I fell behind on 2018 games thanks to my “Let’s Study Horror Games” series. Things kind of worked out in the end, though, because 2018 ended up being not quite as supersaturated with games as 2017. To be sure, it was a year of big releases, both on the mainstream AAA front and on the indie front. But it didn’t have the sheer firehose volume of 2017.
Since my mid-year post handled January through June, I was originally intending this post to mostly cover games that came out from July 1st onward. It turned out there were plenty of stragglers I missed in the previous post, so that organizational scheme ended up going out the window. A jumble of things below the jump.
A Way Out
(Hazelight Studios, released March 23)
Josef Fares wrote Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, a game I liked quite a bit. Well enough, in fact, to name it as one of the games of the decade. Following that, Fares departed Starbreeze Studios (a prudent move, it seems, as Starbreeze is now in some significant legal trouble due to alleged insider trading) and joined EA to form the small outfit Hazelight Studios. Hazelight’s debut game, A Way Out, retains the cooperative theme of Brothers, but translates it into an actual co-op game, rather than having one player control two characters simultaneously. It was one of the releases I was most excited about last year, but it took me awhile to play it, because I had to schedule time to do it with someone else. (Thanks, Ashlyn!)
A Way Out offers both couch co-op and online options, and although couch co-op would have been an easy choice to implement, I went for online. I figured this would mean that both of us would only see what our character sees, and then we could compare notes afterwards, piecing together the isolated bits of each other’s story. But I was shocked to find that this is not the way the game works at all. Even when you’re playing online, the game is presented in split-screen, so that you can always see the other players’ POV. There are indeed some character-specific beats that only one character has anything to do during, but rather than hiding these parts from the other player, that player just temporarily loses the ability to play. It’s somewhat comical to be engaging in some low-stakes side business, only to have the game forcibly announce YOUR ACTIVITIES ARE NOT DRAMATICALLY SALIENT ENOUGH TO TAKE UP SCREEN REAL ESTATE, and force your character off the screen with a draconian wipe.
In the end, I’d definitely recommend playing A Way Out via couch co-op, and couch co-op only. Beats such as those above will doubtlessly feel less weird if you’re co-present with your co-player.
So what about the story? Charitably. I’d say that it gave me a better idea of Fares’ strengths and weaknesses as a writer. Brothers was a simple fable. I was enamored with the way its emotional beats mapped on to mechanical “aha” moments, and I happily overlooked its heavy reliance on fantasy genre tropes. (That’s just the basic stuff fables are built from.) The reliance on unadulterated genre tropes in A Way Out is much more visible. The prison-break portion is thick with winks to The Shawshank Redemption. The post-prison-break revenge yarn nods to Scarface and dime-a-dozen 80s action movies. I wouldn’t mind the homages if they were more varied, but Fares sticks with just a handful of the most well-known Hollywood movies, and barely bothers to develop his characters beyond threadbare beats that were already cliché in 1990s-era American genre cinema.
A Way Out doesn’t set its sights on anything highbrow. It doesn’t want to be a co-op Le Grand Illusion. It wants to be a co-op Uncharted. The problem is, Uncharted already exists, and A Way Out doesn’t meet the standard it sets. The pleasure of the Uncharted games isn’t “you’re playing an interactive genre movie, here are all of your favorite predictable action scenes!” The pleasure of the Uncharted games is “you’re playing an interactive genre movie with uncharacteristically crisp and clever character repartee!” The characters in Uncharted are likable, and their dialogue is funny. The leads of A Way Out are broadly-sketched 1970s tough-guy types, muttonchops in search of a personality. The more the game indulges in generic-feeling chases and shootouts, the more these characters’ weaknesses are exposed. The lack of crisp banter is sorely missed.
There are moments that are strong enough to shine in spite of the thin characterization. A break-out scene early on, in which one player has to stand guard while the other slowly chisels away at a vent hidden behind the cell toilet is an early standout. I also quite enjoyed a tense gas station robbery, which required players to cooperate while simultaneously keeping a close eye on every NPC in the entire station, lest they make a sudden move. A Way Out is at its best when it’s trying to be a co-op Quantic Dream game, rather than a co-op Naughty Dog game. Which just goes to show: imitating masters is a risky business. You’re better off improving on the work of hacks.
