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 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.
What Pumpkin Games
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.
Bird in Sky
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.
Red Unit Studios
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 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.
Shining Pixel Studios
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.
Matt Bitner Games
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 Studio
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.