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.
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.
Pieces Interactive, THQ Nordic
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.
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 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.
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?