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  1. Last week
  2. Pictured above: Hacktag We had another surprisingly busy week of new indie releases, so many that I'll have to come back in a few days with a bonus article. As always, I'm not here to personally recommend any of these games; I'm just highlighting some recent releases that you may have missed. Remember to check out reviews and videos to find more information on each game. Octogeddon All Yes Good $12.88 Octogeddon is a two-button shoot 'em up made by some of the original developers of Plants vs Zombies. You play as a rampaging octopus bent on punishing humanity for eating his fellow cephalopods. The gameplay involves attaching animal-based weapons to your tentacles, then rotating your octopus to direct your attacks at incoming enemies or blocking projectiles. Buy new weapons during your campaign with coins, then use shells you've collected at the end of your run to unlock new items that can appear in future missions. Crossing Souls Fourattic $14.99 Crossing Souls is a retro-inspired adventure game published by Devolver Digital. Set in California in 1986, a group of five friends have their summer turned on its head when they discover a mysterious pink stone that grants them the ability to travel to another realm. They soon find themselves wrapped up in a government conspiracy, and must use their unique skills to fight enemies and solve puzzles. You can also find Crossing Souls on the Humble Store, GOG, and PS4, with a Vita version coming soon. Swaps and Traps TeamTrap $9.99 Swaps and Traps is a puzzle-platformer with a really unique gimmick. Each deathtrap-laden puzzle takes place on a single screen, and the objective is to collect all the keys. The gimmick that makes Swaps and Traps special is that each time you grab a key, a portion of the screen flips in some bizarre way. The level becomes increasingly jumbled as you collect keys, forcing you to relearn its set-up on the fly. DYO Team DYO $11.99 DYO takes a similar approach to puzzles as Swaps and Traps, but with a co-op element. Two minotaurs are trapped in different halves of a split screen, and will have to work together to shift the screen around to open up paths for each other. There's 30 labyrinthine levels in all, which the developer says equals out to around four hours of content. The game is designed in such a way that you can technically play it solo by controlling both characters, but it was obviously built with co-op in mind. Hacktag Piece of Cake Studios $19.99 Speaking of co-op games, Hacktag is a stealth game set in a high-tech world of anthropomorphic animals. Players control mercenaries working for different corporations on stealth espionage missions for the highest bidder. One player is a field agent that sneaks around an isometric map, while the other is a hacker that supports them by unlocking doors and infiltrating computer systems. This asymmetric approach extends to the story, where each player gets their own narrative with different NPCs. You can play it alone like with DYO, but you'd be missing out on a big part of the experience. Dead Maze Atelier 801 Free-to-play Dead Maze is a 2D MMO set during a zombie apocalypse. Work together with other players to restore civilization by scavenging for resources, food, and water. Craft hundreds of different items and weapons, including modular player housing. Plant seeds to raise crops and breed livestock to build your own little self-sufficient oasis in a dangerous world. Fossil Hunters Reptoid Games $14.99 Create your own dinosaurs in Fossil Hunters, a paleontology-themed puzzle adventure game. Choose one of four fossil hunters and dig through underground levels to find fossil tiles. Connect the tiles together to create complete skeletons and further your scientific research. Join forces with your friends to create the ultimate dinosaur skeleton, or betray them at the last minute and hog all the glory for yourself. You can also find Fossil Hunters on the PS4, Switch, and Xbox One. Deep Sixed LRDGames $12.99 Finally we come to Deep Sixed, a new space exploration roguelite. You are a prisoner unwillingly working off the rest of your sentence as an interstellar cartographer exploring the far reaches of uncharted space. Chart new regions and try to survive the many unknown alien creatures you are bound to encounter on your journey. Manage disasters as parts of your rickety old starship break down through battle damage or old age. These parts will stay broken until you can figure out how to repair them using whatever scraps you can piece together. Which of these games caught your attention?
  3. Earlier
  4. Hi guys. I know websites that indie developers can use to score free game sound effects and music for their games. The secret is knowing where to look. So, I’ve made the process even easier by compiling a list of websites that offer free game sound effects that you can use in your next project. Many of these sites vary from major sound databases like to small blog sites dedicated to a particular niche. It’s important when you’re using sound asset sites to check the license agreement. Each website’s policy and usage guidelines may vary. So, be sure to check for commercial use and whether giving attribution is required or not.
  5. The indie developer 10tons Ltd has created dozens of games over the years, but their twin stick shooters are what always gain the most attention. Of these shooters, Neon Chrome and Crimsonland are easily the most well-known. Crimsonland in particular has built up quite the cult following since its initial release in 2003, and subsequent rerelease in 2014. For their latest twin stick shooter, Tesla vs Lovecraft, 10tons has returned to the formula that made them moderately famous in the first place. The result is a game that may be a bit lacking in content compared to their previous titles, but makes up for it with more refined core mechanics. The game starts out with Lovecraft interrupting Tesla while he is showing off some of his electrical wonders to the general populace. Lovecraft fears Tesla's technology, and warns that it will upset the natural order. When Tesla fails to heed his warning, Lovecraft uses his arcane tomes to unleash eldritch horrors upon the city of Arkham, destroying Tesla's lab and stealing some of his technology in the process. How summoning ancient gods is any less dangerous than electricity is never fully explained, but ultimately what little exposition the game provides is merely an excuse to use lighting guns and death rays to wipe out hordes of freaky fish people and flying tumors with teeth. The game's main campaign presents you with a map of Arkham that contains a little over 30 levels, each of which can be beaten in about two or three minutes, assuming you don't die. Missions really don't have any objective beyond surviving against hundreds of enemies and destroying Cthulhu statues whenever they appear. Much like in most arcade-style shooters, power-ups will randomly drop as you play, and you can increase the frequency of them by killing large groups of enemies at once. Power-ups come in four types: Weapons, Abilities, Supplies, and Perks. Weapons are fairly self-explanatory. You start each level with a pitifully underpowered pistol that you'll want to ditch as soon as you can. The game's arsenal ranges from period weapons like revolvers and Tommy Guns, to the wacky pseudoscience that you'd expect from a game about Tesla. There's only nine guns in the game, which is a fairly significant reduction from Crimsonland. The weapon types are also fairly limited, with four of those guns being some form of shotgun, and three of them being assault rifle-style automatics. The only two that can't be described as a shotgun or automatic rifle are the revolver and ball lightning gun, and sadly those are very underwhelming compared to the rest of the choices available to you. Luckily, your weapons are supplemented with Abilities. These are effectively sub weapons with limited charges, and they are much more varied than the standard weapons. Some examples include stationary Tesla Coil turrets, ethereal disks that ricochet off terrain, a pulse of eldritch fire, and a scattershot of lightning bolts. There's about a dozen of them in all, and they periodically spawn around the map just like any other power-up. They typically have six charges by default, but there are ways to increase that number. Supplies are another type of power-up you'll encounter, and they are just consumables that do something once picked up. The most common of them are health packs, shields that give you invulnerability for a few seconds, and experience doublers. Arguably the most useful of them is the nuke, which does exactly what you imagine it does. The final type of power-up are the Perks. These function exactly like the perks in Crimsonland, and many of them are even tweaked versions of perks from that game. You fill an experience bar as you kill enemies, and each time you level up you are presented with a choice of two perks. These are passive abilities that give you a small boost. Outside of the bullet ricochet perk, many of them are percentage-based buffs that stack on top of each other. Getting two 20% extra damage perks will give you 40% extra damage total, two extra projectile perks gives you two extra shots per trigger pull, etc. Combining different perks together can have some extremely satisfying results, such as extra projectiles and bullet ricochet with just about any shotgun. There's some epic perks too, and they are always a significant boost. Tesla vs Lovecraft plays a lot like Crimsonland, which is why I keep referencing it. It may have a more refined campaign mode and some tweaks here and there, but fans of 10tons' previous cult hit will feel right at home. Two of the most significant tweaks are the personal teleporter and Tesla Mech. The teleporter comes with three charges that gradually regenerate while not in use, and it allows you to quickly blink out of dire situations that would normally result in your untimely demise. The teleporter makes Tesla vs Lovecraft feel faster and more mobile than other 10tons games, which is a big plus in my opinion. The Tesla Mech acts like a super mode. Mech parts spawn on the map like any other power-up, and once you've collected six of them, you can press the E key to call down your stompy iron companion. Equipped with dual miniguns and a personal teleporter that causes damage to enemies, the Tesla Mech turns all but the toughest enemies into a fine, gory mist. It's perhaps the most fun part of the entire game, and it lasts just long enough to give you an edge, but not so long that it becomes boring to use. The game's campaign is divided into three Planes, each of which have around 31 to 33 missions. The Normal Plane is where you start, and mainly acts as a tutorial to prepare you for Ethereal and Eldritch. During the Normal Plane, every level you complete gives you access to new power-ups. Normal took me about two hours to complete, and outside of a handful of levels, it's not especially challenging. Ethereal and Eldritch are remixed versions of the same levels, but feature tougher and more numerous enemies. This is where Tesla vs Lovecraft's overarching progression system comes in, called Inventions. These are permanent upgrades that are purchased with Ether Crystals, and most of them have multiple tier levels. These Ether Crystals are collected by killing enemies, completing daily quests, and once you get to the Ethereal Plane, they'll spawn during levels. Most of the Inventions are quite expensive, and you'll probably only be able to afford one or two by the time you complete Normal. Inventions include increasing the duration of the Tesla Mech, giving you more teleport charges, higher chance of epic perk drops, etc. They might be fairly minor individually, but really add up after a while. Trust me, you will need all the help you can get by the time you reach Eldritch. The Ethereal and Eldritch Planes are the source of most of my complaints about Tesla vs Lovecraft, and based on the Steam forums, I'm not alone here. Simply put, the second two planes rely way too much on lucky power-ups to get anywhere. You don't realize just how pathetic the pistol is until you hit Ethereal and face significantly tougher enemies. You start each level inside your mech, but enemy spawns are fairly sporadic until after you leave it. Then it's a mad dash to the nearest weapon pick up and a lot of praying that some decent power-ups follow soon after. Even with the teleporter, it can be hard to kite enemies effectively because they tend to spawn all over the place. Many levels are also packed with dead ends and choke points. The Docks in particular get complained about a lot on the forums, even after several patches that tweaked the level. On the bright side, the developers are very receptive to feedback and have been releasing new patches on a weekly basis since release. One example of this was a patch last week that honestly broke the game for me. They decided that the ability to adjust camera distance made the game too easy and less fun, so they removed it. The problem is that the default camera is pulled in way too close. You have very little time to react to enemy hordes, and you'll frequently get ambushed by enemies you didn't see coming. The low FOV personally made me feel physically ill as well. I brought this up in the forums and the developer chatted with me and some other players over it. After just a few days, they reversed this decision and brought back the adjustable camera. These are the signs of a developer that truly cares about their game and audience, and it makes me confident that the issues Tesla vs Lovecraft have will eventually be fixed. Tesla vs Lovecraft isn't a massive leap forward in the realm of twin stick shooters, but it is a solid game that succeeds at what it sets out to do. There's a few underwhelming weapons and abilities, but most of them are fun to use, and the Tesla Mech is a magnificent power fantasy that doesn't overstay its welcome. In many ways, it's an improvement over Crimsonland. The introduction of the personal teleporter makes the game feel faster, and it gives you more options in combat. There are actual levels with terrain and scenery in them, and the enemies are far more visually interesting and coherent than Crimsonland's random collection of lizard people and spiders. Besides the harsh difficulty spikes and occasionally poorly designed level in Ethereal and Eldritch, the only other real complaints I have about Tesla vs Lovecraft are the lack of weapon variety and the unpleasant grind that is upgrading your Inventions. With a bit more content and some tweaks here and there, I can see Tesla vs Lovecraft being a twin stick shooter I return to every now and then for a few rounds of the endless survival mode. It's well worth checking out if you are a fan of the genre, especially if you've liked 10tons' games in the past. You can currently find it on Steam for $14.99.
  6. Pictured above: Break Arts II We had another surprisingly busy week of new indie releases, so much so that I may have to come back in a few days with a bonus article. I'm not here to personally recommend any of these games, just highlight some recent releases that you may have missed. Remember to check out reviews and videos to find more information about each game. Treasure Adventure World Robit Games $9.99 Treasure Adventure World is a complete HD remake of an old freeware game called Treasure Adventure Game that was released in 2011. Join Peep, his talking parrot Whydah, and their magical vessel The Glooskap on an exotic adventure through 16 tropical islands full of puzzles and treasure in this colorful 2D Metroidvania. This overhaul is so dramatic that Treasure Adventure World is barely the same game anymore, and features new hand-drawn HD graphics, more levels, enemies, and bosses, an expanded story, and a completely new game engine. You can also buy it on GOG and the Humble Store. Wartile Playwood Project $19.99 Wartile is a turn-based strategy game that recently released from Early Access that is designed to emulate campaign-driven tabletop miniature games. Create your warband of Viking miniatures and fight across tile-based battlefields inspired by Norse mythology. In addition to the miniatures, you'll also be collecting and customizing a deck of battle cards that can improve your warriors and hinder your enemies. Wartile is also available on the Humble Store. Remnants of Naezith Tolga Ay $9.99 Remnants of Naezith is a fast-paced grappling hook precision platformer built with speedrunners in mind. Swing your way through 80 branching levels as Kayra, a human that has been enhanced by the abilities of Naezith, an ancient thunder dragon that had his body shattered into fragments that were spread across the world. The game's physics engine is based around momentum, with well-timed swings allowing you to build up immense amounts of speed. Compete with other players in the global speedrun rankings, race player ghosts, and create and share custom levels with the game's built-in editor. Break Arts II MercuryStudio $14.99 Break Arts II is a high-speed, mecha-based combat racing game that recently made its way to Steam courtesy of Playism. Originally released on iOS, this version includes improved graphics, new content, and a reworked control scheme. The biggest new addition is the greatly expanded mecha customization, to the point that building your mech arguably eclipses the actual racing. You can make pretty much anything you want, and this customization extends to animations and weapon designs. I've read that the actual combat racing is a bit underwhelming though, so keep that in mind before buying. Aegis Defenders GUTS Development $19.99 Aegis Defenders is a game I recently became aware of after getting a coupon code for owning Iconoclasts. This 2D platformer is an odd blend of Metroidvania-style adventure with tower defense combat. Establish defensive positions against waves of enemies with your team of four Ruinhunters, each of which has their own set of passive abilities and gadgets. Level up your weapons and fuse them to make new items with different properties to suit each situation. Swap between characters on the fly, or bring along a friend to help you in split-screen co-op. You can also find Aegis Defenders on the Humble Store, PS4, and Switch. Attack of the Earthlings Team Junkfish $24.99 Attack of the Earthlings is a turn-based strategy game where you get to play as the hungry body-snatching aliens for once. The intergalactic energy megacorp Galactoil has made the mistake of trying to strip mine Planet X13. You play as the insectoid inhabitants of the planet on a mission to drive away Galactoil by eating all of their workers. Sneak through ventilation shafts to grab your prey by surprise and set up ambushes for corporate marines. Gather corpses to feed your young, allowing them to mutate into new subspecies to fulfill different combat roles. Planetoid Pioneers Data Realms $19.99 Planetoid Pioneers is the latest game from the developers of Cortex Command, and it just recently exited Early Access. The game markets itself as a "Physicsvania," which is a fancy way of saying that it's a 2D exploration game with intentionally wonky physics. Craft weapons and items, fight enemies, and get your legs blown off by a trap you failed to notice. A big part of the game involves building your own levels, vehicles, characters, and enemies with the game's powerful built-in editor and sharing them online. There's co-op as well, but unfortunately its limited to split-screen only. Planetoid Pioneers is also available on the Humble Store. Dandara Long Hat House $14.99 Finally we come to Dandara, yet another 2D pixel art Metroidvania that came out this week. The most noteworthy feature of Dandara is it's fast-paced, gravity-defying mechanics that will have you leaping between floors, walls, and ceilings in rooms full of rotating platformers and bizarre architecture. The game's controls were built specifically with touch screens in mind, but will work just as well with a more traditional input device. Dandara is also on the Humble Store, iOS, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One. Which of these games caught your attention?