A Way Out is published by EA, so it isn’t available DRM-free on Windows—only through their Origin client. I’d recommend playing it on console, anyway: it’s a much better fit for couch co-op. It’s available for PS4 and Xbox One.
Fugue in Void
(Moshe Linke, released May 20)
In terms of my academic interests, I’m sort of an odd duck. I migrated from mainly being interested in experimental cinema, one of the most pretentious and least commercially-viable of all art forms, to primarily focusing on videogames, one of the least pretentious and commercially dominant art forms. And every now and then, I ask myself: “what’s a game I would wholeheartedly recommend fellow experimental film fans?” Rooftop Cop (Steven L. Clark, 2014) is one game that fits that description for me. Another is NaissanceE (Limasse Five, 2014). And … that’s pretty much it.
NaissanceE, in particular, has been a source of fascination for me since it came out. Every time I’ve returned to it, I am once again taken in by it. It is a wander game that is strikingly pretty, while at the same time being deeply weird. As it continues, it asks increasingly weird things of you, from intuiting sequences of events that aren’t really announced as puzzles, to bearing with the game as its visuals give way to abstract flashes of light. It is fairly mechanically accessible (there’s no combat, and only a handful of moments where timing is important), and yet at the same time it is aesthetically uncompromising, dissolving into pure abstraction whenever its developers see fit.
For years, there was nothing else quite like NaissanceE. If I wanted to scratch that particular itch, I had to go back and re-play it. But now we have Fugue in Void. Along with some surface visual similarities (i.e., a fondness for hyperbolically brutalist architecture, frequently but not exclusively delivered in greyscale visuals), Fugue in Void also shares deeper aesthetic affinities with NaissanceE. Both games let you wander, but ultimately force you to submit to the designer’s own opaque intentions. Both games act as delivery systems for audiovisual experiences that are not entirely dissimilar from the experimental films of Pat O’Neill or Arash Nassiri.
Fugue in Void, in fact, begins with a ten-minute non-interactive intro. Objectively speaking, it is somewhat gratuitous, and probably turned off a good many players who would otherwise be adventurous enough to try the game. Personally, though, I loved it: it was basically a piece of abstract animation, rendered in real-time in Unity by my computer for me to watch. One effect (reproduced above) offered up the same brain-melting illusion of perceptual motion that one finds in Ken Jacobs’ recent work. (I can’t help but see the above motion as a track-in that somehow never gets closer to the column of polygons it’s approaching.)
Fugue in Void has the bona-fides to stand as a serious work of abstract moving imagery. It’s not something I can say of many games, and it’s always a delight when I get to do so.
Fugue in Void is available DRM-free at itch.io.
Shape of the World
(Hollow Tree Games, released June 1)
Shape of the World first entered my radar back in 2014. Details were scant, but its developers described it as an “exploration game where the world grows around you.” This piqued my interest, and I made a note to buy it and play it whenever it came out.
This summer, it was finally released, to little fanfare. I picked it up, played it, finished it in a single 75-minute session, and went, “huh … that’s it?” Which, it struck me afterwards, was an illustrative reaction.
On the surface, Shape of the World shares much in common with a lot of himitsu-bako that I love. It shifts through different eye-catching color schemes, bathing you in a lush soundscape. It gives you no instructions on what to do, but instead just lets you wander, gradually revealing some very simple objectives that, when followed, facilitate an audiovisual experience with a certain loosely-defined arc. But at every turn, I was distracted from the experience, because I was being reminded of better games. Shape of the World‘s visuals resemble those of Mirrormoon EP (Santa Ragione, 2013). But it lacks that game’s weird and opaque spatial puzzles, which means you glide through its scenery without encountering any interesting resistance. Its musical score isn’t perfectly synched to swell and climax with player actions nearly as well as Flower (thatgamecompany, 2009) or Journey (thatgamecompany, 2012), but nor is it as toy-like and exploratory as Proteus (Ed Key and David Kanaga, 2013). It doesn’t sport the varied fauna of ABZÛ (Giant Squid Studios, 2016). It lacks the deliberately-paced mystery of Future Unfolding (Spaces of Play, 2017). It shares some of these games’ aesthetic successes, but it remains derivative, never reaching their heights.
