Missing Calm Bundle

The Missing Calm bundle is a collection of 5 experimental "games" from developers Nikita Kaf, Nikita Kryukov, & Garage Heathen. I consider them all visual novels although, as the developers themselves have noted, they are "artistic manipulations of word and form" first and foremost, and games I suspect only by a matter of circumstance. Gameplay differs from game to game but each game is heavily artistic, toys with the idea of "what a game can be," and reflects on the some of the darker aspects of humanity. They're interesting and well-written but their experimental nature won't be for everyone.

Developer: Nikita Kaf

Lighthouse Keeper

Lighthouse Keeper's extremely short, only 10-15 minutes long, and even features an "autoplay" mode in which the visual novel plays itself out before your eyes. The story follows the tale of a lonely lighthouse keeper who has been living in isolation on this little lighthouse island for more than twenty years (since the great war). There are only two instances that actually require human involvement - fixing some wires and repairing a window - and yet somehow the game still squeezes in alternate endings. The black and white artwork's gorgeous, but it's hard to even describe how without seeing the animations for yourself.

Developer: Nikita Kryukov

Milk Inside a Bag of Milk

Milk Inside a Bag of Milk's mono-chrome red pixels are immediately eye-catching. This one's probably the purest in terms of visual novel gameplay, but it toys with the idea of who's playing who. Are you the player controlling the character? But you have no control over them, and they talk directly to you as if you're the game and not the other way around. The story explores themes of anxiety and is incredibly tough to find a winning solution to; in trying to help, you often become the cause of the anxiety, and in any case it's something of a challenge just trying to work out what's real.

Developer: Nikita Kaf

Monsters of Little Haven

Although all of the Missing Calm games have a dark theme, Monsters of Little Haven is by far the darkest. Having said that, its gameplay and appearance is the most normal of the lot. You play as a 12 year old boy trying to look after your younger sister, who sports a vivid imagination and a fixation on monsters. Explore this family's troubled history as you follow young Esme into her dark world. Sports some gorgeous pencil-styled cartoons in ever-bleak monochrome, and terrific narration

Developer: Nikita Kaf

My Name is You

The full title is, "My Name is You (and it's the only unusual thing in my life)" - but the name is absolutely not the only unusual thing in this person's life. Sure, they might have a mundane job, but there's otherwise quite a bit going on. Again, I can't give anything away without spoling everything. This game's almost exclusively text-based, with just a handful of scenes in grey scale - to maintain a gloomy mood, I think. My Name is You can be played through in 10 minutes but it's designed to be played through multiple times, with the player choosing different options each time; each run gives you a few more pieces of the puzzle and after a few runs you can piece the story together.

Developer: Garage Heathen


Schastye is essentially just a short story that reveals itself as you type. As in, you literally have to type, and the short story slowly appears letter by letter as you do so. I suspect the purpose of this is to try to embed your psyche into the game, make you a part of it. And it works, for a little while, but the novelty quickly wears off. You can explore the room you're in, and that very room and the items in it feature in the story. It would have been neat to see the game world open up as the story reveals more details or have the two realities somehow interact with and affect each other, but alas. The story itself is interesting but the game could have been so much more.