  7. Pictured above: Tangledeep January is normally a pretty slow month for new releases, but this week was an exception. While we saw great titles like Iconoclasts, Subnautica, and Celeste released so far this year, the last few days were probably the busiest so far this year in terms of the volume of promising new releases. I'm not here to personally recommend any of them, just highlight some recent games you might have missed. Remember to check out reviews and videos to find more information about each game. Strikers Edge Fun Punch Games $14.99 Strikers Edge is a medieval "dodgebrawl" game, where the competitors are various ancient warrior archetypes, and the "balls" are spears, arrows, and throwing daggers. Choose one of eight strikers with unique weapons and abilities in 1v1 or 2v2 online and local multiplayer. Each character also has their own single player campaign, where you can learn about their backstory and how to use their abilities before heading online. Streamers will probably be excited about the Twitch integration that allows viewers to become members of the in-game crowd and vote on match modifiers. You can also find Strikers Edge on the Humble Store and PS4. Avernum 3: Ruined World Spiderweb Software $19.99 Ruined World is the remake of Avernum 3, the final chapter in Spiderweb's first Avernum trilogy. While the story remains largely the same as the original, Ruined World features some additional content, reworked UI and mechanics, and updated visuals, though the game still looks intentionally ancient. Your millage may vary on the redone mechanics, however; I've seen some older Spiderweb fans complain that Ruined World is more watered down than the original. Both versions of Avernum 3 are also on Spiderweb's website, GOG, and the Humble Store. Elementium Ignite Studio $14.99 The official description for Elementium is brief, uninspired, and overall poorly conveyed, but the trailer was intriguing enough that I felt like I had to highlight it here. It looks like your standard Portal clone at first, but then you notice the perspective manipulation. The game's puzzles are based around optical illusions, with the example puzzle in the trailer involving making cubes grow and shrink by picking them up from different angles and distances. It looks like it could be a pretty clever puzzle game, though it's so obscure that finding reviews and third-party opinions is rather difficult. Wulverblade Fully Illustrated, Darkwind Media $14.99 Wulverblade is a stylized 2D brawler set during the Roman invasion of Britannia. Take on the Ninth Legion as one of three playable characters and rally the northern tribes to your cause. As with any good brawler, Wulverblade features two-player co-op, though unfortunately its limited to local multiplayer only. The game is also available on the PS4 and Xbox One. Candleman: The Complete Journey Spotlightor Interactive $14.99 Candleman is a puzzle platformer where you play as an enchanted candle exploring a dark-yet-whimsical fairytale world in search of the light. Your wick can only remain lit for around 10 seconds at a time, and the game's puzzles mainly revolve around using your flame to light objects and manipulate shadows. Candleman is available on the Xbox One as well. Violet Cycle Weckr Industries $9.99 Violet Cycle describes itself as a "hyperkinetic, neopoly roguecade action game." In practical terms, it's an isometric roguelite brawler with procedurally generated levels that emphasize aerial combos, environmental destruction, and slamming enemies off floating islands. Find new power-ups and weapons between levels to help you reach the peak of the mysterious Tower Garden and uncover the truth of what happened to your world. Tangledeep Impact Gameworks $14.99 Tangledeep is a 16-bit roguelike RPG that recently exited Early Access. Explore a mix of procedurally generated environments and handcrafted levels as you battle monsters and discover new loot. Choose from 12 different jobs with over 100 skills divided between them. Improve your gear by entering challenging "Item Dream" mini-dungeons. You can even capture and raise monsters, then breed them to create even more powerful pets. If you aren't a fan of roguelikes then you can play the Adventure Mode instead, which reduces the game's difficulty somewhat by removing permadeath. Tangledeep is also on GOG. Delver Priority Interrupt $14.99 Finally we come to Delver, another roguelite dungeon crawler that just released from Early Access. Inspired by first-person action RPGs from the '90s, Delver is a pixelated adventure that promises to focus more on personal skill than grinding to victory. You can also find Delver on Android, if you somehow find playing a game like this with touch controls appealing. Which of these games caught your attention?
  8. January has been a pretty slow month for new releases, but that doesn't mean the rest of the year will be. Picking up where my previous two articles left off, here's 20 more indie games to keep an eye out for throughout 2018. Phoenix Point (PC) Snapshot Games Q4 2018 Phoenix Point is a spiritual successor to the X-COM franchise by its original creator, Julian Gollop. In 2057, humanity is on the verge of extinction following an invasion by alien sea creatures that have been able to adapt to everything the world governments have thrown at them. You are the leader of the Phoenix Project, a secretive organization dedicated to driving the aliens off the planet and bringing order back to humanity. The Bard's Tale IV (PC) inXile TBA 2018 Originally Kickstarted in the summer of 2015, the next game by Brian Fargo's inXile is a sequel to another beloved CRPG franchise that has been nearly forgotten. Explore a whimsical fantasy world with your party of adventurers and use a variety of lyrical powers to solve puzzles and interact with the environment. Descent: Underground (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Descendent Studios Fall 2018 Another old franchise getting a reboot this year is the classic 6 Degrees of Freedom shooter, Descent. This prequel has been in Early Access since 2015, but the developers ran into financial trouble late last year and had the beta pulled from sale. They have since made a deal with the company Little Orbit to wrap up development, so hopefully everything turns out fine when the game finally releases later this year. Overload (PC) Revival Productions, LLC Q1 2018 Descendent Studios might have the rights to the Descent license right now, but Revival Productions is making their own spiritual successor to the franchise. Created by several key developers of the original Descent games, Overload has been in Early Access since March of last year. The single player campaign is supposed to be done in a few months, with a free multiplayer mode coming in the second half of 2018. Wargroove (PC, Switch, Xbox One, PS4) Chucklefish TBA 2018 Wargroove is what happens when a small group of indie developers decide that the world needs a new Advance Wars game and aren't prepared to wait around for Nintendo to fill that void. It's being made by the team behind Starbound, so it has a pretty good pedigree backing it. There's apparently some crossover with Starbound as well, though we'll have to wait until Wargroove releases to know the whole story. Treasure Adventure World (PC) Robit Games February 7th, 2018 Another upcoming game by Chucklefish, though this time from the publishing side, is the 2D puzzle-platformer Treasure Adventure World. Set sail and explore a magical archipelago as a young boy and his pet parrot. Treasure Adventure World is due to release next week, so you won't have to wait very long to play it. Into the Breach (PC) Subset Games Early 2018 Into the Breach is the next game by the developers of FTL. It has roguelite elements like their previous game, but this time around it's a turn-based strategy game where you assemble a squad of mechs to defend cities from giant alien bugs. There isn't a solid release date yet, but according to the developers its "about 90% done." In other words, we might get to play it in five years. Way of the Passive Fist (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Household Games Inc Early 2018 Befitting its puntastic name, Way of the Passive Fist is a unique "defensive" brawler inspired by '90s arcade fighters. Instead of directly fighting your enemies with punches and kicks, Passive Fist is about dodging, parrying, and otherwise outlasting your enemies in a battle of endurance. Surviving Mars (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Haemimont Games Spring 2018 From the developers of Tropico comes Surviving Mars, a city building game set on the titular Red Planet. Establish a colony on the Martian surface as you brave inhospitable conditions and meteor showers. Research new technologies and slowly turn your budding outpost into a thriving, self-sufficient metropolis. Agony (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Madmind Studio March 30th, 2018 Agony is a survival horror game where you play as a tormented soul trying to claw your way out of Hell. Sneak past demons and horrific environmental hazards on your quest to find the Red Goddess. Scorn (PC) Ebb Software October 2018 While on the subject of nightmarish survival horror games with revolting imagery, Scorn is due out in the latter half of 2018. Unlike Agony, Scorn gives you access to some grisly weaponry, though ammo management plays a large role in the game's combat encounters. Ooblets (PC, Xbox One) Glumberland TBA 2018 Moving away from the body horror for now, Ooblets is a colorful blend of life management, farming sim, and creature trainer. Plant seeds that will grow into magical creatures called ooblets, then raise and train them to compete against rival tamers in turn-based battles. Mulaka (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) Lienzo Early 2018 Mulaka is a 3D adventure game inspired by the culture and folklore of the Tarahumara people of northwestern Mexico. Gain powers from ancient demigods and become a legendary Tarahumara shaman on your quest to defeat a foul corruption spreading across the land. The Church in the Darkness (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Paranoid Productions TBA 2018 Inspired by the events of Jonestown in the late '70s, The Church in the Darkness is a procedurally generated stealth game about infiltrating a fanatical cult in South America. Sneak into the Freedom Town complex to save your nephew by any means necessary, but be aware that all of your actions have consequences. No Truce With The Furies (PC) ZA/UM TBA 2018 No Truce With The Furies is a mixture of cop procedural and isometric CRPG. Explore the city of Revachol as a disgraced detective, facing enemies both real and imagined. Delve into your own thoughts to overcome emotional trauma and unhealthy obsessions. Phantom Doctrine (PC) CreativeForge Games TBA 2018 Phantom Doctrine is an XCOM-style turn-based tactical espionage game set during an alternate history 1980s. Uncover a global conspiracy at the height of the Cold War as either a KGB counterintelligence operative or a CIA assassin. Recruit operatives, smuggle weapons, and build contacts between missions to expand your global operations. Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark 6 Eyes Studio TBA 2018 Fell Seal is a turn-based tactical RPG inspired by the Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre franchises. Battle monsters and pass judgment on the wicked as an Arbiter, the mortal agents of the godlike Immortals. Build your band of Arbiters with over 20 character classes, 200 abilities, and hundreds of pieces of gear and equipment. Tower of Time (PC) Event Horizon March 2018 Tower of Time is a real-time tactical RPG that has been in Early Access since July, and the developers expect the game to be finished in a few months. The game is aimed more towards MOBA players, and has a large focus on skill shots and spells that need to be "drawn" with the mouse curser. There is also an Arrow-Time mechanic in the combat system that allows you to slow (but not stop) time to queue up orders. Yoku's Island Express (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) Villa Gorilla Winter 2018 Yoku's Island Express is an open world...pinball metroidvania? You play as the new postman of Mokumana, a dung beetle named Yoku. Navigation involves pinball-style mechanics like hitting levers and bumpers, and there are some parts where you just straight-up play a game of pinball to get past obstacles. It's an odd combination, and the game is supposed to be coming out pretty soon. Moonlighter (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) Digital Sun Early 2018 Finally we come to Moonlighter, an action RPG and shop management game. You play as Will, a humble shopkeeper with a craving for adventure. Manage your shop during the day, then explore dungeons at night on your quest for fame and fortune. Even after three articles, I've barely scratched the surface of promising indie games coming our way in 2018. Be sure to keep an eye out for these titles as they release throughout the year.
  9. Pictured above: Railway Empire We had another pretty slow week due to the Q1 release slump, but I still managed to find a few interesting new releases. As always, I'm not here to give personal recommendations, just highlight some recent games you might have missed. Remember to check out reviews and videos to find more information on each game. The Red Strings Club Deconstructeam $14.99 The Red Strings Club is a narrative cyberpunk adventure, and the latest indie game published by Devolver Digital. The "altruistic" Supercontinent Ltd is about to release its Social Psyche Welfare program, which the company claims will eliminate depression, anger, and other negative emotions from society. Uncover the truth as a freelance hacker by extracting information from unsuspecting corporate employees via mini-games that include bartending, genetic implant pottery, and phone impersonations. The Red Strings Club is also on the Humble Store and GOG. Super Slime Arena JellyTeam $14.99 Super Slime Arena is a 16-bit party game where everyone plays as an adorable slime monster. There's 35 playable slimes, and each one has a single hit point and a unique way of attacking. The most noteworthy features of Super Slime Arena are the player count and input devices. The game promises that you can use pretty much any controller you can think of, and there's no hard limit on the number of players per match. If you want to get a room of 50 people together with a random assortment of retro controllers and flight sticks then you can do it, as bizarre and chaotic as that might sound. Just be aware that Super Slime Arena has no single player to speak of, and it's too obscure to have a real online community. Railway Empire Gaming Minds Studios $49.99 Establish a thriving railroad tycoon during the Golden Age of American expansion in Railway Empire. Build a vast rail network from one coast to the other in a campaign that stretches from the 1830s to the 20th century. Transport passengers and goods on 40 historically accurate locomotives and develop over 300 new technologies to streamline your operations. Sabotage rival railway companies with spies and bandits to maintain industry dominance. Railway Empire is also on GOG, the Humble Store, PS4, and Xbox One. Still Not Dead Greg Sergeant $9.99 Still Not Dead is an FPS roguelite inspired by Doom that recently released from Early Access. Slash and shoot your way through six procedurally generated stages of Hell while being chased by Death. Choose Blessings or Curses between stages to improve your character and customize your playstyle. Unlock Skill Skulls as you complete runs to tweak the game's difficulty for an even greater challenge. Legrand Legacy: Tale of the Fatebounds Semisoft $24.99 Finally we come to Legrand Legacy, an RPG that markets itself as a love letter to classic JRPGs from the PS1/PS2 era. Explore the fantasy world of Legrand and bring peace to the land as the Fatebounds. In addition to old school-inspired JRPG combat, Legrand Legacy also features turn-based tactical battles where you control the military might of an entire nation against rival kingdoms. Recruit craftsmen and restore the city of Dumville to unlock side quests, mini-games, and vendors. Legrand Legacy is also on GOG and the Humble Store. It'll be making its way to the Switch sometime later this year, with PS4 and Xbox One versions coming in 2019. Which of these games are you interested in?
