Just a few months ago, the indie climbing game “Only Up” gained a massive Twitch audience, with streamers like xQC, Ninja, and Pokimane broadcasting the clumsy, clunky experience to over 279,000 simultaneous viewers. Now the game’s developer has abruptly removed it from the PC game store Stream, citing months of “stress.”
In a Steam patch note attached to the now-removed game, Only Up’s creator—who goes by the name Indiesolodev—explained why the once-viral game has since gone dark via the leading marketplace.
“I’m a solo developer and this game is my first experience in game dev—a game I did for creativity, to test myself, and where I made a lot of mistakes,” they wrote. “The game has kept me under a lot of stress all these months. Now I want to put the game behind me.”
“The game won’t be available in the Steam store soon, that’s what I decided myself,” Indiesolodev added. “What I need now is peace of mind and healing.”
The developer explained that as game design student, they don’t want to worry about supporting Only Up anymore. Instead, they want to “take a pause” and then continue their education.
Only Up’s developer also said that they want to focus on developing their next game instead—one with “realism, a completely different genre and setting, and the emphasis is on cinematography.”
And despite the solo pseudonym, the developer plans to create their next game, tentatively titled Kith, with a team.
Only Up received nearly 13,000 Steam reviews since its release in May 2023. It garnered a “Mostly Positive” score with 71% of the game’s reviewers marking it as a positive experience.
In Only Up, players took on the role of a teenager named Jackie, who must climb his way to the top of the game’s world in an effort to “get out of poverty and embark on a journey of learning about the world and yourself.”
The game also enticed crypto fans with its variety of references to Goblintown NFTs, but many other gamers complained about Only Up’s use of NFT art. Fans of the game have speculated online that Only Up’s developer could have removed the game in part due to its use of copyrighted material, reporting that Only Up also contained music from existing anime shows and video games like Final Fantasy.