures of Lolo and the more classic Snake, a puzzle game in which you move a worm inside the squares of a grid. Each level has different objectives, ranging from collecting musical notes to helping little characters reach the exit. Those who do not have a Playdate can find Tapeworm Disco Puzzle in a much more colorful and lively version on Steam.

The coming months

Mars After Midnight In June, Panic announced that it had shipped the first 10,000 units of Playdate to those who pre-ordered the console. Shipments of the second group are currently underway, while 50,000 Playdates should be delivered by the beginning of 2023. But for the future? On the official social networks and through a bimonthly podcast, Panic is reporting the most deserving projects that are made by the community, waiting for an official store to be launched that allows you to find and buy individual games more easily and without having to go through external platforms such as Itch .I. With Panic understandably committed to speeding up shipments of pre-ordered consoles, there is no news on the distribution of the stereo dock or a possible second season of games.

Wastebraver On the horizon, however, there are some of the most interesting games in development for Playdate: Lucas Pope is still working on Mars After Midnight, a curious game in which the crank is used to peek out of a window and interact with some strange aliens. Wastebraver is instead a mixture of RPG and rogue-like set in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world: also scheduled on Steam, it will be released in a year and promises to be one of the most ambitious projects on Playdate. Finally, P-Racing is a racing game that recreates the three-dimensional effect of Mode 7 games on Super Nintendo on Playdate, also inserting a practical photographic mode in the middle. It didn't take long for someone to start developing a Game Boy emulator called GameKid, while who knows that Skyrim won't arrive one day.

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