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.
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.
Acid Wizard Studio
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.
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 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.
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
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 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 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.
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.