10 of the best games from itch’s Bundle for Ukraine

The world is an exceedingly sucky place right now, as I’m sure you’re all aware. And one of the worst things about it is that a lot of the things that are making it suck are things that it feels difficult or even impossible to do anything about directly. There is, however, always value in tossing some of your own money in the direction of a good cause — and indie outlet itch.io’s new Bundle for Ukraine, hosted by Gunhouse creators Necrosoft, is a great means of doing so.

Much like the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality from 2020, which raised an astonishing $8.1 million, the Bundle for Ukraine offers you the opportunity to pick up more video games than you will ever know what to do with in exchange for handing over $10 or more in support of those suffering in the present situation in Ukraine. At the time of writing, the bundle is just shy of $1 million dollars raised, with a little over 9 days left to go — so it looks like this will be a similarly productive means of doing good while being entertained.

All proceeds from the Bundle for Ukraine will be split between two charities: the International Medical Corps, who are providing medical assistance in the Ukraine region during the current crisis, and Ukrainian organisation Voices of Children, who help children cope with the horrors of war and the post-traumatic stress disorder that can follow, along with helping them re-integrate into school and society. The latter has also been helping set up shelters while the crisis is ongoing.

If you want to get involved right away, click here to pick up your Bundle for Ukraine for $10 or more. And if you’re struggling to pick what to try from that massive collection first, allow us to offer a few suggestions that are very much worth your time — including both work from friends of Rice Digital and stuff we just thought was pretty cool!

Arcade Spirits

Bundle for Ukraine: Arcade Spirits

This well-regarded visual novel follows the misadventures of a group of gamers in an alternative timeline where the great video game crash of 1983 never happened. Taking on the role of yourself — with a fully customisable main character — it’s your job to try and achieve happiness, as well as ensure that the Funplex game arcade continues to thrive.

Arcade Spirits has drawn particular praise for its highly inclusive nature, as well as its “role-playing choices”, whereby the things you choose to do and say throughout the game affect both your character’s in-game personality as well as the overall situation. A sequel is on the way soon, so picking up the Bundle for Ukraine is a great opportunity to get caught up ahead of that.

Find out more here.

Celeste

Bundle for Ukraine: Celeste

I’d be very surprised if anyone reading this is unfamiliar with Celeste — but on the offchance you haven’t played it yet, now you really have no excuse whatsoever, since the Bundle for Ukraine is a quick and easy way to get your hands on it.

If you really are unfamiliar with Celeste, it’s an extremely well-regarded precision platformer with a touching, heartfelt narrative. There’s a lot more to it than might initially appear — and the truly hardcore can challenge the brutal “B-side” levels!

Find out more here.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!

Bundle for Ukraine: Cook, Serve, Delicious 2

This fun cooking game allows you to run your own restaurant — and carries with it all the stresses of doing so, though also a bunch of customisation options so you can make it as frantic and challenging or (relatively) chilled out as you prefer. It features a great sense of humour, solid gameplay and a ton of secrets to discover — and you can even play the whole thing with a friend in the local co-op mode.

This is a game that I can say with some confidence might feel like a fairly “casual” affair when you first start playing — but when you get truly involved with what’s going on, it can very easily become an obsession. You have been warned!

Find out more here.

Demonizer

Bundle for Ukraine: Demonizer

This vertically scrolling shoot ’em up sports some seriously sexy pixel art, solid mechanics inspired by Raiden Fighters, Strikers 1945 and Battle Garegga, and an excellent FM synthesis soundtrack just like grandpa used to make.

It’s a well-regarded shoot ’em up that is well worth your time — and mine, too; expect to see this in a future Blissful Death column. Plus who doesn’t love succubi?

Find out more here.

Highway Blossoms: Remastered

Bundle for Ukraine: Highway Blossoms

This yuri visual novel by Studio Élan is one that’s been around for a while now, but one which is well-loved with good reason. It has great characters, a fun story — and this version in the Bundle for Ukraine features optional full voice acting, a remastered soundtrack and better art on top of the six or so hours’ reading that the original release offered.

The game’s expansion Highway Blossoms: Next Exit isn’t part of the Bundle for Ukraine — but if you enjoy the company of these girls, you can do far worse than dropping Studio Élan another ten bucks to spend a bit more time with em, eh?

Find out more here.

Nina Aquila, Legal Eagle: Season One

Bundle for Ukraine: Nina Aquila, Legal Eagle

If you enjoy a bit of Phoenix Wright-style rookie lawyer action in the courtroom coupled with some well-presented top-down adventure game action, Nina Aquila, Legal Eagle will doubtless be of interest to you.

Offering three full episodes with around ten hours of gameplay in total, fun minigames to play on the way, lovely character art and a bunch of intriguing mysteries to solve, this is one the armchair detectives will love.

Find out more here.

Omeganaut

Bundle for Ukraine: Omeganaut

If you enjoyed the original Starfox/Starwing for Super NES, but wish all those jaggedy low-poly shapes were in 1080p and 60fps, this game will likely make you very happy indeed.

While it lacks the sense of narrative progression and drama that Starfox does, its randomly generated levels and enjoyable chiptune music make it a fun arcade-style blaster worth having available for when you fancy some retro 3D shoot ’em up action!

Find out more here.

SHUT IN

Bundle for Ukraine: SHUT IN

This adventure game explores the existential horror of wanting to do something as simple as going outside and getting some fresh air, but being completely unable to do so for one reason or another.

Featuring psychological horror and dark comedy elements, this is a great game for those in the mood for some spooky puzzling. Or those who just find the prospect of going outside inherently horrifying.

Find out more here.

Taimumari

Bundle for Ukraine: Taimumari

It’s a pixel-art platformer in which you play a cute catgirl who is also a wizard. I probably don’t need to say a lot more than that, but I will — this is a game with really nice presentation and pleasantly fluid gameplay, and the version you’ll find in the Bundle for Ukraine is the “Definitive Edition”, featuring enhancements and expansions over the original.

That said, if you prefer the original “Classic Edition” for whatever reason, that’s also included. The choice is yours!

Find out more here.

ZeroRanger

Bundle for Ukraine: ZeroRanger

This immensely stylish shoot ’em up takes on a deliberately green and orange-heavy aesthetic to give its whole experience a very distinctive feel. And it’s also a great game, to boot, featuring interesting mechanics and interesting mysteries to discover along the way.

There’s also local co-op and Tate mode compatibility for those who like to play their vertical scrollers as the gods of the arcade intended.

Find out more here.


Those are just ten picks from nearly a thousand titles available in the complete Bundle for Ukraine, so it’s obviously barely scratching the surface! Have you come across anything particularly noteworthy? Be sure to let us and the community know down in the comments, via the usual social media channels or the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page!

And if you’re yet to pick up this massive bundle for yourself, click here and get on that. You won’t regret it!

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Pete Davison
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