Shape of the World is mundane. And although that reflects poorly on the game itself, I think it reflects well on where art games stand in the current moment. The best himitsu-bako have had spread their influence so strongly that it is now possible to construct a generic one, one that hits all the expected beats without doing anything new. Shape of the World would have blown my mind if it had come out in 2008. It might have even still blown my mind in 2014, when it first popped on my radar. But in 2018, it’s no longer enough.
That doesn’t make it bad, by any stretch of the imagination. It’s perfectly fine. But the landscape is thick with wondrous games, so perfectly fine doesn’t cut it anymore. The bar has been raised. Some games, like Fugue in Void, can still set themselves apart in this new landscape. Shape of the World couldn’t. But that’s fine: I still have plenty of other exciting things to play.
Shape of the World is available DRM-free at itch.io.
The Night Journey
(Bill Viola and the USC Game Innovation Lab, released June 26)
This release came as a total surprise to me.
In 2007, the video artist Bill Viola collaborated with the game designer Tracy Fullerton to create The Night Journey, an art installation that translated imagery from Viola’s video work into an interactive environment. The result was a key transitional text a bridge between the early 2000s “game art” by the likes of JODI and Brody Condon and the “art games” of Tale of Tales and thatgamecompany. For a decade, The Night Journey remained a gallery piece, something you could only experience if you happened across a formal exhibition of it. I assumed it was always going to remain that way. But then, this past June, a new version of it, freshly ported to Unity, suddenly showed up as a commercial product on PC and PS4. Which is fantastic, because I had always wanted to play it, and never gotten lucky enough to catch a gallery showing of it. Now I was finally free to play it in the comfort of my own home.
The experience of playing The Night Journey after having played Shape of the World was a fascinating one. Despite being over a decade old, The Night Journey still felt completely fresh. A lot of himitsu-bako-type games shy away from outright opacity, in an attempt to be more welcoming. The Night Journey, on the other hand, flirts with active antagonism toward the player. I remember Fullerton commenting that she deliberately wanted to frustrate gamers showing up for the installation, who might grok the game’s systems too quickly, and start playing it with too much purpose, disrupting the game’s meditative pacing for any onlookers. The Night Journey not only lacks specific goals, it also refuses to let itself be played for too long. At regular intervals, movement becomes sluggish and blackness overtakes the screen, and the game transforms into a non-interactive experience, as you watch a minute or two of video footage from Viola.
But the end result is that The Night Journey is richly mysterious. Perhaps the problem with contemporary art games like Shape of the World is that they’ve placed too much emphasis on being inviting to players. Along with playing with scale, movement, and sense of embodiment like few games I’ve played before, The Night Journey has just the right amount of opacity and combativeness toward players. Its disinterest in our desires and expectations makes it all the more seductive.
The PS4 version of The Night Journey has trophies, which I have mixed feelings about. Since their description reveals some of the possible interactions you can have with the game, their inclusion feels somewhat like a checklist for impatient players. I have to say that, practically, I appreciated having a way to gauge how much of the game I had seen. At the same time, though, this sort of extrinsic to-do list strikes me as utterly anathema to the game’s carefully-cultivated opacity. If you’re a purist, I’d recommend sticking with the PC version, instead.
The Night Journey is available DRM-free at itch.io.
(Wadjet Eye Games, released August 8)
Back in August, I predicted that 2018 would be a banner year for adventure games. That was based on what had come out so far, alongside the supposition that Campo Santo’s In the Valley of Gods and the final chapter of Kentucky Route Zero would release by the end of the year.
Neither of those ended up coming out. But even in their absence, it has still been a great year for people who prefer exploring, puzzling, pointing, and clicking to more violent and action-oriented fare.
I have stated before that I’m not a particular fan of typical point-and-clickers, due to a low level of patience for inventory puzzles. I was willing to make an exception for Unavowed, though, because even though its puzzles are achingly traditional (if easy by the standards of the genre), its level of ambition is unusual. Unavowed is a point-and-click adventure game based on the BioWare model: you go out and do a quest, choosing a two-person squad out of a larger pool of party members. There is some drama, sometimes with dialogue tailored to whichever party members you chose to accompany you. There are some moral choices. Then you return from to your base, and debrief with every party member, checking in with how their relationship with you has changed following the events of the previous quest.
