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.
Gears for Breakfast
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 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.
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 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.
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.
Pixel Dash Studios, EQgames
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 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 Games
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.
Coin Operated Games
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.
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?