  10. Pictured above: Celeste Last week was a bit of a wasteland for new releases, even by the usual Q1 release drought standards. Instead, I decided to combine a few releases from last week with the minor tidal wave we are going to be hit with over the next few days. Since several of these games come out next week, my caveat about this not being a recommendation list applies even more than usual. Make sure you check out user reviews and videos for more information about each game. Nantucket Picaresque Studio $17.99 Nantucket is a narrative-focused strategy and management game set during the Golden Age of America's whaling industry. Set a few years after Herman Melville's classic novel, Nantucket places you in control of a whaling vessel and her crew on a quest to hunt down the legendary Moby Dick. Hunt whales and fend off pirates in a turn-based combat system as you sail across the high seas. Complete jobs to raise your prestige in the whaling industry, and upgrade your equipment to tackle larger operations. You can also find Nantucket on the Humble Store and GOG. Damsel Screwtape Studios $9.99 Damsel is a 2D action platformer that recently hit Early Access. You play as Damsel, a secret government agent tasked with hunting down vampires. Use a variety of movement tricks to quickly dash around levels and chain together kills for the best high score. The game currently features 25 missions in both the campaign and arcade modes, roughly a third of the content that will be in the full game. The developers expect the game to be in Early Access for about four months, and the current $10 price tag is a 50% discount off the game's final projected price range. Subnautica Unknown Worlds Entertainment $24.99 (Price may increase) After being in Early Access for a little over three years, the deep sea survival game Subnautica is finally getting its 1.0 release on the 23rd. Freely explore the oceans of an alien world as the lone survivor of a starship crash. Harvest resources so you can craft underwater dwellings, submersibles, and other equipment to fend off the world's aquatic predators. Uncover the secrets of the planet's abandoned structures and eventually find a way to escape your watery prison. Subnautica is also on the Humble Store, with PS4 and Xbox One versions coming soon. Iconoclasts Joakim Sandberg $19.99 Iconoclasts is a 2D action puzzle-platformer that has been in development by one person for around seven years now, and will be coming out the same day as Subnautica. You play as Robin, a renegade mechanic in a world where operating without a license is a severe crime. After escaping the wrath of Mother for her sins, Robin has embarked on a journey to fix her broken world and the people she cares about. Solve intricate puzzles, meet a colorful cast of characters, and overcome 20 massive boss fights. Iconoclasts will also be available on GOG, PS4, and Vita. Tesla vs Lovecraft 10tons Ltd $14.99 Tesla vs Lovecraft is the latest top-down twin stick shooter from the developers of the cult indie hits Crimsonland and Neon Chrome. Fight hordes of eldritch horrors as the famous eccentric inventor after they have been unleashed upon our world by H.P. Lovecraft's occult tomes. Use an arsenal of steampunk weapons like death rays, Quantum Teleportation Backpacks, and the gigantic Tesla-Mech. Other platforms you can find Tesla vs Lovecraft on include the PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. Celeste Matt Makes Games Inc $19.99 Finally, we come to the latest game by the developers behind TowerFall. Celeste is a 2D platformer about a young girl named Madeline trying to reach the top of the deadly Celeste Mountain on a personal journey of self-improvement. The game is bound to scratch anyone's itch for tight, brutal platformers with its simple and precise controls that you'll need to master if you hope to overcome the mountain's countless deathtraps. Celeste will also be on the PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. Which of these games are you excited to play?
  11. Pictured above: Full Metal Furies We're in the Q1 post-holiday slump, so new releases are still pretty sparse. Even so, I did manage to find a few interesting titles, and have decided to start covering Early Access games if they have a decent foundation already going for them. I'm not personally recommending any games on this list, just highlighting some recent releases that look promising. Make sure you read user reviews and search for videos to find out more about each game. Bravium INGAME $14.99 Bravium is one of those "hero defense" games you often see on mobile. It's not a genre I normally pay attention to, but this one looks fairly polished and has some nice visuals. Defend against hordes of monsters as either a Barbarian or Sorceress, both of which have their own set of upgradable skills and items. While Bravium is free-to-play on mobile, the PC version has been stripped of the usual grind, timers, and microtransactions in favor of a flat $15 price tag. Fallen Legion+ YummyYummyTummy, MintSphere $29.99 Fallen Legion+ is a compilation of two RPGs, Sins of an Empire and Flames of Rebellion, that are designed as companion games set in the same fantasy world. The first game places you in the role of Princess Cecille as she works to restore her crumbling homeland, while the second game follows Legatus on his quest to overthrow the empire and claim the throne for himself. The combat is in real time, and takes a lot of inspiration from the JRPG classic Valkyrie Profile. Both games were originally released on the PS4 and Vita, and there is a Switch port in the works as well. Yume Nikki Kikiyama Free Yume Nikki is a surreal Japanese adventure game that released way back in 2004. Thanks to the folks over at Playism, this cult classic has finally made its way to Steam, and just in time for the announcement of a new game called Yume Nikki: Dream Diary. Yume Nikki is one of the original walking sims, and allows you to explore twisted (and somewhat disturbing) dream worlds at your own pace as you try to decipher their meaning. Rusty Lake Paradise Rusty Lake $3.99 Paradise is the latest installment in the ongoing Rusty Lake series of psychological horror point-and-click adventures. You play as Jakob, the oldest son of the Eilander family, who has recently returned to the island of Paradise after his mother's sudden and mysterious death. The island has been cursed by the Ten Plagues, and it's up to you to unravel your mother's secrets and dispel the plagues by performing arcane family rituals. Paradise, along with the previous two premium Rusty Lake games, is also available on mobile. Full Metal Furies Cellar Door Games $19.99 Full Metal Furies is a co-op focused action RPG, and the latest game by the developers of Rogue Legacy. The game features four unique characters with upgradable skill trees and swappable special abilities. Enemies are protected by color-coded barriers that can only be destroyed by characters of the same color, forcing players to coordinate and combo their attacks to beat each encounter. While there is a solo mode where you can switch between characters on the fly, Full Metal Furies was designed from the ground up to be a co-op games, so keep that in mind before making a purchase. Full Metal Furies is also on the Xbox One and Humble Store. DUSK David Szymanski $20 DUSK is a fast arena FPS inspired by '90s classics like Quake and Blood. DUSK goes all the way in its quest to replicate the old school shooter experience by using blocky, low resolution graphics. The current Early Access build features the first 2/3rds of the single player campaign and the beta version of DUSKWORLD, the game's online multiplayer mode. DUSK is expected to be done in a few months, and will include three endless arenas and mod tools in addition to the full campaign and multiplayer. Forged Battalion Petroglyph $19.99 Finally we come to Forged Battalion, a new RTS by Petroglyph Games. This studio of ex-Westwood developers are once again trying to create a true successor to the Command & Conquer legacy, and Forged Battalion features many mechanics that will be familiar to fans of that franchise. The standout feature of Forged Battalion are the customizable units and structures. The metagame tech tree allows you to research new upgrades to further tweak your ever-evolving faction and their arsenal. The Early Access version currently includes the first of four story campaign acts, five maps for multiplayer and skirmish mode, and two game types. Forged Battalion is set to be in Early Access around six months. Which of these games caught your attention?
  12. Despite all the great games that have come out of Early Access over the years, this is still an industry trend I normally avoid. I know I'm not alone on this either, as any given Early Access game's forum usually has half a dozen topics per month asking when the full release is expected to come out. No one wants to buy a game in Early Access and get a repeat of DayZ, a title that has been available for four years with no final release in sight. Even when it comes to genuinely good Early Access games, there is always the chance of getting burned out before it's done. All in all, it's generally best to wait for an Early Access game to leave beta before buying it, and based on their development roadmaps, the following 20 games will be crossing the finish line in 2018. Midair Archetype Studios Midair is a fast and brutal jetpack shooter with an emphasis on Capture the Flag, and it's probably the closest we'll get to a new Tribes game since Hi-Rez abandoned Ascend. The game originally hit Early Access on August 5th of last year, and the final product should be ready Q1 2018. CrossCode Radical Fish Games Originally released on May 15th, 2015, CrossCode is a retro-inspired action RPG that promises around 60 hours of content once complete. The developers are shooting for an early 2018 launch date. Subnautica Unknown Worlds Entertainment This underwater exploration and survival game from the Natural Selection team has been in development longer than most of the games on this list. It originally launched at the end of 2014, but the devs finally have a concrete release date of January 23rd. Ghost of a Tale SeithCG Ghost of a Tale is a Redwall-inspired stealth action RPG developed primarily by a single veteran animator from DreamWorks. The game was successfully crowdfunded in 2013, and hit Early Access in the summer of 2016. After many delays, Ghost of a Tale is currently set for a March 2018 release. They Are Billions Numantian Games This post-apocalyptic steampunk city building RTS is a fairly recent Early Access release, and has been consistently trending on Steam since it came out in mid-December. The campaign mode is supposed to be finished sometime in spring 2018. Northgard Shiro Games Northgard is an empire management RTS set in a world inspired by Norse mythology, though its much closer to Civilization than it is StarCraft. It's made a lot of progress since launching in February 2017, and the developers expect it to be done sometime before March. For The King IronOak Games Released in early 2017, For The King is a rogue-lite strategy RPG that is designed to replicate popular adventure board games. Players move their character around procedurally generated hex-based boards, and combat plays out in turn-based, JRPG-style battles. There's no full release date set just yet, but hopefully it'll be finished before the end of the year. Sunless Skies Failbetter Games The successor to Sunless Sea, Sunless Skies is a "literary RPG" where you explore the bizarre floating islands of the Fallen London world. Based on the current development roadmap, we'll probably be seeing a full release in the latter half of 2018. Oxygen Not Included Klei Entertainment Klei has a long history of using Early Access to improve their games based on player feedback, and their space colony sim Oxygen Not Included is no exception. There isn't a final release date yet, but we can expect tons of new features and content throughout 2018. Dead Cells Motion Twin Dead Cells is a "rogue-lite Metroidvania," and many of my friends have been raving about how spectacular it already is. The game is a fairly complete package from what I hear, with most of the current development consisting of bug fixes and trying out new ideas before the full release. Slay the Spire Mega Crit Games Slay the Spire is another rogue-lite many of my friends are currently obsessing over, and features combat based around building a deck of cards as you explore the titular Spire. It hit Early Access in mid-November, and the devs expect the game to be finished in around eight months. Deep Sky Derelicts Snowhound Games Deep Sky Derelicts is a card-driven rogue-lite that, coincidentally, hit Early Access the same day as Slay the Spire. This one is party-based, and is set in a sci-fi universe where you assemble a gang of rogues and ruffians. The developers expect the game to leave Early Access in March. Space Tyrant Blue Wizard Digital Space Tyrant is a bite-sized 4X inspired by pulp sci-fi comics and cartoons, except this time around you get to be the evil intergalactic warlord. It's being made by ex-PopCap developers, and should be leaving Early Access later this year. City of Brass Uppercut Games Bring salvation to a cursed city in this Arabian Nights-inspired first-person rogue-lite. City of Brass entered Early Access back in September, and the updates have stayed fairly frequent as far as I can tell. Uppercut Games expects that City of Brass will be in Early Access for less than a year. Tannenberg Blackmill Games Created by the developers of Verdun, Tannenberg transports players to the Eastern Front of WWI. The final product will even allow you to swap between the two titles in-game. Tannenberg was largely feature complete when it hit Early Access in November, and should be done soon. Door Kickers: Action Squad KillHouse Games A spin-off of KillHouse's tactical SWAT strategy game, Action Squad is a side-scrolling shooter focused on co-op where players are tasked with rescuing hostages, disarming bombs, and taking down terrorists. Despite hitting Early Access only a few months back, KillHouse expects the game to be done before July. Pit People The Behemoth Pit People is The Behemoth's current project, and it's a turn-based tactics game set in a comedic post-apocalyptic world. You can play it alone, but it was built with co-op in mind, much like their previous games. Based on their development roadmap, we should be seeing a full release in the first half of 2018. The Vagrant O.T.K Games This is a title I just recently stumbled across when doing research for this article, and it looks pretty solid. The Vagrant is a side-scrolling action RPG where you play as a buxom rogue fighting her way through a fantasy world. The developers are shooting for a February or March release date. All Walls Must Fall inbetweengames All Walls Must Fall is a tactical, simultaneous turn rogue-lite set in an alternate 2089 Berlin where the Cold War never ended. The campaign will probably take you less than two hours to complete, but the game was built with branching paths and replayability in mind. All Walls Must Fall is supposed to be leaving Early Access Q1 2018. Book of Demons Thing Trunk Finally we come to Book of Demons, a hack and slash RPG with card-based abilities that seeks to distill the genre down to its most basic form. The developers intend to make this the first in their Return 2 Games line, a series of titles inspired by different classic PC games that deconstruct the original's genre. Book of Demons should be out sometime in the latter half of 2018. There's still a near-countless number of Early Access games out there, many of which may or may not get a full release in 2018. This list doesn't even include all the other original indie games we have to look forward to this year, some of which I covered in another article. I hope you're ready to expand your backlog, because 2018 is going to feature a plethora of new games to play.