Except, being a point-and-click adventure game, rather than an action RPG, the quests in Unavowed involve puzzles, rather than combat. And each of your party members have different abilities. You can’t switch out party members on the fly, to solve a particular puzzle. Instead, the entire game was designed from the ground up so that there are multiple ways out of every predicament, at least one for any possible squad composition. The amount of careful planning on display here is simply astounding.
The story is quite fun: your character is inducted into a secret society that fights supernatural threats in New York City, keeping the “mundane” world safe and unaware of their precarious place in the multiverse. The characters are well-written, and full voice-acted. Even though it stays safely within the confines of its genre, Unavowed is nevertheless an enormously ambitious piece of work.
Unavowed is available DRM-free at GOG.com.
(Greg Lobanov, released September 27)
So, a weird personal thing here. This game is beloved by many, and I can see why. There’s a relentless positivity toward it. And it’s not a naïve sort of positivity, either: it emphasizes that even when we’re well aware that things are dark and hopeless, we owe it to others to be positive and nice. As someone who gets all sullen and antisocial in the face of things like the 2018 IPCC report and continuing reveals about family separation and children’s death at the southern US border, this message is a helpful one. It reminds me to be kind to my neighbors and co-workers, because no one will have the energy to tackle any of these problems if we can’t be pleasant to one another.
That said: this game gave me a headache and made me literally nauseous. For some physiological reason I can’t ascertain, I am sensitive to strongly saturated colors emanating from backlit screens. I should have known not to play this game in long sessions, or at the very least to turn the backlight on my monitor down, but I stupidly didn’t. As a result, this game made me feel physically ill.
A weird detail! I don’t know how many other people are sensitive in this way. But if you have ever in your life felt nauseous after viewing bright screens for an extended period of time, be forewarned that this game can be a trigger. Its color saturation is … uncompromising. It’s got kind of a Lisa Frank thing going on. (Aesthetically, I can’t say I’m too fond of it. But that’s a matter of taste, and a separate issue. I didn’t get a headache from the game offending my aesthetic sensibilities.)
Anyway, this game is wonderful and necessary. It’s been getting rave reviews all over the place, and those reviews are well-deserved. I just couldn’t in good conscience add my voice without also acknowledging that it produced these fluke physiological effects for me.
Wandersong is available DRM-free from The Humble Store, GOG.com, and itch.io.
Return of the Obra Dinn
(3909, released October 18)
I was expecting In the Valley of Gods and Kentucky Route Zero Chapter Five to release in 2018, and they didn’t. I honestly wasn’t expecting Return of the Obra Dinn to release. It had slipped off my radar since the 2016 release of the proof-of-concpet build on itch, and I had assumed it was still nowhere near completion. Thankfully, I was wrong about that! Lucas Pope’s much-anticipated follow-up to Papers, Please dropped quite suddenly in October, filling the void that the non-release of those other high-profile indie games had lacked.
In my August post, I praised Ben Wander’s A Case of Distrust, released in February, as being an uncommonly good investigative adventure game. Unfortunately for Distrust, the bar has now been raised on investigation games. Obra Dinn is something utterly new, and impossibly impressive. It’s not a mystery game based around on pointing-and-clicking on designated interactive clues in the environment. It’s not a mystery game based around picking the right dialogue options from a list. Like HER STORY (Sam Barlow, 2015), its mystery can only be pieced together through careful observation. You need to recognize faces, recognize outfits, recognize spoken languages and accents, make deductions on matters of kinship and rank. The clues are all there, but they’re not there in the form of interactive hot spots. They’re there in the position of character models, the depiction of labor, the inflections in the voice work, the minute details of the mise-en-scène—right down to the tags on hammocks where the crew sleeps.
And yet, despite tossing out everything usually associated with mystery adventure games, Obra Dinn is still very much a game! A glorious game, that precisely tracks your investigative skills. As wonderfully described by my co-worker Jessica, it is a brain-tickling game of “murder sudoku,” in which you’re constantly juggling the whos, the whats, and the wheres to get them to add up precisely.
There are gripes I have with Obra Dinn. It doesn’t seem possible to solve 100% of the game’s fates without brute forcing your way through a few final elusive details, which isn’t particularly fun (even if it is still satisfying, in its own way). The UI felt kludgy at times, making me wish that I could swish forwards and backwards through its discrete tableaus of grisly death as effortlessly as one can scrub through time in Tacoma (Fullbright, 2017). But I almost feel guilty griping about these things. Of course the game isn’t flawless: Lucas Pope basically invented an entirely new genre, by himself. It’s worth dealing with a few minor UI headaches to get in on the ground floor with this one.
