Pictured above: Duskers
Wow, we had a really busy week of indie game releases on PC. So many, in fact, that a single article just can't contain them all, so expect a bonus article in a few days. I can't guarantee any of the many releases from this week are any good myself, but many of them have tons of Steam reviews you can browse through for more information.
Salt and Sanctuary
Probably one of the bigger indie releases of the week, Salt and Sanctuary has made its way to PC after its initial console release a few months back. This 2D Soulsian action RPG is the latest game from Ska Studios, a personal favorite of mine due to their highly underappreciated 360 titles like Charlie Murder, the Dishwasher series, and ZP2KX. They really should bring more of their games to Steam. Salt and Sanctuary promises to be their biggest and most complex game to date as you embark on a journey as a shipwrecked sailor trapped on a mysterious island crawling with long forgotten evil forces. The game has been met with critical acclaim on both consoles and Steam, so if you're looking for a challenging action RPG then you may want to give Salt and Sanctuary a chance.
Shadwen is another indie title with quite a bit of hype surrounding it, this time from the developers that brought us the Trine series. Shadwen is a big departure from Frozenbyte's usual games, and is a dark and moody 3rd person stealth game where you play as an assassin on a dangerous mission to murder the king. Along the way you meet an orphan girl named Lily that you must protect, and this introduces Shadwen's morality system where you have to decide how lethal you wish to be in front of Lily. Shadwen also features a heavy emphasis on physics, allowing you to get very creative with environmental traps. You can also find Shadwen on PS4 and GOG.
One Troll Army
Indie publisher tinyBuild has become famous lately for their crazy marketing stunts involving Twitch, and One Troll Army is no exception. This action/tower defense hybrid has you playing as a massive troll hired by a band of goblins to protect their fort, and features Twitch integration where chat can take control of enemy units. This is where tinyBuild's signature marketing came in, as they proposed a challenge to their fans: Beat the developers on Twitch and One Troll Army will be released for free, a feat that Twitch chat gleefully accomplished.
Melody's Escape is a rhythm runner that was in one of the first waves of Greenlit games. It's been in Early Access for nearly as long, but is now officially released with a nice 40% discount for the next week. The basic gameplay isn't all that different from other rhythm games like AudioSurf. Pick your favorite songs from your library and then play the levels they generate, hitting the color-coded prompts as they appear to avoid obstacles and rack up a high score. The music analysis in Melody's Escape places a particular emphasis on vocals and long notes, allowing you to slide and fly along with them in-game.
Another game that's been in Early Access for a while is Particle Mace. This top-down shooter is inspired by games like Geometry Wars and Asteroids, but the gameplay places a much greater focus on physics and inertia. Much like the name implies, Particle Mace eschews the guns and projectiles of other twin sticks in favor of a giant mace tethered to your ship. To attack, you'll need to dodge and weave around obstacles to build up the momentum required to unleash a devastating blow with your mace. In addition to a wide range of single player missions, Particle Mace also features local co-op and competitive multiplayer. You can find the game on iOS too.
The Way is a new 2D puzzle platformer inspired by many classics from the genre, and bears more than a passing resemblance to something you'd expect from Wadjet Eye Games. You play as an explorer who finds himself unable to cope with the death of his lover. After reading ancient texts about eternal life, he returns to an alien world he visited on a prior expedition to find purpose in his life again. Also available on GOG.
Smashing The Battle
The aptly named Smashing The Battle is a stylized brawler about the simple things in life, like smashing things and half-naked anime babes with great bouncy tits. A large-scale cyber attack has turned the construction robots in a huge multiplex into homicide murderers, and you must smash them to bits as one of the two aforementioned scantily clad anime girls. As you progress through missions you'll gain money to purchase new abilities and upgrade existing gear and weapons. It's already become a bit of a cult hit on Steam, with several hundred largely positive user reviews.
Unknown Games, M2 Co., LTD
Speaking of fighting anime girls, the 2D Japanese arcade fighter Koihime Enbu made it to Steam this week. Based on an adult visual novel, Koihime Enbu is set in an alternate Romance of the Three Kingdoms where most of the famous warlords and heroes have been replaced with cute anime girls, because of course they have and this is just how things work in Japan. The game features 13 characters in all, with an additional 7 assist characters to change up your move set and tactics. Koihime Enbu is also on PS3 and PS4.
Finally we come to Duskers, a strategy rogue-lite with an interesting retro sci-fi aesthetic. You play as a lone drone operator surrounded by derelict starships in the depths of space. Using an interesting command line interface, you'll need to pilot salvaging drones into these wrecks to find vital supplies like food, fuel, and parts to upgrade your drones and keep them in working order. Along the way you'll need to keep an eye out for ship logs that will help you figure out what happened and where you can find aid. Beware though, because it soon becomes apparent that you aren't totally alone out there. You can also grab the game on GOG.
That's all for now. I'll be back in a few days with more indie release highlights from last week.
Frank is an aspiring game designer that currently writes for Indie Game Source and Bell of Lost Souls. You can follow him on Twitter @Frank_Gaming for updates on future articles and reviews.