Pictured above: Space Tyrant
This week has easily been the most busy week so far this year in terms of new indie releases, and its only Thursday. Some of these games are titles I've personally been very excited to get my hands on, though I can only truly recommend one of them so far. As with all of these articles, don't take this as a buyer's guide. Make sure you check out videos and reviews to learn more about each game.
First up this week is Into the Breach, the latest game from the developers of FTL and the only game on this list that I can personally vouch for right now. Like their previous game, Into the Beach is a roguelite with some pretty solid pixel art, but that's where the similarities end. Earth has been ravaged by an invasion of gigantic, bug-like creatures called the Vek. You control a squad of mechs that have been sent back in time to defend Earth during the early stages of the invasion. Fight waves of Vek in a campaign full of short, procedurally generated missions with multiple secondary objectives. The turn-based battles play out more like a puzzle game, where positioning is key and many of your attacks have secondary effects based around moving enemies. Into the Breach is also on GOG and the Humble Store.
Hellmut is a top-down roguelite shooter I've been keeping my eye on, but haven't personally had a chance to play yet. You play as a mad scientist that unleashed a horde of demons in exchange for immortality. The demons granted your wish, but then ate your body, leaving only your floating brain behind. Get revenge on these otherworldly horrors by blowing them apart with an arsenal of absurd weapons and shape-shifting abilities. Each Transformation gives you a different special ability, and swapping between them to counter specific enemies is one of the core principles of the game's combat. You can also find Hellmut on GOG and the Humble Store, with a console port apparently coming sometime later this year.
RogueCode (PTY) LTD
Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse is another top-down twin-stick roguelite shooter that released this week, and despite the obvious meme name and premise, it looks like it might have some promise. A global conspiracy has resulted in millions of weaponized attack llamas being unleashed upon an unsuspecting world. Fight back the hordes with a customizable, remotely-piloted mech bristling with guns and gadgets. The game features co-op for up to four players, but its limited to local only. VALA is currently only on Steam, but it will be heading to Xbox One in a few weeks.
Humble Hearts LLC
Never Stop Sneakin' is the latest game by the developer of Dust: An Elysian Tail. This top-down arcade parody of the original Metal Gear Solid has you playing as an elite operative for the Department of Sneakin', the world's best stealth and counterintelligence agency. Infiltrate procedurally generated military bases on your mission to stop Amadeus Guildenstern, a time-traveling super villain that has kidnapped all the U.S. Presidents. Never Stop Sneakin' is also on the Switch.
Dim Bulb Games, Serenity Forge
Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is a narrative adventure game about traveling across a highly stylized version of the Depression era continental US. Hitchhike from coast-to-coast gathering stories, each of which are written by a wide selection of established authors. Trade stories with your fellow travelers as currency to gather new tales. Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is also on GOG and the Humble Store.
Blue Wizard Digital
Space Tyrant is a 4X-lite developed by a team of former PopCap developers. Conquer and terrorize the galaxy as the cartoonishly evil warlord of one of three alien races. Space Tyrant's gimmick is that it has simplified and streamlined the basic 4X gameplay loop into an easy-to-learn package that is suitable for quick play sessions and binge gaming alike. There's no diplomatic or cultural victories in the game, and support cards replace the complex research and tech trees in most 4X games. Amass an armada, subjugate weaker races, and get eaten by giant space sharks over the course of your average lunch break.
Ghost Ship Games
I'm going to round out today's article with a pair of promising Early Access games. Deep Rock Galactic is a co-op shooter where four players control a squad of space dwarves mining procedurally generated underground caverns for precious metals and gems. Each player takes on a unique role to help the team, like the defensive Engineer, or the Scout that leads the way and gathers information on upcoming areas. Environments are fully destructible, with the Driller class being built around carving paths through rock walls. Deep Rock Galactic is still pretty early in development, so be aware that there isn't a ton of content in the game just yet. It's also on the Xbox Preview service and the Humble Store.
Finally we come to Ion Maiden, an old school-inspired shooter published by 3D Realms. What sets Ion Maiden apart from the numerous other '90s-style nostalgia shooters is that it's actually made in an updated version of the Build engine that spawned Duke Nukem 3D, Blood, and Shadow Warrior. This results in a game that nails the look and feel of a classic shooter, but takes advantage of new advances in technology with larger, more complex levels and higher resolutions. Like Deep Rock Galactic, Ion Maiden is still early in development, so don't expect much more than a tech demo at this point.
There's still plenty of releases I haven't got to yet, so I'll be back soon. Which of these games are you excited about?