  13. Now that we are nearly two weeks into a new year, it's time to look ahead at the games we'll get a chance to play over the next 12 months. Last year was brutal for anyone covering (not to mention buying) indie games, with wall-to-wall new releases almost every month. I can already tell 2018 will be no different. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but here's 20 indie games to keep an eye out for in 2018. Iconoclasts (PC, PS4, Vita) Joakim Sandberg January 23rd, 2018 Our first game on the list is one that you don't need to wait very long to play. This action-platformer has been in development for seven years, largely by a single person. Play as the renegade mechanic Robin on this story-driven epic to repair a dying world, and the people that call it home. Warhammer: Vermintide 2 (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Fatshark Q1 2018 The sequel to Fatshark's visceral Skaven murder simulator is just around the corner. Vermintide 2 will feature deeper character customization and a new threat in the form of the Warriors of Chaos and their demonic overlords. If you preorder the sequel right now, you'll get access to the beta and a free piece of DLC for the original game. Kingdom Come: Deliverance (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Warhorse Studios February 13th, 2018 It's been a while since the historically accurate medieval sandbox RPG Kingdom Come was successfully funded on Kickstarter, but the final release is nearly upon us. Explore the massive Kingdom of Bohemia as you fight to repel an invading army and get revenge on the man that killed your family. Frostpunk (PC) 11 Bit Studios TBA The developers of This War of Mine have a new game in the works called Frostpunk. Like This War of Mine, Frostpunk is a survival game, except this time around it's about trying to manage an entire society on the brink of collapse. Make difficult choices to ensure your city survives another year in a frozen wasteland. Griftlands (PC) Klei Entertainment Q1 2018 Griftlands is a 2D open-world RPG by Klei Entertainment, a personal favorite of mine when it comes to awesome indie developers. Build a gang and make your fortune in a lawless society where anything and everything can be bought for the right price. Klei has another game you should keep an eye on called Oxygen Not Included, which is currently in Early Access. Death's Gambit (PC, PS4) White Rabbit TBA Adult Swim Games has developed a reputation for publishing rock-hard, retro-inspired indie games, and Death's Gambit looks to be more of their usual fare. You play as an agent of Death, executing your master's will as you slaughter all manner of beasts and monsters in a primitive, medieval world. Insert cliché comparisons to Dark Souls here. System Shock (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Night Dive Studios Q2 2018 Long before BioShock was even an idea, System Shock was one of the franchises everyone thought about when it came to FPS/RPG hybrids. Following the release of System Shock Enhanced Edition and a successful Kickstarter campaign, developer Night Dive Studios started work on a complete reimagining of the original game. Hopefully we'll be seeing the fruits of their labor before the second half of 2018. Underworld Ascendant (PC) OtherSide Entertainment TBA System Shock isn't the only classic first-person RPG franchise getting a new game this year. The Ultima Underworld series returns under the name Underworld Ascendant. Delve into the Stygian Abyss once again in this non-linear RPG that emphasizes player choice and emergent gameplay. Aquanox: Deep Descent (PC) Digital Arrow TBA Continuing the trend of classic franchises being reborn in 2018, the six degrees of freedom shooter Aquanox is getting rebooted sometime this year, thanks to a successful Kickstarter and the help of THQ Nordic. Customize your submarine and send your enemies' bullet-riddled corpses to the depths of an uncaring, dystopian ocean. Indivisible (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch) Lab Zero Games Fall 2018 Originally crowdfunded back in late 2015, Lab Zero's RPG Indivisible is due to release sometime later this year. The game features their signature hand-drawn animation, an active combat system, and action-platforming elements that play a role in dungeon exploration. The game already had a pretty solid foundation in the 2015 prototype, so I'm looking forward to seeing the final result. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (PC) Obsidian Entertainment TBA The sequel to Obsidian's old-school RPG hit Pillars of Eternity is set to release sometime this year, though we don't have an exact date yet. The action this time around moves to the dangerous Deadfire Archipelago, as your party pursues a rogue god. Befitting the new tropical island setting, players will be given command of their own customizable ship that acts as both a means of travel and a home base. Children of Morta (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Dead Mage TBA Children of Morta is a story-driven action rogue-lite about the Bergson family. Not only will you be doing plenty of dungeon-crawling and monster-slaying (with optional co-op), but you'll also have to manage and care for your family back at their estate between adventures. Gunhead (PC) Alientrap TBA Cryptark was one of my favorite sleeper hits of 2017, and Alientrap already has a sequel lined up. Gunhead follows the same basic gameplay loop of raiding heavily-armed space hulks for artifacts and resources, but switches the perspective from a 2D twin stick shooter to a fast, old school-inspired FPS. Wytchwood (PC) Alientrap TBA Alientrap is going to have a busy 2018, because they plan on releasing a second game this year, called Wytchwood. This crafting adventure places you in the shoes of the mysterious old witch of the woods, in a fantasy world inspired by ancient pagan fables and fairytales. Gather herbs, brew magical potions, and pass judgment on the nearby townsfolk. Industries of Titan (PC) Brace Yourself Games TBA The developers of Crypt of the Necrodancer are back with a new game that is quite the departure from their hit rhythm rogue-like. Industries of Titan is a city building and management sim set in a dystopian cyberpunk future. Build a thriving industrial metropolis on Saturn's moon, Titan. Design warships and amass your own private armada to protect your assets from rival corporations. MOTHERGUNSHIP (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Terrible Posture Games TBA MOTHERGUNSHIP is the spiritual successor to Terrible Posture's bullet hell FPS rogue-lite, Tower of Guns. MOTHERGUNSHIP promises to keep the core gameplay formula of Tower of Guns intact, but will add the ability to design your own arsenal of insane and over-the-top weaponry. Hellmut: The Badass from Hell (PC) Volcanic Winter 2018 Hellmut is an upcoming bullet hell rogue-lite about slaughtering hordes of demons with absurd guns and abilities. The key feature of the game is the Transformation mechanic, which allows you to polymorph into different characters with unique attacks. Preordering the game on GOG gives you instant access to the current beta build. Tunic (PC) Andrew Shouldice TBA Tunic is an adorable isometric Zelda-like adventure game where you play as a tunic-wearing fox boy. Explore a massive low-poly world full of intricate puzzles and dangerous foes. The developers eventually want to bring Tunic over to consoles, but no systems or release dates have been specified. The Last Night (PC, Xbox One) Odd Tales TBA If you watched the Microsoft E3 conference last year, you probably remember this gorgeous 2.5D narrative platformer. The Last Night quickly became one of the most talked about surprise reveals at E3 2017, and hopefully we don't have to wait long until we get a chance to immerse ourselves in it's pixilated cyberpunk world. BattleTech (PC) Harebrained Schemes Early 2018 Finally we come to BattleTech, the triumphant return of turn-based mech combat in FASA's classic tabletop universe. I didn't have a chance to back the original Kickstarter, but this is probably one of my top three most anticipated games of 2018. We can only hope that it's inevitable success results in a revival of BattleTech and MechWarrior games. This is but a small taste of the games we have to look forward to in the coming year. Hopefully they all meet or exceed our expectations, and may 2018 be another awesome year for unique and interesting indie games.
  14. Pitcured above: Post Human W.A.R It's been a few weeks, but I'm finally back with the first batch of recent indie releases for 2018. We are currently in the post-holidays slump where barely anything gets released, but I still managed to find a few games worth mentioning. These titles all came out in mid-to-late December, and its possible you missed them during the excitement over the largest Steam sale of the year. I can't personally speak for the quality of any of these games, so make sure you read some reviews before making a decision. Gorogoa Buried Signal $14.99 Gorogoa is a relaxing puzzle game with some beautifully hand-drawn and animated artwork. The game's entire premise is based around combining a series of images together in creative ways to discover the solution, and you'll often be forced to zoom in or out to find obscure details hidden in plain sight. A few of my friends have played it and thought it was a really satisfying and Zen-like experience, but please be aware that the puzzles aren't particularly difficult and you'll probably beat the game within an hour. Also available on GOG, iOS, and the Switch. Finding Paradise Freebird Games $9.99 Finding Paradise is the first full sequel to the hit narrative adventure To the Moon. Join doctors Rosalene and Watts on another operation to alter a bedridden patient's memories so they can experience their dying wish. As with the previous title, Finding Paradise is a narrative adventure with very little in terms of gameplay, and it'll only take you around five hours to get to the credits. You can also find the game on GOG and the Humble Store. Rumu Robot Horse $19.99 Continuing this week's trend of narrative games, Rumu is an isometric point and click puzzle adventure where you play as a robot vacuum cleaner. That may not seem very exciting, but the game takes place in a fully automated, futuristic smart home with a mystery that needs solving. As you go about your daily cleaning routine, you'll get a chance to interact with the home's other semi-intelligent smart devices and Sabrina, the house's AI companion. Everything seems normal and mundane in the life of a robot vacuum until you accidentally uncover the dark secrets of your elusive family, and begin the path to sentience as you question your programming. Post Human W.A.R Studio Chahut $14.99 Finally we come to Post Human W.A.R, the only game on today's list that isn't some sort of puzzle or narrative adventure. This turn-based strategy game is set in a comedic and lighthearted future long after humanity has nuked itself into oblivion. Three factions vie for power, including mutated wildlife, sentient apes, and repurposed cleaning robots from before the fall of the human race. Before each battle, you'll get a chance to recruit your force and secretly nominate a unit to be your champion. The goal of each battle is to figure out who the enemy champion is and kill them. Post Human W.A.R features a campaign and local and online multiplayer. You can also find the game on the Humble Store. Which of these games caught your attention?
  15. Pictured above: Vermintide Another wallet-crushing Steam Winter Sale is upon us. Gamers across the globe are currently filling their libraries with cheap games that they'll probably never even install. As usual, I'd like to take a moment to highlight some good deals you may have missed. I could be here forever listing awesome Steam deals, but I decided to limit it to 10 games I personally love that are under $10. Grim Dawn $7.49 (70% off) Grim Dawn was one of my favorite games from last year. Hell, the recent expansion has ensured that its one of my favorite games this year as well. Grim Dawn is one of the best paid action RPGs currently on the market, and it's exactly what disenfranchised Diablo fans are longing for. While the expansion and DLC packs are only mildly discounted, the base game is currently the cheapest I've ever seen it. That's still enough content to last you hundreds of hours, especially when you consider the sheer amount of character build possibilities due to dual classes and the Constellation system. If that's not enough hack 'n slash action for you, the remastered version of Titan Quest is also deeply discounted if you want to check out the developer's previous work. Impossible Creatures $2.49 (75% off) Before such massive hits as Homeworld 2, Dawn of War, and Company of Heroes, Relic made a fairly obscure little RTS called Impossible Creatures. This oddball game from 2003 was largely forgotten to the passage of time, until it was unexpectedly re-released and updated to run on modern systems a few years back. What made this RTS unique was that instead of controlling armies of tanks and infantry like its contemporaries, you crafted your own units by splicing together various animals. With over 50 animals to choose from, the list of possible combinations was pretty extensive, and the inclusion of Steam Workshop support only ensures that there's more to come. It might not be the best game Relic has ever made, but it's still worth checking out at the current sale price. Speaking of which, Relic's more fondly-remembered titles are all heavily discounted as well. Chroma Squad $3.74 (75% off) Chroma Squad is a turn-based tactics game with light management elements that perfectly encapsulates the inherently goofy nature of Power Rangers, and the Tokusatsu genre as a whole. After being fired by an unpleasable director, a stunt team decides to create their own costumed superhero TV series. Starting with a budget that consists of painted cardboard boxes, Chroma Squad allows you to reenact your Power Ranger dreams with flashy combination attacks, transformation sequences, and mecha battle minigames. Greater than the sum of its parts, Chroma Squad combines serviceable management with some solid turn-based battles to make a charming game that will entertain anyone that grew up watching the shows it parodies. Divinity: Dragon Commander $3.99 (90% off) Speaking of games that are greater than the sum of their parts, Larian's Dragon Commander is ridiculously cheap right now. Dragon Commander was developed as a little side game to hold people over until Original Sin came out, but it's pretty decent in its own right. It tries to do way too much at once between turn-based empire management, RPG-style conversations and negotiations, massive RTS battles, and third-person aerial combat. It might not excel in any one area, with the RTS segments being particularly shoddy, but Dragon Commander as a whole still manages to come together to form a fairly enjoyable game. Admittedly, your enjoyment of the game will still ultimately come down to how willing you are to look past some pretty rough mechanics here and there. Dungeon of the Endless $4.07 (66% off) Dungeon of the Endless is another stopgap title that was designed to satisfy fans between games. Released in the lead-up to Endless Legend, Dungeon of the Endless is a strange combination of dungeon crawler and tower defense roguelite that connects the two Endless franchises together. You control a small crew of survivors that have crashed on a savage and primitive world. Explore procedurally generated dungeons with your party of heroes, then set them up in defensive positions to protect your core from waves of enemies. As with any roguelite, death is permanent and you'll unlock a steady stream of new characters and ships as you progress through the game. All the rest of the Endless games are discounted as well, including 50% off of Endless Space 2. Bleed $0.99 (80% off) Bleed is one of the small handful of games I'd actually recommend from the 360's old XBLIG section. It came out on PC a while back, and the sequel launched earlier this year. Bleed is all about replicating the fast and stylish action you'd see in a Tarantino film, and it largely succeeds in being a challenging and enjoyable shooter. It's not a very long game, but it's fun while it lasts, and at the current price, it's definitely worth giving a try. There's a combo pack available that includes both games for $6.78, though I can't personally say anything about the sequel. Warhammer: The End Times- Vermintide $7.49 (75% off) With the recent announcement of 2 million units sold and a sequel coming next year, now's the perfect time to try out the original Vermintide at a really cheap price. Vermintide follows the same basic formula as Left 4 Dead, but with a greater emphasis on melee combat and objectives. Vermintide is perhaps my favorite horde-based co-op game, and in my opinion, the multiple classes and loot system give it more replayability than many of the titles that inspired it. While the combat system is fairly simple, the crunchy sound assets, meaty physics, and sheer number of Skaven on-screen at once makes it some of the most satisfying first-person melee combat you'll ever experience. The game is best enjoyed with friends, but there's still enough people playing that you shouldn't have a hard time finding games through the matchmaking system. SteamWorld Heist $4.49 (70% off) Image & Form is best known for the SteamWorld Dig games, but I personally enjoy SteamWorld Heist more. Set in the same universe, Heist trades the digging and platforming for turn-based 2D piracy with an emphasis on trickshots. Board unsuspecting cargo ships with your party of upgradable steam-power robots, take every valuable that isn't nailed down, and escape before things get too hectic. Combat plays out a lot like Worms. You take turns moving your characters around, but have to manually aim all your weapons and gadgets. This is where the trickshots come from, as a big part of the combat involves ricocheting bullets off walls to hit enemies behind cover. The other SteamWorld games are discounted too, including 35% off the relatively new SteamWorld Dig 2. Cryptark $5.24 (65% off) Cryptark released from Early Access back in June, and this is the biggest discount I've seen for it. This 2D shooter combines careful planning and management with hectic and challenging combat. You are a hardsuit pilot for a salvage company that has been hired by a shady corporation to retrieve priceless artifacts from derelict alien space hulks. Your operations are on a tight budget, with razor-thin profit margins and the constant threat of bankruptcy looming over you. Risk and reward is a huge part of Cryptark, and this is reinforced in every aspect of the game. Armor plates, ammo, gadgets, everything has to be bought before a mission, and you have the option to risk bringing less supplies to improve your profits. Likewise, you can play it safe and stick to your primary mission, or explore the space hulks more thoroughly to get secondary objectives and salvage additional equipment. Alientrap's previous games are also really cheap, and I'd personally recommend grabbing their Collection Bundle for $11.66 to get Apotheon and Capsized. Aztez $7.99 (60% off) Finally we come to Aztez, another recent release that came out over the summer. While this 2D brawler isn't as ludicrously cheap as the other games on my list, I'm including it here because it's a damn fine game that was totally overlooked by gamers and the media. Your goal in Aztez is to unite the Aztec cities in preparation for a coming calamity that has been foreseen by the Empire's mystics. You do this by choosing missions on a map in a turn-based empire management screen, then slaughtering your enemies in brutal real-time combat. The brawling in this game is extremely complex, with tons of options that higher level fighting game fans will appreciate. There's only a handful of weapons to choose from, but each one is drastically different and the game is built around switching weapons mid-attack to keep your combo going. The actual empire management is the game's weakest point, but the combat more than makes up for it. Which of these deals caught your attention?
