Pictured above: Shadow Complex Remastered
This week was a bit light on new releases that really caught my attention, and consisted mostly of the usual barrage of fairly mundane puzzle-platformers, retro-inspired torture platformers, mobile ports, and VR tech demo/mini-games. Many of them looked okay, just not something that really jumped out at me. That isn't to say this week was completely without interesting releases, however. The Xbox Live Arcade classic Shadow Complex finally made it to Steam, and it's a great buy if you never owned a 360. Beyond that, I did manage to find six games that look like they may be worth checking out. I can't confirm how good any of these are personally, but most of them have a decent number of positive Steam reviews to browse through.
Pitfall Planet is an adorable local co-op puzzle game that looks perfect for those of you wanting a game to play with a sibling or significant other. The players control a pair of mining robots after their ship crash lands on a forgotten mining colony. Players must work together to solve various environmental and physics puzzles to find all the raw materials necessary to repair their ship and leave. There's a bit of trolling shenanigans to be had as well, like the ability to screw over your partner by throwing them into lava or off a cliff. Be aware that this game is strictly local co-op only, and has no single player mode to speak of.
Another intriguing puzzle game that released this week is Glitchspace. What sets Glitchspace apart from your average first-person Portal-like puzzle game is that the puzzles involve reprogramming the world around you with a visual editing program. This allows you to create geometry or otherwise manipulate the size and position of various parts of the environment to reach new areas and solve puzzles. You'll even learn some basic programming concepts in the process. Glitchspace supports VR headsets as well, though you don't need one to play it.
Kathy Rain is a new point n' click adventure game very much in the style of a Wadjet Eye title. It probably isn't a coincidence either, seeing as how the developers had a bit of help from them when making it. You play as the titular Kathy Rain, a journalism student investigating the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of her grandfather. Soon her leads bring her in an unexpected direction as she uncovers a history of bizarre events in her hometown of Conwell Springs. You can also find the game on GOG.
Secrets of Deep Earth Shrine
The oddly titled Secrets of Deep Earth Shrine is an upgraded PC port of a mobile game called Caves n' Chasms. This strategy puzzle game reminds me a lot of Steamworld Digs and involves drilling ever deeper into a fully destructible underground cave. You don't have any direct means of killing enemies, and instead must plant traps or drill out boulders to squish unsuspecting foes. You occasionally must return to the surface to spend the resources and cash you acquire while mining to upgrade your various gadgets, allowing you to dig further into the cave. The game only has one review (a negative one) that is written in Russian, though the mobile version of the game was a bit more well-received. Still, with its cheap price and Steam's current refund policy it might be worth looking into.
Istrolid is a completely free strategy game about building ships from scratch and putting them to the test against similarly customized vessels. There are no set units in the game, with all your enemies being randomly assembled from the game's extensive list of parts and ship chassis. There is a single player campaign where you collect parts in an open galaxy, hoping to eventually amass an armada of warships to conquer the known universe. You can then take your custom creations online and test their abilities against other players in cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes.
Finally we come to Utopia 9, our obligatory top-down twin-stick shooter with light rogue-lite elements. All you wanted was a relaxing vacation on an exotic world, but unfortunately Utopian Travels sent you to a mutant-infested hellscape. One of the more interesting features of this shooter is that, when an enemy kills you, it steals your loot and becomes a mini-boss. If you're able to kill this boss then you can reclaim your lost items and abilities, making it a bit more forgiving than your typical rogue-inspired game. Utopia 9 also includes co-op, but it's local only.
That's all for this week. I return soon enough with more new game release highlights.
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.