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Tiny game review: Self Checkout Unlimited

Currently Feeling: groggy

Spock & Jim OTP

Currently Listening: My cat demanding attention

Over the years I've accumulated a number of games over at, some free, some paid, and some part of the many bundles they do. Since the site is geared toward indie developers and encourages users to post works in progress and experimental games, many of these aren't quite long enough to do a full review or web shrine like I have over at my Games page. But being short on play time doesn't mean you can't still create something meaningful or fun, so I figured I'd feature a few that I've played here, and maybe help people wade through the huge library Itch currently has and find something they like.

Today's entry is about a walking "abandoned mall" simulator called Self Checkout Unlimited. It's high on visuals and vibes, and low on difficulty. Very chill. Click through to read the whole thing and see screenshots!

Screenshot of the main concourse from Self Checkout Unlimited, featuring the fountain and escalators
When you start out with the lights off, you find yourself waking up from a nap on a mall bench, and it can seem a bit spooky. But don't worry—there aren't any horror elements here. Your first order of business will be to visit the Birthday store, where you'll find the entrance to the first puzzle. I do use the word "puzzle" lightly, because there aren't any wrong answers here. They are more like reflective tools, and your answers are less meant to unlock a "correct" ending, and more to give you some insight into your psyche. More than anything, this game is meant to be relaxing, so don't get too stressed about which answers you pick.

screenshot from the second puzzle in the game, a nice trip through a lovely stream

After you finish the Birthday section, the rest of the mall will open up to you, though it still remains pretty linear, and you'll figure out where to go next as you walk through. Each section, designed like a store, functions in the same way--there's a small interactive part once you get inside the store, and this leads to a larger, more cinematic experience where you make some choices. All throughout, the 3d environments are lovely, and I took a ton of screenshots as I was playing through. Once of my favorite things to do is capture the most scenic moments I find and then add them to my "Beautiful Video Games" wallpaper folder, and there are several from SCU at the moment. If you'd like to download the ones I took and use them as your own wallpapers, I'll add a zip file at the end of this post.

From, you guessed it, the pool room.

A full explanation behind the game's philosophy can be found at the end, via a room that you may miss if you're in a hurry, so make sure you do some exploring. I'm familiar with the material that it was based on, so I saw some of this coming, but this didn't ruin anything for me. There are a couple of different endings, and then once you've completed them you're free to go back and replay any of the puzzle sections if you want. I like that they included this part in case you're interested, but I personally didn't feel the need to go back and revisit them. They're pretty straightforward and I don't really think that the game has much replayability. 

A screenshot of the mall ceiling window in the main concourse

Overall impression: Nice. Low on gameplay and high on vibes. 
Time to complete: an afternoon 
You might like this if you like: Walking simulators, great visuals, Robert Anton Wilson, vaporwave

zip file Click here to download the screenshots I took as wallpapers - 26 total (71 mb)


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