  16. Pictured above: Nine Parchments I'm back with another batch of recent indie and AA releases that may have slipped past your radar. I'm not personally recommending any of these games- I'm just highlighting some new releases that stood out from the crowd and haven't received a lot of media attention. Make sure you read user reviews and search YouTube to find more information on each game. SpellForce 3 Grimlore Games, THQ Nordic $49.99 The acclaimed SpellForce series of RTS/RPG hybrids returns with a new installment. Set before the original game, the world is in chaos following the Crown's victory over the mage rebellion that led to the aptly-named Mage Wars. The charismatic leader of the Purity of Light, named Rondar Lacaine, has triggered a chain of events that could plunge the realm into even more anarchy as he launches a crusade to rid the world of all mages. Build your party of heroes across a fully-voiced, 30+ hour campaign that blends elements of RPG-style character progression with base construction, army building, and massive battles. I played the beta and felt that the game had potential, but it was extremely buggy, and from what I've read, that hasn't changed much in the full release. In fact, I encountered a game-breaking bug that made me unable to progress in a campaign mission due to a strangely specific scripting error, and I wasn't the only person this happened to. SpellForce 3 is also available on GOG and the Humble Store, though you may want to wait until a few patches have been released. Shadowhand Grey Alien Games $14.99 Shadowhand is a turn-based RPG that uses a solitaire-style card battle system. Set in 18th Century England, you play as Lady Cornelia Darkmoor, a young aristocrat that spends her nights terrorizing the populace as the infamous highwaywoman, Shadowhand. After fleeing a crime scene one night, Cornelia accidentally stumbles upon a massive conspiracy that can threaten both of her personas and the people she holds dear. Customize your character across 150 levels by acquiring new weapons, gear, and cards. You can also find Shadowhand on the Humble Store and GOG. Nine Parchments Frozenbyte $19.99 Nine Parchments is the latest fantastical adventure from the developers of the Trine series. Built with co-op in mind, players control a band of runaway apprentices that hope to accelerate their arcane training by hunting down the legendary Nine Parchments. Taking a few cues from Magicka, this top-down spell-slinger features friendly fire and chaotic magical attacks that are just as likely to wipe out friend and foe alike. Customize your apprentice with new gear, spells, and skills as you level up, and unlock new characters throughout your quest. You can also buy Nine Parchments on GOG, the Humble Store, and the Switch, with PS4 and Xbox One versions coming soon. Reigns: Her Majesty Nerial, Synaptic Insight Technology Systems $2.99 Reigns: Her Majesty is the standalone follow-up to last year's bizarre hybrid of Tinder and a choose your own adventure game. As with the original, your goal is to survive as long as possible as the ruler of a kingdom full of people that want to kill you. Swipe left or right when presented with a decision and hope it doesn't lead to you dying a hilariously tragic death somewhere down the road. As the name implies, this time around you get to play as a queen, but this gender swap isn't the only new addition to the series. Her Majesty has also reworked the inventory system, and added new Royal Challenges that allow you to unlock new cards by hitting specific goals. While the game works just fine on PC, I'd actually recommend grabbing it on iOS instead, due to the simple control scheme and gameplay structure that allows you to play in short, bite-sized chunks. Opus Magnum Zachtronics $19.99 Finally we come to Opus Magnum, the latest brain-melting, open-ended puzzle game from the developers of SpaceChem and SHENZHEN I/O. Design, build, and program elaborate machines to craft potions, poisons, weapons, and precious metals as an acclaimed alchemist. Like with Zachtronics' previous games, none of the puzzles in Opus Magnum have a set solution, giving players the freedom to construct machines as simple or complex as they'd like to complete each task. Make your own puzzles with the game's built-in editor, and distribute them across the globe via the Steam Workshop. When alchemy becomes too stressful for you, try taking a break to play a few rounds of Sigmar's Garden, a solitaire-style minigame. Also available on the Humble Store. Which of these games grabbed your attention?
  17. Pictured above: Cobalt WASD I'm back with another batch of recent indie and AA releases that may have slipped under your radar. I'm not here to personally recommend any of these games- I'm just highlighting some new releases that stood out from the crowd and haven't received a lot of media attention. Make sure you read user reviews and search YouTube to find more information on each game. Seven: The Days Long Gone Fool's Theory $29.99 First up this week is Seven, an isometric stealth sandbox RPG that you've probably seen some banner ads for over the past few weeks. You play as Teriel, a master thief that finds himself on a one-way trip to the infamous island prison of Peh after a daring heist goes horribly wrong. Sneak, stab, and steal your way across an open world full of suspicious characters, rival factions, and monstrous fauna. One of the main highlights of Seven is its advanced movement and parkour system, with multi-tiered, vertical environments that you'd normally find in a third-person action game. Most of the reviews I've seen have been generally positive, with many of the complaints focused on bugs and a camera that occasionally gets confused by the game's elaborate level designs. You can also find Seven on GOG and the Humble Store. Warbanners Crasleen Games $19.99 Warbanners is a turn-based strategy RPG that harkens back to old hex-based war games like Fantasy General and Panzer General. Recruit and manage a company of mercenaries across a 42 mission story campaign. Hire support staff that work behind the scenes to keep your army in top shape and sow discord among the enemy. Use both mundane and magical means to manipulate the battlefield topography in your favor with trenches, barricades, bridges, and firestorms that burn enemy fortifications and forests. Dominions 5- Warriors of the Faith Illwinter Game Design $39.99 Dominions 5 is the latest entry in a long-running series of ridiculously deep fantasy 4X games that place you in control of a demigod with aspirations of world conquest. Decimate you rivals and claim godhood by amassing vast armies of loyal subjects, conquering new territories, and gathering a library of powerful spells and magical enchantments. The biggest new additions to the series are customizable blessings that you can bestow upon your followers and a complete overhaul of the combat system to make battles quicker and more streamlined. Whatever you do, don't immediately write off Dominions 5 based on its looks. The Dominions games might have some fairly hideous graphics and presentation, but if you can look past that you'll find a very deep and highly customizable franchise. Cattails Falcon Development $14.99 Cattails is an adorable sandbox RPG with light survival elements where you play as a feral cat. As far as I can tell, it's essentially what you'd get if someone made a cat sim version of Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing. Join (or fight against) one of three colonies of cats, each with a unique cast of characters to interact with. Fight off rival clans and claim new territory for your colony. Personalize your own den, find a mate, and raise a family of kittens that you can train to help out with daily tasks like hunting. Cattails is also on the Humble Store. Cobalt WASD Oxeye Game Studio $6.99 Finally we come to Cobalt WASD, a competitive 2D bomb defusal shooter. Two teams of four players take turns planting or defusing bombs over a series of rounds. Between rounds, players can spend money they earned in the previous round buying an arsenal of crazy weapons and gadgets, like stealth suits, time-slowing grenades, and teleporters. Cobalt WASD has mostly positive reviews on Steam thus far, but sadly it seems to be suffering from the usual problems many indie games have finding a player base. According to Steamcharts, the game peaked at 17 players today, and no one is currently playing, so make sure you can find a group to regularly play with before buying a copy. Cobalt WASD is also available on the Humble Store. Which of these games caught your attention?
  18. Pictured above: Battle Chef Brigade I'm back with another batch of recent indie and AA releases that may have slipped under your radar. I'm not here to personally recommend any of these games- I'm just highlighting some new releases that stood out from the crowd and haven't received a lot of media attention. Make sure you read user reviews and search YouTube to find more information on each game. Outcast- Second Contact Appeal $34.99 The grandfather of 3D open world adventure games returns in one of the most unexpected remakes of the last few years. The original Outcast was released in 1999, and despite its critical acclaim, only ever managed to gain a small cult following. The sequel was cancelled when the developers went bankrupt, but they managed to reacquire the IP several years back, resulting in the Outcast 1.1 HD remaster. Second Contact is a complete remake of the original game, with modern graphics, updated mechanics, and new content. Humanity has made contact with alien life, but this meeting has resulted in a cataclysm that could threaten Earth. You are Cutter Slade, a Navy SEAL sent to the planet Adelpha to prevent the coming apocalypse before it destroys both worlds. Explore a vast, open world with six continents populated by extraterrestrial life and advanced civilizations. Tackle missions with a mix of direct assaults, stealth, and your upgradable arsenal of weapons and gadgets. Second Contact is also on the Humble Store, PS4, and Xbox One. Titan Quest: Ragnarök Pieces Interactive, THQ Nordic $19.99 Another unexpected new release is Ragnarök, an expansion to Iron Lore's cult classic ARPG, Titan Quest. This expansion adds a fifth act that takes you throughout northern Europe, and features a ton of new enemies, bosses, and items inspired by Celtic and Norse mythology. Other new additions include an increased level cap and a 10th Mastery, the Runemaster. This warrior class fights with both traditional weapons and magical runes. There's some quality of life additions as well, including new shaders, improved UI, and expanded modding tools. This expansion requires the Anniversary Edition of Titan Quest, and can be found on GOG and the Humble Store. Dreamstones Windybeard $11.99 You've heard of match-3 RPGs, but what about a block-breaking RPG? Dreamstones takes the block-breaking arcade gameplay you'd expect from an Arkanoid or Breakout clone, but adds some RPG elements and a kingdom management metagame. Use skills and items to help you destroy blocks and fight monsters. Rebuild your kingdom between battles by constructing buildings that offer various buffs and services. Dreamstones features over 200 levels across five unique worlds. Battle Chef Brigade Trinket Studios $19.99 Battle Chef Brigade is another new game that blends genres in unique ways, in this case a 2D brawler and match-3 puzzler. The Battle Chef Brigade is an elite force that both protects and feeds the realm of Victusia by slaying monsters and turning them into delicious and exotic dishes. You play as Thrash and Mina, two chef trainees looking to fight and cook their way into the Brigade by impressing a panel of picky judges. Kill monsters and harvest them for ingredients in a brawler combat system, then combine those ingredients into dishes in a match-3 minigame. Compete in daily challenges for leaderboard fame and play the Puzzle Rush and Break the Dishes modes for a bit of extra cash. Battle Chef Brigade is also on the Humble Store, GOG, Switch, and PS4. Tower 57 Pixwerk $11.99 Lastly we come to Tower 57, a retro-inspired shooter that is finally out after a lengthy development cycle. Choose from one of six unique characters and shoot your way through the titular Tower 57 and its many traps, guards, and bosses. Amass an arsenal of upgradable weapons and bionic body parts to give yourself a fighting chance. While Tower 57 can be played solo, the game was built with co-op in mind, so make sure you bring a partner. Also available on GOG and the Humble Store, with a PS4 version coming sometime in the future. Which of these games caught your attention?