I look forward to the raft of imitators that this game will inspire, if there’s any justice in the world. Murder sudoku, it turns out, is a wonderful genre, and one that deserves to be iterated on posthaste.
The Return of the Obra Dinn is available DRM-free at GOG.com.
(FromSoftware, released November 6)
So, for their first venture into VR, FromSoftware made a game about fairies. Huh. Don’t think anyone saw that coming.
I kept waiting for this one to get dark and spooky. One of my favorite horror games of all time, Rule of Rose, is set in a boarding school/orphanage environment, so I knew it could easily be done. And, yes, eventually things do get darker in Déraciné, along the usual and predictable From lines: humans coveted a supernatural power, found a way to use it for themselves, but it corrupted them, drove them mad, yada yada yada. But Déraciné takes its sweet old time getting there, and along the way you have to hear a half-dozen British youth exclaim “the faerie!!!” in a naïvely enchanted drawl what feels like thousands of times.
If you can ignore that annoyance, what you’re left with is an adventure game in which you’re sliding backwards and forwards in time small isolated segments in time, trying to piece together a sequence of events. This particular form has been all the rage in recent years: In Tacoma and Obra Dinn, you shuffle your way through past moments in order to assess what happened in a now-abandoned space. In The Sexy Brutale (Tequila Works, 2017) and Last Day of June (Ovosonico, 2017), you actively try to change the past in ways that alter the present. This is an attractive format for VR creators—in fact, Tequila Works, the developers of Sexy Brutale, already did it themselves with The Invisible Hours, a VR immersive theater experience that had the bad fortune of releasing in 2017, right in the wake of Tacoma. (I must admit that I totally missed The Invisible Hours when it came out. In my defense, it was Tequila Works’ third game released in 2017, after Sexy Brutale and RiME. See what I mean about 2017 being overstuffed?)
The Invisible Hours was astoundingly ambitious, and surprisingly successful. Déraciné is not up to that high standard. From has spent the past decade doing storytelling from a sideways direction. Their Souls games pack endless lore into written item descriptions. Meanwhile, the NPCs you meet typically lack animations that aren’t related to combat, and everyone you talk to is a little bit mad. As a result, From doesn’t have a whole lot of practice with character animations and voice work, and it shows. They’re just not the best fit for the material. Déraciné is an interesting artifact if you want to trace how certain storytelling trends are crystalizing in games, and being imported as a natural fit for VR. Otherwise, though, it’s a fairly forgettable and boilerplate experience.
Déraciné is a PS4 exclusive. You can get it via the PlayStation Store.
(IO Interactive, released November 9)
I typically focus my attention on smaller indie fare in these retrospectives. Part of this is because I want to encourage experimentation within the medium; part of it is because I feel that the creators of these games have the most to gain from signal-boosting on even the tiniest blogs.
Hitman 2 is a big-budgeted affair, but I’m going to include it here anyway, for two reasons. One is that, despite having an actual marketing budget, it was released in a season where the expected annual releases of Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, and Battlefield were joined by attention-sucking giants such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and I feel like there wasn’t space for it to get the attention it deserved. Secondly, I’d be lying if I said any other game I’ve written about was my favorite game of the year. As much as I loved The Red Strings Club, CHUCHEL, FAR: Lone Sails, Fugue in Void, Obra Dinn … I can’t, in all honesty, say I enjoyed them more than Hitman 2.
Each iteration of the Hitman series seems to be evolving into my perfect game. The latest game isn’t quite there yet, but it’s damn close. The setup for each level is a violent one: you have somewhere between one and three targets, and those targets must die. But for a game organized around the business of murder, Hitman‘s central pleasures are surprisingly nonviolent. Each contract is an opportunity to step into an elaborately-simulated world, a world not just of guards and hardened compounds but of musicians and actor, barbers and bakers, mechanics and tailors, mailmen and waitstaff. There is a satisfying arc to each level. The first time you play it through, you are a gobsmacked tourist, in awe of its sprawling scale. The fourth or fifth time, you are an obsessed tinkerer, experimenting with the tiniest minutia of costumes and NPC routines. And at no point between these extremes of bewildered awe and finely-honed familiarity do the levels cease to become utter sources of joy.
