Welcome to this week’s installment of F2P Friday, where we highlight our favorite Free-2-Play games. The video game market is oversaturated and sometimes hidden gems can fall through the cracks. This is where we do all the digging for you and feature a new F2P game every week that we know you will enjoy. Let’s dive in!
We received our first glimpse of Ginkgo during the virtual USC Games Expo 2020 this past May. It was created strictly for PC and is now available for download through Steam. It is a puzzle adventure game with a supernatural horror theme and the team was inspired by East Asian culture. The story follows a young, unnamed girl who has returned home after the death of her mother. We learn early on that their relationship wasn’t the best. By unlocking her mother’s memories she is able to truly understand her mother’s life choices.
The unique mechanic within Ginkgo is the use of a needle and thread to complete a variety of puzzles. It requires players to aim and throw the needle at a variety of objects that can be connected using thread. These puzzles begin on the more simple side, first requiring you to connect a small fire to the lantern in order to open a door. Then as it progresses, it builds on the simple needle and thread mechanic to create harder puzzles to complete while also facing the horrors that await you.
Why You Should Play
If I hadn’t known that Ginkgo was designed by a group of students, I would have believed that it came to us from a small indie company. The flow of the mechanics is extremely well done. It surprised me to see how many types of puzzles could come out of a simple needle and thread mechanic. They also do not introduce mechanics that you will never see again, which creates a perfect “introduce, practice, and master” mechanic loop. This made me feel more confident in my skills when new factors were introduced later in game.
The story is what truly sold me on Ginkgo. It begins in a dark place as the unnamed daughter returns home after her mother’s death. Slowly as she uncovers bits of her mother’s memory we begin to understand her mother’s motives. In the end, it is left up to us to decide how the story ends, giving it a true psychological horror feel. The art and music used within help to create a memorable game from beginning to end.