  19. Pictured above: Battlerite I'm back with another batch of recent indie and AA releases that may have slipped under your radar. I'm not here to personally recommend any of these games- I'm just highlighting some new releases that stood out from the crowd and haven't received a lot of media attention. Make sure you read user reviews and search YouTube to find more information on each game. Hand of Fate 2 Defiant Development $29.99 The unique card-driven/board game roguelite Hand of Fate returns with a vastly improved sequel. The core premise of Hand of Fate 2 remains the same, but features tons of new quests, challenges, items, and mechanics. Develop your character in a board game controlled by the mysterious Dealer by collecting cards that represent weapons, gear, and abilities. Recruit new allies that can aid you in battle or manipulate the board game's rules. Combat is where Hand of Fate 2 has changed the most, abandoning the rather weak Arkham-style system of the original in favor of more traditional hack and slash action combat. You can also find Hand of Fate 2 on GOG, Xbox One, and PS4. Space Pirates And Zombies 2 MinMax Games Ltd. $19.99 Space Pirates And Zombies is another cult hit indie title that had a sequel release this week, although its technically been out for over a year now via Early Access. Much like the original, SPAZ 2 allows you to explore a vast galaxy full of AI factions and rival captains that you can turn into enemies or allies. The events of the original game have decimated the galaxy's infrastructure, so resource management and scavenging play a larger role in the sequel. Much like Hand of Fate 2, SPAZ 2 has made rather drastic changes to the game's combat system, and has swapped the original's top-down view to a third-person perspective. Space Pirates And Zombies 2 is also available on GOG. Battlerite Stunlock Studios Free-to-play Battlerite is the latest game from the developers of Bloodline Champions, and just exited Early Access several days ago. Much like its predecessor, Battlerite distills the MOBA genre down to its most exciting part: The team fights. Matches are played in large arenas without minions, towers, or farming, and rounds usually take about two minutes. Besides some pre-game tweaking that allows you to customize your champion by choosing five cards, Battlerite is wholly focused on character knowledge, positioning, and team composition, with nearly every ability being a skill shot that needs to be aimed. As a free-to-play MOBA-style game, Battlerite is monetized via loot chests that contain vanity items and champions, along with a weekly hero rotation. Alternatively, you can spend $30 to unlock all current and future champions. Mutant Football League Digital Dreams Entertainment LLC $24.99 The classic Sega Genesis arcade football game Mutant League Football has been resurrected with modern mechanics and graphics with a spiritual successor made by the original's lead designer. In Mutant Football League, choose one of 18 teams made up of killer robots, alien monsters, and mutant freaks ready to (literally) smash the competition. Recruit All-Star players to give your team an edge on the trap-laden gridiron, and play dirty tricks like shotguns or chainsaws at the right moment to turn the game in your favor. Spintires: MudRunner Saber Interactive $29.99 Remember Spintires? It was an Early Access driving sim about using enormous all-terrain vehicles to navigate the muddiest "roads" you've ever seen. It gathered a sizeable following, but unfortunately development was permanently suspended after the one-man dev team was screwed over by a shady publisher. Luckily, Saber Interactive kept the rights to the IP and made a new deal with Focus Home Interactive. MudRunner is the ultimate version of Spintires, and features improved graphics and physics, new vehicles and environments, and full Steam Workshop support. You can also find MudRunners on the Humble Store, PS4, and Xbox One, though I hear that the console versions aren't particularly good. Heliborne JetCat Games $19.99 MudRunner isn't the only new release that recreates heavy equipment in near fetishistic detail. Heliborne is a helicopter combat game that lets players fly 40 of the most famous gunships from the 1950s to modern day. Relive historic battles from Vietnam, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and other conflicts in single player, co-op, and competitive multiplayer for up to 16 players. You can also find Heliborne on the Humble Store. Card Quest WinterSpring Games $9.99 Finally we come to Card Quest, a card-driven, dungeon-crawling RPG roguelite. Choose one of four classes, each of which has three specializations, and delve into dungeons to battle monsters, defeat bosses, and earn loot. Combat comes in the form of a card game, with the various items and abilities you earn by questing and leveling up forming your customizable deck. Rid a cursed city of an undead plague or explore a dwarven mountain stronghold, each of which has 12 potential areas to visit during a run. Which of these games caught your attention?
  20. Pictured above: AER Memories of Old I'm back with another batch of recent indie and AA releases that may have slipped under your radar. I'm not here to personally recommend any of these games- I'm just highlighting some new releases that stood out from the crowd, most of which haven't received any real media attention. Make sure you read user reviews and search YouTube to find more information on each game. The Mummy Demastered WayForward $19.99 We have officially entered the Bizarro Dimension with this release. The Mummy Demastered is a retro-inspired Metroidvania "demake" based on the recent Mummy movie, and was developed by the guys behind the excellent Shantae series. We've heard of movies spawning terrible licensed games before, but this is a rare reversal where an awful movie lead to a pretty solid game. Navigate jungles, tombs, and the streets of London as an operative for the secretive Prodigium group. Fight through Ahmanet's legions with a variety of weapons and gadgets, and discover hidden areas to unlock ancient relics and abilities. You can also find The Mummy Demastered on the Switch, Xbox One, and PS4. High Hell Terri Vellmann, Doseone $9.99 The developers of Heavy Bullets and Enter the Gungeon have teamed up to spawn High Hell, a fast and nonsensical arcade FPS. Blast your way through a maze-like office building full of syndicate thugs with the help of your trusting shotgun and powerful, well-toned legs. Burn stacks of ill-gotten cash, destroy drug labs, and rescue sacrificial lambs on your quest to destroy the criminal underworld. High Hell can apparently be finished in around 90 minutes, but the game is loaded with secrets and designed to be played multiple times as you compete with your friends to get the fastest speedrun. High Hell is also on the Humble Store. Bionic Battle Mutants Monkeynetics $9.99 Bionic Battle Mutants is a turn-based tactics game inspired by classics like X-COM and Jagged Alliance. Build a team of criminals-turned-gladiators on the prison planet Cerberus 7. Improve your gladiators between matches by crafting weapons, upgrades, and bionic limbs. Win your matches by either slaughtering the opposition, or scoring objectives. Bionic Battle Mutants features both a 21-mission single player campaign and competitive online matches against other players. AER Memories of Old Forgotten Key $14.99 AER is a relaxing, minimalist exploration game that lets you freely transform into a bird and soar amongst the clouds. Embark on a pilgrimage to the Land of the Gods as Auk, one of the few remaining shapeshifters in the world. Travel to vibrant floating islands and explore massive temples full of puzzles and mysterious to solve. AER Memories of Old is also available on the Humble Store, GOG, PS4, and Xbox One. Debris Moonray Studios $19.99 Leave the open skies behind and dive into the terrifying depths of the Arctic Ocean in Debris. You are part of a film crew sent to make a documentary about meteoric debris found in the ocean that imitates a mysterious power that could put an end to Earth's energy problems forever. A disaster during filming leaves your crew scattered and stranded in the deep, and to make matters worse, you are being hunted by creatures of unknown origin. Explore a hauntingly beautiful bioluminescent ocean in a game world that promises to be the size of Manhattan. You can also find Debris on the Humble Store. Golden Krone Hotel Vulgat $9.99 Finally we come to Golden Krone Hotel, this week's obligatory roguelike release. You play as Sorina Arobase, a famous human war hero and monster hunter seeking vengeance against the vampire prince Fane. Navigate the procedurally-generated hallways of the Golden Krone Hotel and slay supernatural enemies. Also, you're actually a vampire in disguise. Cast spells and fight from a distance as a human, then transform into your vampire form to become a melee bruiser. Manipulate sunlight to your advantage to defeat your bloodthirsty foes, and destroy man-made lights so you can skulk around in the shadows. You can also buy Golden Krone Hotel on the Humble Store. Which of these games caught your attention?
  21. Pictured above: ELEX I'm back with another batch of recent indie and AA releases that may have slipped under your radar. As always, I'm not here to personally recommend any of these games- I'm just highlighting some new releases that stood out from the crowd. Make sure you read user reviews and search YouTube to find more information on each game. Grim Dawn- Ashes of Malmouth Crate Entertainment $17.99 One new release I actually can recommend is the Ashes of Malmouth expansion for Grim Dawn. This massive expansion adds a ton of new content to an already excellent action RPG, including two new classes, 14 new Constellations, an increased level cap, and two story chapters set in the fallen city of Malmouth. Ashes of Malmouth also includes a wide variety of quality of life improvements, such as an Illusionist that can change your gear appearance, an expanded item stash, and several ways to respec your character. Grim Dawn and its expansion are available on GOG and the Humble Store too, but the base game is currently 66% off on Steam until November 1st. Dungeons 3 Realmforge Studios $39.99 The Dungeons series returns for its third installment, and its apparently a fairly major improvement. The Dungeon series takes the dungeon building and management aspects of Dungeon Keeper, but gives you more control over your units like in an RTS. Build an elaborate dungeon to attract all manner of evil creatures before launching raids on the overworld, bringing corruption and ruin to the peaceful kingdoms of the surface-dwellers. One of the biggest new additions to Dungeons 3 is the inclusion of randomly generated level layouts to ensure that each session is unique. You can also find Dungeons 3 on GOG, the Humble Store, PS4, and Xbox One. ELEX Piranha Bytes $49.99 The developers of the cult classic Gothic series are taking their first steps into a new science fantasy universe with ELEX. In the post-apocalyptic world of Magalan, a war is being waged over a new resource that gives people immense magical abilities, but slowly drains them of their emotions. Explore a massive open world completely devoid of loading screens, with a jetpack that can be used to reach the game's many vertical locations. ELEX promises to deliver deep, interconnected quests and difficult choices as you either cling to your humanity, or allow your new powers to consume you. You can also find ELEX on GOG, the Humble Store, PS4, and Xbox One. Freaky Awesome Mandragora $9.99 Team up with three friends and explore a procedurally generated factory full of deranged mutants in the action roguelite Freaky Awesome. Consume mutagens to regain health and mutate yourself into various freaky creatures with unique special abilities and attacks. Luckily, the co-op in Freaky Awesome is both local and online, giving it an edge over many similar indie titles. Brawlhalla Blue Mountain Games Free-to-Play The highly anticipated Smash Bros.-style multiplayer brawler, Brawlhalla, has left early access. Choose from over 30 unique fighters and battle up to eight players online or locally in this platform fighter that emphasizes slamming your opposition off the map. Levels are dotted with various items and gadgets that can be used to turn the tide of battle in your favor. The game has been in beta for a long time now, and already has a fully featured ranking system and leaderboards based on player feedback. Brawlhalla's business model is free-to-play with a weekly rotation of six characters. You earn in-game currency that can be used to buy new characters, or you can spend $19.99 on the All Legends Pack to gain immediate access to every character, both current and future. Brawlhalla is currently only available on PC, but it's supposed to make its way over to PS4 eventually as well. Overgrowth Wolfire Games $29.99 After nearly a decade in development, the anthropomorphic animal fighter Overgrowth has finally hit version 1.0. This open sandbox game seeks to replicate stylized martial arts brawls through the use of free-flowing combat and a physics system that sits somewhere between "hilarious" and "wonky." People seem a bit divided over just how well the final product turned out, with many recent user reviews saying that Overgrowth still feels very unpolished and has a mediocre story. The game is also available on the Humble Store. Holy Potatoes! What the Hell?! Daylight Studios $7.99 The Holy Potatoes series of quirky management games is back for a third installment. In What the Hell?!, you participate in a bizarre cooking show in Hell as you try to absolve yourself of sin and ascend to Heaven. Create your kitchen staff from a collection of fellow sinners and build delicious dishes to appease the Gods. Compete against rival teams in cook-offs to prove that you are the best chef in all of Hell. In a refreshing change of pace, What the Hell?! actually has a demo, so why not give it a try? Bomber Crew Runner Duck $14.99 Finally we come to Bomber Crew, a strategy sim that can best be described as "FTL with WWII bombers." Recruit your crew and engage in daring bombing missions over German airspace. Swap your crew between stations and desperately try to keep your bomber in the air as you encounter enemy resistance from fighters and AA installations. Bomber Crew has mostly positive reviews thus far, but the one frequent complaint I keep seeing is the lack of a tactical pause feature, which makes the game a bit too hectic for some people's tastes. Which of these new games caught your attention?
  22. Pictured above: Heat Signature I'm back after a lengthy hiatus with another batch of recent indie releases that may have slipped under your radar. As always, I'm not personally endorsing any of these games, just highlighting some recent titles that haven't received a lot of press and look like they might be worth checking out. Make sure you read user reviews and search YouTube to find more information on each game. A Hat in Time Gears for Breakfast $29.99 Originally slated for a 2013 release after a surprisingly successful Kickstarter, the "cute-as-heck" 3D platformer A Hat in Time is finally available on PC. You play as a space-faring little girl that has been left stranded on a nearby planet after a catastrophe leaves her ship out of fuel. The ensuing adventure takes a lot of cues from classic 3D platformer collect-a-thons from the N64 and GameCube, and features five massive worlds to explore. Despite the numerous delays, A Hat in Time seems to have been well-worth the wait, and has received positive reviews from critics and gamers alike. You can also find A Hat in Time on GOG and the Humble Store, with Xbox One and PS4 versions coming later this year. Battle Chasers: Nightwar Airship Syndicate $29.99 Battle Chasers is another anticipated title that was successfully Kickstarted some time back. Like A Hat in Time, Battle Chasers takes its inspirations from classic console games, but in this case old-school JRPGs. The game is actually based on a comic from the '90s, and features a gorgeous hand-drawn art style. Build your party based on characters from the comic series and delve into dungeons full of traps, monsters, and bosses. Opinions are a bit mixed regarding some of the game's mechanics, however, with late-game grinding being a frequent complaint. Battle Chasers is also on GOG, the Humble Store, PS4, Xbox One, and the Switch. Hob Runic Games $19.99 Runic Games is back with a new game called Hob, and it's quite the departure from their previous titles. Instead of being a loot-driven action RPG like the Torchlight series, Hob is a narrative-focused action-adventure full of exploration, puzzles, and dangerous bosses. Use your character's mechanical glove to fight enemies and traverse the environment on your quest to repair a broken world. You can also find Hob on the Humble Store, GOG, and PS4. Ruiner Reikon Games $19.99 Ruiner is a challenging top-down cyberpunk shooter that had the misfortune of coming out right before Cuphead. Cleanse the corruption destroying the metropolis of Rengkok with an arsenal of futuristic weapons, cybernetic enhancements, quick reflexes, and bone-shattering violence. Just don't expect an easy time, as Ruiner is a game that prides itself on not holding your hand. You can also find Ruiner on GOG, the Humble Store, PS4, and Xbox One. JYDGE 10tons Ltd. $14.99 Speaking of challenging futuristic shooters, JYDGE is the latest title from the developers of Crimsonland and Neon Chrome. Clean up the mean streets of Edenbyrg as a JYDGE, a cyberware-enhanced super-cop ready to dispense justice from the barrel of your heavily modified Gavel assault rifle. Customize your JYDGE with a variety of cybernetic enhancements and weapon mods that cater to your preferred play style. Tackle missions alone or with fellow JYDGEs in local co-op. Road Redemption Pixel Dash Studios, EQgames $19.99 After a successful Kickstarter and years in Early Access, the spiritual successor to Road Rash is finally done. In Road Redemption, players fight and drive their way across a post-apocalyptic world ruled by cartels and motorcycle gangs. Engage in brutal races and high-speed vehicular combat with guns, melee weapons, grabs, and kicks. Complete missions to gain loot and experience to upgrade your character and bike throughout the game's single player campaign. Road Redemption features online and local multiplayer as well, both competitive and cooperatively. Console owners will have to wait until next year to get their hands on the game. Ogre Auroch Digital $24.99 Ogre is the official digital adaptation of the classic Steve Jackson wargame. In the near future, armies clash in an endless world war. The battlefields of tomorrow are dominated by the Ogres, massive AI-controlled mobile fortresses that pack the firepower of an entire tank battalion. More than just a mere digital adaptation, Ogre comes packed with new single player campaigns, scenarios, skirmish modes, and online multiplayer. It's also available on the Humble Store. Winged Sakura: Endless Dream Winged Sakura Games $19.99 The latest Winged Sakura game looks like it can adequately be described as "Dungeon of the Endless with waifus." You'll directly control one of four playable characters on a mission to escort Mimi to each random-generated floor's exit. Much like Dungeon of the Endless, you'll also have to deploy towers to survive against waves of enemies. The waifu part comes in the form of Sakuras, cute anime girls you'll collect and level up during your adventure. You can bring six of them into each battle and assign them support roles to enhance yourself and your towers. Owners of the previous Winged Sakura games gain access to some extra waifus as a loyalty bonus. Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates Coin Operated Games $29.99 Empyre is a strategy RPG set in an alternate 1911 Manhattan with neo-Victorian aesthetics and steampunk technology. In 1899, the world's oceans began to rise unexpectedly, leaving many coastal cities flooded. Most people fled, but some remained behind and formed independent city-states in the last patches of dry land. The Manhattan city-states are on the verge of collapse as supplies of fresh water begin to dwindle, and everyone is looking for a savior to deliver them from the coming crisis. Gather a party of adventurers and explore the drowned ruins of New York as one of four character classes. The handful of reviews I can find give Empyre a cautious recommendation, stating that its full of interesting ideas and great world-building, but with uninteresting combat and poorly implemented mechanics holding it back from greatness. Heat Signature Suspicious Developments $14.99 Finally we come to Heat Signature, the latest game from the developer of Gunpoint. Use your tiny spaceship to sneak up to larger vessels to engage in a bit of space thievery. Use a mix of stealth, gadgets, and weapons to complete your mission and escape with the loot. All the missions and ships are randomly generated, with a handful of key heists you'll unlock as the game progresses. The environments are also fully destructible, allowing you to take out a roomful of enemies with a well-placed explosive charge on the ship's hull. Heat Signature is also available on the Humble Store. That's all for now. Which of these games caught your attention?