At one point, in Mumbai, I had slipped into the role of the local barber. Theoretically, this was to get me slit my target’s throat, Sweeney-Todd-style. But before I did this, I just slipped into my role, and served customers. Each customer traded rumors with me, dropping bits of information about what each local crime lord had recently been up to. And I suddenly realized that I could turn the UI and its hints off entirely. I could learn everything I needed to know about this world simply by slipping into a role and existing within it. This world was revealed to me over the course of doing an honest day’s labor, and keeping my ears perked. In level after level, I slipped into the clothes of laborers, and listened to what those around me had to say. A sprawling mess of social relations gradually revealed itself. There are enormous pleasures to be found in the details of each Hitman level, even if you never get around to killing anyone.
Hitman 2 was, quite surprisingly, the game that seemed the most keyed in to the political moment of 2018 out of anything I played. Agent 47 isn’t exactly a working class hero—he’s a contractor, yes, but his skills are high-value enough that his position isn’t precisely precarious. But even if our hero isn’t a member of the proletariat, the game is unrelenting in its assigning capitalists to the role of villains. It’s refreshing to play a AAA game with such a clear class consciousness, that understands that the obscenely wealthy are bad because their wealth makes them bad, that hoarding the earth’s resources while others suffer is evil in and of itself. On a privately owned island, a wealthy scion addressed an exclusive club of fossil fuel executives, congratulating them on how successful their efforts had been at obscuring the reality of climate change through lobbying and the purposeful sowing of misinformation. The truth was now undeniable, but that was fine, because by this point all of them had bought their multibillion dollar bunker in the secret prepper colony that the ultrarich have built to save themselves from the fate they doomed the rest of us to. Then she took a sip of her champaign and died, because I had poisoned it. It is surprisingly easy to get deadly access to the ultrarich if you pose as a laborer. These people are invisible to them.
Yes, it’s a fantasy. But if MAGA gamers get The Division to play out their right-wing fantasies of shooting looters in hoodies, I think it’s only fair that DSA-types get Hitman 2.
Hitman 2 isn’t available DRM-free from anywhere, but if you want to support a good cause while picking up the Windows version, you can buy it at the Humble Store.
(Beat Games, released May 1st on Windows VR, November 20 on PSVR)
Motion controls, and VR. There’s a question mark perpetually hanging over both of them.
Motion controls have been around for over a decade now. These days most console hardware has some sort of motion control possibility built-in. But despite this, no one’s really cracked the code on how to use it right, and the masterpieces of the form (Wii Sports, Johann Sebastian Joust, and Child of Eden on the Kinect) are few and far between.
VR has now been around for a couple years, after a false start in the early ’90s. It’s definitely a thing that exists. It hasn’t proven an embarrassing commercial flop, yet. And yet, again, it seems tough to develop for. There are some shining bright spots (Rez Infinite, SUPERHOT VR), but there aren’t yet a suite of best practices that will predictably lead to an enjoyable VR game.
Beat Saber, then, is a rare bird: a fantastic motion control game that is also a fantastic VR game. Best described as Rock Band meets that version of Fruit Ninja that was supposed to be the Kinect’s killer app, Beat Saber is a game where you pretend to hold a sword in each hand, slicing through colored blocks that as they arrive on a set beat. That’s pretty much it. But it does what a motion controlled game is supposed to do: give you an activity that is actually fun to perform with your body, in and of itself. And it does what a VR game is supposed to do: give you a game mechanic that takes advantage of the superior spatial awareness that the technology provides.
Beat Saber is proof positive that you can make a wildly fun VR party game, despite the apparent solipsistic limitations of the format. Unfortunately, I am currently stuck in some levels that require you to severely curtail your bodily movement, which are severely un-fun. Thankfully, the game is still in early access (at least according to its Steam page—its page for the PlayStation Store, where I bought it, says nothing of the sort), so theoretically this section may be re-jiggered in response to player feedback. I hope it does; that’s the only thing dampening my recommendation for this otherwise wonderful game.
Thanks to Jordan Schonig for putting this one on my radar!
Beat Saber isn’t available DRM-free from anywhere, but if you want to support a good cause while picking up the Windows version, you can buy it at the Humble Store.