Pictured above: Stellaris
Before I begin I want to point out that Act of Aggression has received a massive new update called the Reboot Edition. This spiritual successor launched with mixed reception some time back, and this new version features drastic changes to the game's mechanics to address these issues in the skirmish and multiplayer modes. Also of note is the release of Stellaris, the latest grand strategy game from Paradox. Pitched as Crusader Kings/Europa Universalis in space, Stellaris has been met with critical acclaim so far, and quickly became the fastest selling game Paradox has ever produced.
With that out of the way, it's time to highlight some indie releases that may have slipped by you this week. I can't guarantee these games are any good, just that I thought they all looked interesting. Luckily, most of them have a decent number of Steam reviews you can read through to get a better feel of them before deciding to spend any money.
I remember playing P-3 Biotic years ago, back when the Xbox Live Indie Games section was still around on the 360. It's a solid and visually pleasing twin-stick shooter about defending a nucleus against waves of invading bacteria. You can drain energy from the nucleus to gain power-ups, but doing so makes in more vulnerable to attack. P-3 might not be anything groundbreaking in the genre, but I enjoyed it back when it first came out and at only $4 it won't exactly drain your wallet.
Riff Racer (formerly Race Any Track) is a new rhythm racing game along the lines of AudioSurf or Symphony. The game can analyze any audio file you feed it and generate tracks for you to race on. The style of track you get depends on what genre of music you use, with key verses and drops becoming checkpoints. There is no actual multiplayer in the game, but you can race against a friend's ghost to beat their high scores on certain songs. Riff Racer also comes bundled with 25 custom tracks if you're a caveman that doesn't own a digital music collection.
Speaking of neon-fueled rhythm games, the aptly named Neon Drive arrived on Steam this week too. While you do control a car like in Riff Racer, Neon Drive is more of an arcade title where you dodge oncoming obstacles to the sound of '80s-inspired synth music. The game features 7 challenging levels in all as you gradually go from driving a car to soaring through space in a starship. You can also find Neon Drive on iOS.
Daniel Snd, Thiago Adamo
Rocket Fist is an arena game inspired by dodgeball. Players control robots with rocket-powered fists trying to murder each other, either with direct hits or by bouncing shots off angled walls. You're defenseless after firing, and have to go retrieve your rocket fist or steal one from your enemies. Rocket Fist supports up to four players locally, with an online mode that's currently still in beta. There are some single player levels as well, including boss fights. Twitch streamers out there might be happy to learn that the game features Twitch integration too, and there is a built-in level editor with full Steam Workshop support for added replayability.
Goliath is an open world survival crafting action RPG about building giant robots to beat up even more gigantic monsters. Starting off with a crude mech made out of wood, you'll need to find blueprints and scavenge for resources to build increasingly advanced robots to survive the more monstrous creatures roaming the wilderness. The weather and environment also affect how your robot performs, based on what materials it's built out of. Along the way you'll get swept up in an escalating war over resources and territory between rival factions, and can choose to join the fight or attempt to negotiate a peaceful resolution. You can also find it on GOG.
OddPlanet is a 2D side-scrolling puzzle platformer that bears more than a passing resemblance to Limbo. You play as a little girl that has crash landed on a hostile world full of dangerous wildlife. Unlike Limbo, OddPlanet isn't completely black and white, and there is a greater emphasis on stealth as you avoid carnivorous alien life forms. Your character also has a voice, and you'll get to hear her innermost thoughts as she sets up camp for the night. Also available on mobile.
She Wants Me Dead
Hello There AB
The next 2D side-scrolling platformer on our list is She Wants Me Dead. You play as Max, a cat owner that has earned the ire of his furry friend, Lula. Lula is plotting Max's death, as cats tend to do, and has built a labyrinth of deadly traps that you must avoid. The game is actually a tie-in to the Swedish music duo CAZZETTE's latest single, and their music plays a role in the game. Traps move to the beat of the music, making She Wants Me Dead a pseudo rhythm game in addition to a torture platformer. You can also find the game on PS4.
Free to Play
StarBreak is a 2D shooter/platformer/MMO thing with some Metroidvania and rogue-lite elements that has a few similarities to Realm of the Mad God. You'll group up with dozens of players as you all explore procedurally generated zones to gather loot and fight bosses. The rogue-lite elements come in the form of permadeath. You'll lose everything when you die and must start again, but leveling up and progression in StarBreak is closer to a rogue-like than a traditional MMO. A bizarre mix of genres and ideas for sure, but its free so why not give it a shot?
Tastee: Lethal Tactics
Tastee is a new simultaneous turn-based strategy game about assembling a crack team of mercenaries and rogues to take down a ruthless global crime cartel. The game contains 12 characters divided into four classes, each with their own unique skills and abilities. Battles in Tastee place a big emphasis on environmental interactions and creating combos and synergies with the various weapons and gadgets your team employs. There is a campaign with 30 missions and a set of skirmish levels with randomized environmental elements, but the multiplayer is a huge component of Tastee's experience. The online mode has a fully featured ranked leaderboards, support for asynchronous matches, and a replay system.
Endless Loop Studios
Last up for this week is Blueprint Tycoon, a management game about making efficient production lines. You'll need to establish settlements and gather their raw materials to produce goods for your contractor. As you build up your production line, you'll need to expand to other settlements, create trade routes and supply chains, and build an increasingly efficient system to keep your profits up and your workers happily paid. It has a lot of positive reviews from gamers, and seems like an absolute steal at only $3.
That's all for this week. I'll be back next week with more indie 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.