  23. Pictured above: Aarklash Legacy If you haven't noticed yet, GOG has been running a sale for around a week now. There's over 200 games being sold at ridiculously cheap prices, with the most extreme deals reaching a staggering 95% off. Needless to say, there's a lot of games worth checking out here. I could ramble all day listing great indie games at historically low prices, but I'll keep it down to 10 for brevity's sake. Here's 10 games you should consider buying before the sale ends tomorrow: Bionic Dues Arcen Games $0.99 (90% off) Anyone who reads my sales articles knows that my fanboyism for Arcen Games is near fetishistic, and I always highlight at least one of their titles when they are discounted. This tiny indie studio produces some awesome, quirky games that rarely ever live up to their full potential, but always offer an extremely unique experience you can't really get anywhere else. One of my personal favorites is Bionic Dues, a mecha roguelike that sadly never achieved the same success as some of Arcen's other games. You have somewhere between 30 and 50 days to liberate a city that has been overrun by robotic death machines before your higher-ups turn to their last resort: Nuclear annihilation. Each mission consumes one day, and successfully completing your objective can weaken the robotic forces in one way or another. However, the robots strengthen in other ways after each level, regardless of your success or failure. The campaign features around 120 missions, and you don't have enough time to complete them all before facing a gigantic final assault by the robot forces. Some missions might delay the assault, but you can never prevent it from happening. It's definitely not a game for everyone, but I urge anyone mildly interested in the concept to at least give it a try. Arcen's other games are on sale too, so if roguelikes aren't your thing then you should consider The Last Federation or AI War. Ziggurat Milkstone Studios $4.49 (70%) Ziggurat wasn't the first game to merge roguelike procedural generation and progression with FPS gameplay, but I personally feel that it was the first that really felt good to play. It's a fairly solid and mechanically sound old-school-inspired arena shooter that uses procedural generation and randomized loot to spice things up. It avoids many of the pitfalls of this subgenre of roguelites by giving the player several guns at the beginning of a run, so it doesn't suffer as much from the early game repetition other titles in the genre have. Unfortunately, while early game variety is pretty nice, you'll eventually find that there isn't a whole lot of content overall; you'll probably only complete a handful of runs before moving on to another game. It's still fun enough to blaze through on a lazy weekend though, and the current sale price is just right. Apotheon Alientrap Games $3.79 (75% off) Apotheon isn't Alientrap's first game, but it was the one that gained them some fleeting mainstream attention. This 2D action puzzle-platformer is set in Ancient Greece and features a gorgeous art direction inspired by pottery and paintings from the time. The combat is fast and skillful, with a really nice variety of both traditional Bronze Age weapons and mythological abilities bestowed upon you by the Gods of Olympus. The controls are a bit janky at times, particularly during the game's platforming segments, but they aren't so bad that they prevented me from finishing the game. There's some light Metroidvania elements too, as you'll occasionally backtrack to reach new areas after completing certain tasks. While Apotheon is the better of the two games, you can grab Alientrap's previous title, Capsized, for only $1. Cryptark, which is their latest game, is also on sale for 50% off. Aarklash Legacy Cyanide Studios $1.99 (90% off) Aarklash Legacy is a great party-based RPG set in the beloved (but defunct) Confrontation miniature game universe. You control a group of mercenaries that have been wrongly accused of treason, and are now on the run from the Lion of Alahan's forces. While the story and voice acting aren't incredible, the combat and interesting character designs make Aarklash Legacy a worthy addition to your CRPG library. Combat is real-time with an active pause system, and in many ways it almost feels like a single player MOBA where you control multiple champions at once. Micromanaging the positioning of your party is a huge part of the game, and even many of the healing abilities need to be aimed. While the skill trees and character customization aren't quite as deep as some other isometric RPGs, you still do get to make some pretty meaningful choices when leveling up your characters, including mutually-exclusive skills that can alter the way the character plays. Age of Wonders 3 Triumph Studios $7.49 (75% off) In some ways, Age of Wonders 3 is a downgrade from its classic predecessors. The empire management isn't as complex as other 4X games, but at the same time the fun tactical combat, charming unit designs, and interesting approach to factions make it a game I still managed to put hundreds of hours into. My favorite aspect is how you can customize your faction. When building your leader, you choose their race, class, and three schools of magic or technology. While the core aspects of empire management are always the same, the combination of these choices alters your play style in more subtle ways. Races have their own set of units and preferences, your class gives you access to unique units and upgrades, and finally the schools of magic determine what your tech trees and spell books look like. There's some minor RPG elements to Age of Wonders 3 as well, including stat and ability customization for your heroes, items, and dungeons you can raid for loot and resources. The entire Age of Wonders franchise is on sale right now, and you honestly can't go wrong regardless of which game you pick. Lichdom: Battlemage Xaviant Games $1.99 (95% off) I have to be honest here, Lichdom isn't exactly a great game. It's a fantastic IDEA for a game, but its execution is pretty flawed. The concept of Lichdom is that it's a first-person RPG about being a ridiculously overpowered mage. There are no mana bars, cooldowns, or other limits to your face-freezing, flesh-sizzling magic. In theory, at least. In reality, Lichdom is more of a fantasy FPS where you shoot lightning bolts and fireballs from your fingers, and it's a damn pretty one too. The biggest problems with the game come down to boring level design, a loot-based spell crafting system that isn't as deep or interesting as it could have been, and a general lack of meaningful character progression. Like I said, it's by no means a bad game, it just didn't live up to its potential. Despite my complaints though, at 95% off you can still have a decent amount of fun blowing people up with fireballs in gorgeous HD graphics powered by CryEngine. Door Kickers KillHouse Games $3.99 (80% off) As far as game titles go, Door Kickers is pretty lame and comes off as a bad meme. Luckily, the actual gameplay of Door Kickers is pretty freaking awesome. If you are disappointed that the Rainbox Six franchise abandoned the planning phase ages ago, then Door Kickers is the top-down strategy game you need in your life, because that essentially what this game is. Control a squad of SWAT operators through dozens of deadly scenarios featuring hostages, suicide bombers, and other terrorists that have barricaded themselves inside of buildings and won't go down without a fight. Once you breached your way through all the premade scenarios you can dive into the random level generators, or even make your own missions with the game's built-in editor. Xenonauts Goldhawk Interactive $6.29 (75% off) While I do really enjoy the modern XCOM titles, gamers looking for an experience closer to the original UFO Defense need to check out Xenonauts. You play as the commander of the Xenonauts, a multinational coalition formed to repel alien invaders. It really does look and feel like what you'd expect from a straight modernization of the original X-Com, and features many of the fan-favorite mechanics that Firaxis removed. In some ways, Xenonauts manages to surpass its larger budget contemporary, particularly in regards to the UFO interception mini-game, better base construction, and a deeper inventory system for your troops. It's not quite perfect, and still lacks polish and balance in a few areas, but for the most part Xenonauts is closer to what I wanted from a modern interpretation of X-Com, even if the real reboot still turned out pretty good. Stories: The Path of Destinies Spearhead Games $3.79 (75% off) Stories is an action roguelite with some genuinely innovative ideas. It blends a pretty basic (though generally fun and well-designed) action combat system with a choose-your-own-adventure narrative that can lead to many possible outcomes. As with all roguelites, its designed to be replayed many times, but the choice-driven approach to the narrative makes it very unique in an otherwise saturated genre because of the sheer number of bizarre and tongue-in-cheek ways you can mess up. And you will mess up a lot, as the entire narrative is based around learning from your mistakes and trying something different next time...and that next time will undoubtedly also end in failure. Rebel Galaxy Double Damage Games $4.99 (75% off) Finally we come to Rebel Galaxy, a space RPG that shouldn't be confused with Rogue Galaxy from the PS2. Rebel Galaxy allows you to live out your Firefly fantasies by traveling across dangerous border systems on the edge of civilized space as you trade, mine space debris, hunt pirates, and navigate your way through the power politics of the galaxy's rival factions. The core gameplay loop of entering a new system to grind for resources so you can upgrade your ship does get repetitive after a while, but the game's fun ship-to-ship combat and excellent soundtrack will keep you busy for at least a few dozen hours. If the customization was deeper and the late-game gear was more interesting then Rebel Galaxy could have turned out to be something really special, but as it stands its merely a pretty solid space RPG. You still have around 20 hours to snap up any deals that catch your attention. Make sure you browse the sale's page though, because there are tons of other good games being sold at bargain bin prices right now.
  24. Pictured above: 3030 Deathwar Redux I'm back with another batch of recent indie releases that may have slipped under your radar. I'm not personally endorsing any of these games, just highlighting some recent titles that haven't received a lot of press. Make sure you read user reviews and search YouTube to find more information on each game. Tooth and Tail Pocketwatch Games $19.99 Tooth and Tail is a streamlined RTS by the developers of Monaco that hopes to deliver a deep strategy experience without focusing on the high APM and micromanagement requirements that make more traditional games in the genre so daunting. The world of Tooth and Tail is what you'd get if Redwall was set during the October Revolution, and features an art style reminiscent of WWI imagery and early Soviet propaganda posters. Years of famine have forced once-civilized animals to resort to a carnivorous diet, and now four factions are embattled in a civil war to determine who has to be the food. Tooth and Tail features both a campaign mode and competitive multiplayer, with matches designed to last around 5-to-10 minutes. You can find the game on the Humble Store, GOG, and PS4. Hiveswap What Pumpkin Games $7.99 Hiveswap is an episodic adventure series inspired by the old LucasArts classics. The series is set in the Homestuck universe, long before the webcomic actually starts, and will be compatible with a companion series called Hauntswitch. You play as Joey Claire, a teenage girl that has been abducted from her home in 1994 and dropped on an alien world in the far future. Explore the game's hand-animated environments and solve item-based logic puzzles, albeit without the moon logic of most '90s adventure games. Be aware that this is only the first act in a four-part series, with no confirmed release date for the other episodes yet. Hiveswap is also available on the Humble Store. 3030 Deathwar Redux Bird in Sky $14.99 Speaking of adventure games, 3030 Deathwar Redux is a strange mix of a Space Quest-style narrative point 'n click with an open-universe space combat RPG. It's actually an extensively reworked version of a game from 2007, and features tons of extra content, enhanced graphics, and a major gameplay overhaul. 3030 Deathwar has comedic story-focused sequences where you solve puzzles and interact with characters like you'd expect from an adventure game, but you also have the freedom to explore the galaxy and carve your own path. Become a mercenary, haul cargo, mine asteroids, or engage in a life of piracy to afford new upgrades for your vessel. Warbands: Bushido Red Unit Studios $7.99 Warbands: Bushido is a digital miniature skirmish game that recently exited Early Access. Collect units and cards to construct your army, then challenge other players online in skirmishes on grid-based boards designed to look like tabletops, complete with animated dice rolls and paintable miniatures. Warbands features some single player scenarios, but according to many user reviews they are poorly designed, meaning that you should only consider the game if you want multiplayer. It has received mixed reception since leaving Early Access, but as a miniature gamer myself I think I'll keep an eye on it. Samurai Riot Wako Factory $14.99 Samurai Riot is a 2D brawler designed primarily with co-op in mind. Choose between two warriors, Sukane or Tsurumaru, in a branching story with eight possible endings. Players will need to choose between difficult moral choices that affect the outcome of their story, and should they disagree on a choice, they'll need to resolve their differences via a duel. Other features include upgradable character traits, new moves to learn, and co-op team attacks for taking down tougher enemies. Oriental Empires Shining Pixel Studios $29.99 Oriental Empires is a 4X strategy game where players get to shape the history of ancient China. Starting with a single tribe, players will advance through the ages by expanding their territory, researching new technology, building armies, and eventually unifying all the warring nations into the first Chinese empire. The game features 24 playable factions, covering the beginning of Chinese history through the Seven Kingdoms era. The management aspect of Oriental Empires is fantastic from what I've heard, and includes tons of authentic Chinese units, technologies, and edicts based on historical events. The combat is consistently brought up as the most lackluster element of Oriental Empires, however, because you don't directly control your forces and must rely on AI with questionable tactical prowess. Also available on the Humble Store. A Robot Named Fight! Matt Bitner Games $9.99 The new Metroid might only be available on the 3DS, but PC gamers have what looks to be a solid alternative with A Robot Named Fight! Explore procedurally-generated levels and collect randomized power-ups and item sets in this 2D Metroidvania roguelite where no play-through is ever the same. A Robot Named Fight! also features co-op, though its only available as local multiplayer. Red Obsidian Remnant Red Obsidian Studio $8.99 Finally we come to Red Obsidian Remnant, our last roguelite title this week. This cute dungeon crawler combines the procedurally-generated items, levels, and enemies that you'd expect from a roguelike, but features a fairly deep action combat system. Air juggling, swapping weapons mid-combo, blocks, parries, and cancels all play a big role in Red Obsidian's brawler-inspired combat. The biggest downside seems to be the poor English translation, which remains an issue even after almost a year in Early Access. Online multiplayer is on the way too, though there is no set release date yet. That's all for now. I'll be back soon with more indie release highlights.
  25. Pictured above: Absolver I'm back with another batch of recent indie releases that may have slipped under your radar. I'm not personally endorsing any of these games, just highlighting some recent titles that haven't been receiving a whole lot of press. Make sure you read user reviews and search YouTube to find more information on each game. 20XX Batterystable Games $14.99 Mighty No. 9 might not have been the Mega Man successor that everyone hoped it would be, but luckily we have 20XX, which just recently released from Early Access. 20XX is everything you'd expect to see in a modern Mega Man-style action platformer, but with roguelite elements. Levels shift as you play and there is an element of randomness to the special abilities and bosses you'll encounter, with more options getting unlocked the more you play. There is a permadeath element like all games in the genre, though there is a more lenient difficulty setting that gives you three lives. Also available on the Humble Store. Darkwood Acid Wizard Studio $14.99 Another anticipated indie title that recently exited Early Access is Darkwood. This atmospheric, top-down survival horror game places a big emphasis on scavenging for materials during the day and finding a place to hunker down and defend yourself at night. You can improve your character by injecting the essence of Darkwood's flora and fauna into your bloodstream, but be weary of unintended side effects. The world also changes as you play, adding an extra layer of eeriness to your exploration. Darkwood is available on the Humble Store and GOG. Sky Rogue Fractal Phase $19.99 Our next roguelite this week is Sky Rogue, an arcadey aerial combat game. Each in-game day gives you a new randomly generated level and objective, and you only have one chance to complete it. As with many roguelites, you'll earn experience, new playable fighters, and new weapons as you progress. Enemies aren't just limited to waves of fighters and enemy aces, as Sky Rogue takes a page from Ace Combat's playbook and features massive super weapons too. Sky Rogue is also available on the Humble Store. Absolver Sloclap $29.99 Absolver is a fairly unique melee-focused MMORPG dripping with martial arts combat and mechanics. The player interaction in Absolver is especially interesting, and goes beyond the usual making friends or rivals aspect that you'd expect in any multiplayer game. Players can become mentors or students to other players, thus allowing each other to use different move sets they might not have learned yet. The user reviews are pretty mixed so far, though leaning a bit more towards the positive end of the spectrum. The biggest issues with Absolver seem to be the lack of adequate servers for gamers outside of North America and Western Europe, making the game largely unplayable to anyone living outside of those regions. You can also find Absolver on the Humble Store, GOG, and the PS4, though apparently the console version is pretty buggy. Nidhogg 2 Messhof $14.99 Speaking of melee-focused multiplayer games, the sequel to 2014's hit 1v1 sword dueling game has arrived. Nidhogg 2 abandons the original's more minimalistic aesthetic for some fairly detailed pixel art, though your mileage may vary when it comes to which style you prefer. The sequel's biggest new features include additional weapons, a revamped combat system, new maps, and modifiers that can be used to spice up your duels. Be aware that some Nidhogg fans aren't too thrilled about the new direction, citing simplified combat and questionable weapon balance for the new gear as problems they have with the sequel. Nidhogg 2 is also on the Humble Store and the PS4. Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder ACE Team $14.99 The surreal, historical tower defense/giant rock bowling series returns with Rock of Ages 2. Besides the usual features that you'd expect from a sequel, Rock of Ages 2 runs on UE4 this time around, ensuring that the destruction physics have never been better. The multiplayer has also been greatly expanded upon, including 2v2 team battles with intersecting tracks. You can also grab Rock of Ages 2 on the Humble Store, Xbox One, and PS4. X-Morph: Defense EXOR Studios $19.99 X-Morph: Defense is another interesting tower defense/action hybrid that recently came out on Steam. You play as an X-Morph, a highly advanced alien species that has invaded Earth to strip mine it. Defend against humanity's counterattacks by building mazes of towers and jumping into one of several alien fighters to take a more direct approach to planetary conquest. These aerial dogfights are also how you will deal with the massive boss mecha that the humans will throw at you as they get increasingly desperate. Each mission is designed to be played co-op as well, though the multiplayer is split screen only. Also on PS4 and Xbox One. Distrust Cheerdealers $11.99 Distrust is a top-down survival game inspired by John Carpenter's The Thing. You control a group of explorers stranded in an arctic base following a deadly helicopter crash. If the frigid weather and dwindling food and resources weren't enough, bizarre entities stalk the night, feeding on the life energy of sleeping survivors. As your characters become increasingly hungry and sleep-deprived, they begin to hallucinate until they can no longer tell what is reality. You can also find Distrust on the Humble Store. Project Remedium Atomic Jelly $14.99 Finally we come to Project Remedium, a story-driven FPS where you control a heavily armed nanobot injected into a young child's bloodstream to save them from a mysterious illness. Fight your way through their heavily infected body to cure and repair the six major organs that are currently under siege. You'll find other nanobots to aid you during your journey, and can craft upgrades to your weapons and abilities to increase your antibiotic capabilities. That's all for now. I'll return soon with more overlooked release highlights.
  26. Pictured above: Phantom Trigger I'm back with another batch of recent indie releases that may have slipped under your radar. I'm not personally endorsing any of these games, just highlighting some titles that stood out among Steam's weekly releases. Make sure you read user reviews and search YouTube to find more information on each game. Sudden Strike 4 Kite Games $49.99 It's not quite indie, but obscure enough that some people may have missed it. The Sudden Strike series finally returns after a seven year hiatus, though the reception so far has been pretty mixed. Fight through over 20 famous WWII battles as the Allies, Germany, or the USSR using an arsenal of historical units. The most notable new mechanic is the Commander system, which allows you to play as one of nine historic figures that have their own play style and unique abilities. Unfortunately, long-time Sudden Strike fans seem divided over this new installment, mostly due to its more simplified mechanics, poor unit pathfinding, and high price point for the amount of content at launch. Sudden Strike 4 is also on GOG, Humble Store, and the PS4. Time Recoil 10tons Ltd $13.99 The developers of Crimsonland and Neon Chrome are back with another top-down shooter that features an interesting take on bullet time. Instead of just having a "press X to bullet time" button, in Time Recoil you must score kills to activate your slow motion powers. Subsequent kills extend your slow motion murder spree, and unlock the use of special powers, like a dash move that allows you to phase through walls. Time Recoil can also be found on the Humble Store. Cat Quest The Gentlebros $12.99 RPG fans looking for a cute and casual way to entertain yourself over a weekend might want to check out Cat Quest. This open world action RPG is set in a whimsical fantasy realm full of cat people and feline puns. Set out on a quest to rescue your kidnapped sister from a dark lord threatening this peaceful kingdom. Combat is in real time and consists of hacking, slashing, dodge rolling, and the odd magic spell or two. Character customization mostly comes in the form of gear sets that amplify particular combat styles. You can also find Cat Quest on iOS. Graceful Explosion Machine Vertex Pop $12.99 Graceful Explosion Machine is a colorful 2D shooter that originally made its debut a few months back on the Switch, to positive critical reception. You pilot the GEM, the most advanced and ridiculously overpowered fighter in the galaxy as you wage a one-ship war against an alien armada. Combo together your ship's four distinct weapons to maximize your score in each of the game's 30 levels. Also available on PS4. Phantom Trigger Bread Team $14.99 Phantom Trigger is the latest indie game to be picked up and published by tinyBuild. It has drawn a lot of comparisons to Hyper Light Drifter for being a stylish top-down brawler with pixel art graphics, though based on the Steam reviews the public reaction has been a bit more mixed. The combo-driven combat system places a heavy emphasis on stuns, freezes, interrupts, and traps, all of which can be cast mid-combo to avoid enemy counterattacks. You can also find Phantom Trigger on GOG, the Humble Store, and the Switch. Evil Genome Crystal Depths Studio $14.99 Another recent stylish brawler to find its way onto Steam is Evil Genome. It bills itself as a Metroidvania loaded with gear and special abilities to discover, but based on the reviews I've seen, Evil Genome is much more linear than most games in the genre. The Steam reviews are a bit mixed as well, with commonly cited issues being bugs and poor translation, but Evil Genome still looks promising enough to keep an eye on. Peregrin Domino Digital Limited $14.99 Peregrin is a narrative puzzle adventure published by Green Man Gaming's new publishing arm. You play as Abi, a scavenger living in the wastelands of a ruined civilization. She embarks on a journey to find a better life in the unknown world beyond the wastes. She has the unique gift to temporarily possess the bodies of the creatures around her, and will need to use their abilities to solve environmental puzzles and sneak past the deadly lost technology that remains scattered around the world. You can also find Peregrin on the Humble Store and Green Man Gaming. Lost Technology Studio 4D $2.99 Finally we come to Lost Technology, a strategy game that is essentially a mod of a mod that got expanded into its own game with the help of the original mod's creator. Players choose from around a dozen factions vying for control in a fantasy world experiencing a resurgence in technological development. The overworld map where you develop your kingdom, negotiate with other races, and move your troops is turn-based, but battles play out in real time. There are also story events, though only three of the factions are currently translated. You can still play as the others, but they don't have story events just yet due to the limited time and budget of the game's small Japanese dev team. Even though the game is technically still unfinished, it's hard to argue with a $3 price tag. That's all for now. I'll return soon with more overlooked indie game release highlights.
  27. Pictured above: Super Cloudbuilt I'm back with another batch of recent indie releases that may have slipped under your radar. I'm not personally endorsing any of these games, just highlighting some titles that stood out among Steam's weekly releases. Make sure you read user reviews and search YouTube to find more information on each game. Pyre Supergiant Games $19.99 First up we have Pyre, a game that probably doesn't need much in the way of introduction. The latest title by the developers of Transistor and Bastion may retain Supergiant's signature aesthetic and focus on music and storytelling, but takes a fairly radical departure in the gameplay department. This time around combat comes in the form of a sports RPG, where teams of three have to grab a ball and score on the opponent's goal, the titular "pyres." Another interesting departure from previous Supergiant games is the addition of a pseudo-open world with a branching storyline that contains no real failure states. Pyre is also available on PS4. Slime Rancher Monomi Park $19.99 The hugely popular and adorable Slime Rancher recently released from Early Access. You play as Beatrix LeBeau, a young rancher that has decided to travel to the distant fringes of the galaxy and make her living as a slime wrangler. In practical terms, Slime Rancher is a first-person sandbox where players capture slimes with their handy vacpack, place them in pins, care for them, and sell the fruits of their labor for profit. The challenge comes from learning the various properties of the different slime species, and figuring out the best ways to contain and care for them. Slime Rancher is also on GOG, the Humble Store, and Xbox One. Sundered Thunder Lotus Games $19.99 Sundered is a 2D metroidvania featuring gorgeous (and terrifying) hand-drawn graphics from the creators of Jotun. Explore a ruined world of shifting caverns and cosmic horrors where you must choose to embrace or resist the whispering temptations of ancient eldritch artifacts. Sundered promises multiple endings to discover based on how much of your sanity you sacrifice to harness the dark powers of its world. You can also buy Sundered on GOG, the Humble Store, and PS4. The Shrouded Isle Kitfox Games $9.99 The Shrouded Isle is another recent title about ancient powers better left forgotten. This story-driven light management game places you in control of a village of fanatical cultists that worship a slumbering Lovecraftian god. According to your village's prophecies, the god will soon reawaken and lead humanity into a new era. Survive for the next three years as the high priest of your religion by making allies, rooting out heretics, and offering sacrifices to your god to maintain his favor. Also available on the Humble Store. Solstice Chronicles: MIA Ironward $19.99 Solstice Chronicles is a top-down tactical shooter where you play as a corporate marine stranded on a dead Martian colony. The mutagenic virus that decimated Earth has spread throughout Tharsis, and you must find a way to stop it from reaching the last bastions of humanity. Accompanying you is an advanced AI-controlled drone full of useful features, and is the source of the game's interesting risk-reward mechanics. The drone can be used to unleash tons of powerful abilities against the mutant hordes in Tharsis, but using your drone too much raises the alert level and attracts more enemies to your location. You can also bring along a co-op partner, but the multiplayer is local only. Immortal Planet teedoubleuGAMES $14.99 Immortal Planet is the latest in a long line of challenging action RPGs that contain self-proclaimed "Souls-like" mechanics, such as methodical combat and losing experience upon death. Each level in the game's unforgiving world contains shortcuts back and forth to the central hub where you can cash in your experience for new abilities and gear. You can also buy Immortal Planet on GOG. Redeemer Sobaka Studio $14.99 Redeemer is a brutal new brawler that allows you to murder your enemies with everything from your fists to their own severed limbs. You play as Vasily, a former operative for the world's biggest cybernetics manufacturer that narrowly escaped after the company decided that they no longer needed him. After 20 years they have finally managed to track Vasily down, giving him a final chance to atone for his dark past. In addition to your standard combo-based brawling, you can also tackle missions with a stealthy approach...or just disarm a guard and go on a shooting spree with their assault rifle. You can also grab Redeemer on the Humble Store, and the developers worked out a deal with Devolver Digital so that owners of Mother Russia Bleeds can get the game for 10% off. Aztez Team Colorblind $19.99 Finally we come to Aztez, a black and white Aztec-inspired brawler with...turn-based strategy elements? Move and deploy your Aztec warriors across a map of the empire in the turn-based strategy metagame, then engage in frantic and brutal 2D brawler sequences to resolve combat. Face off against historic figures and mythological monsters to change the course of history. The campaign features random events and items to ensure that each play through is slightly different. You can also find Aztez on the Humble Store. Still craving new games? Why not check out one of these other recent titles as well: Fidel Dungeon Rescue, a puzzle-driven dungeon crawler where you play as a dog trying to navigate each level in the most efficient way possible. Galaxy of Pen & Paper, the sci-fi follow-up to Knights of Pen and Paper. Tragedy of Prince Rupert, a surreal 2D shooter inspired by the 1958 movie The Fabulous World of Jules Verne. Super Cloudbuilt , a speedrunning-focused parkour shooter That's all for this week. I'll return soon with more indie release highlights.
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