Frank Streva

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  1. Pictured above: Masters of Anima I'm back with another batch of new releases on Steam that you might have missed. This is not a recommendations list, just a highlight of some titles that stood out among Steam's weekly releases. Be sure to check out reviews and videos to find more information on each game. Super Daryl Deluxe PC, PS4, Switch Dan & Gary Games $19.99 Super Daryl Deluxe is a quirky 2D "RPGvania" brawler that was Kickstarted back in 2014 for a modest $7,861 by 73 backers. You play as Daryl, a friendless loser that has just transferred to Water Falls High School. What started as just an quest to meet new friends quickly turns into a dimension-sprawling adventure through the physics-defying high school and it's monster-infested hallways. Explore the school to meet new people and find hidden areas with rare items. Customize your play style with a skill tree that includes over 40 abilities that you can learn over the course of the game. The developers estimate that Super Daryl Deluxe will keep you busy for around 15 hours. Masters of Anima PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One Passtech Games $19.99 Masters of Anima is a new Pikmin-like strategy RPG by the developers of the Space Run series. You are an apprentice wizard able to control the powers of Anima, giving you the ability to summon and lead armies of up to 100 Guardians. There are several classes of Guardians that fulfill different roles in and out of combat, including puzzles and using your minions to navigate harsh environments. Hone your strategy skills on your quest to defeat Zahr and his army of magical Golem constructs. Deployment PC Whale Rock Games $12.99 Deployment is a competitive, class-based top-down shooter by the developers of an obscure little tactical RPG called We Are The Dwarves. Civilization was nearly annihilated by a new world war. Advanced computer networks have kept everything running, but there is a constant cyber war waging between megacorporations and rival governments over control of the virtual world. Face off against your enemies as an Infosoldier, an AI program capable of capturing key systems and setting up turrets to fend off attacks. There's five classes in all, each with a different selection of weapons and perks that you can unlock while playing. Deployment is mostly focused on multiplayer, but there are AI skirmishes you can play if you can't find an opponent. Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle PC, iOS, Android Blue Wizard Digital Free-to-play Blue Wizard Digital is an indie company comprised of ex-PopCap developers that created a unique puzzle game called Slayaway Camp back in 2016. Inspired by classic slasher flicks like Friday the 13th, Slayaway Camp placed you in control of a homicidal maniac trying to navigate sliding puzzle-like levels to kill groups of annoying, oversexed teenagers. For their follow-up, Blue Wizard managed to actually acquire the Friday the 13th license that the original game was inspired by. Killer Puzzle includes over 100 levels and follows the same gameplay conventions as Slayaway Camp. The levels are divided into 12 episodes, the first eight of which are completely free. Additional chapters will cost you $2.99 each, and you can help support the developers further by purchasing character skins for $.99 a pop. Vandals PC, iOS, Android Cosmografik, Novelab, Ex Nihilo $4.99 Vandals is another puzzle game that recently hit Steam and mobile devices. The game features mechanics similar to Lara Croft and Hitman GO, where you stealthily move past guards on a series of predefined lines. However, instead of trying to take out enemies like in those games, your objective is to leave graffiti on specific walls and surfaces while avoiding detection by police. Vandals features 60 puzzles across five cities, and comes with a level editor to make new challenges. Heckpoint PC Nodacoy Games, Jadan Bliss $9.99 Heckpoint is a chaotic side-scrolling roguelite shooter with fully destructible levels. Shoot, slash, and explode your way through eight procedurally generated worlds as one of 12 customizable characters. Collect genetic material from your enemies to permanently upgrade your character with over 70 perks, weapons, and abilities. Use melee weapons to deflect lasers, rockets, and grenades back at your enemies. Heckpoint has three difficulty settings to challenge players of all skill levels, plus an endless mode. Germination PC Sullivan Boyd, Caden Petersen $3.99 Finally, we come to Germination, another simple-yet-challenging indie platformer. You play as an astronaut stranded on an alien world that must survive against waves of carnivorous plants by jumping on their heads. Chain together combos to stay airborne as long as possible as more seeds rain down from the sky. Germination has both a campaign mode and an endless mode designed to pad out your high scores. Which of these games caught your attention?
  2. Pictured above: Dead In Vinland Last week was too light on releases to warrant an article, but now I'm back with another batch of new indie and AA releases that you may have missed. I'm not here to personally recommend any of these games, just to highlight some titles that stood out among the many releases that hit Steam on a weekly basis. Be sure to check out reviews and videos to find more information on each game. PWND PC Skydance Interactive Free-To-Play PWND is a class-based arena shooter focused on fast, vertical combat that recently exited Early Access. Created by former developers from Treyarch, PWND's key mechanic is also where it gets its namesake from: humiliating your fresh kills. To score the maximum amount of points, you'll need to successfully perform a victory dance on your disabled foes as they slowly bleed out. You are completely defenseless while performing your victory dance, so a big part of PWND's teamplay comes from defending players that are performing PWNs, or trying to interrupt an enemy's PWN to save your teammate from humiliation. PWND's business model is based around acquiring new outfits and other cosmetic items to customize your character's appearance. Minit PC, PS4, Xbox One JW, Kitty, Jukio, Dom $9.99 Minit is a new adventure game developed as a collaboration effort between four famous indie devs, and published by Devolver Digital. This minimalist adventure game is loosely inspired by the older Zelda titles, especially the time aspects of Majora's Mask. You explore the game world in 60 second chunks, finding new areas, foes, and secrets during each interval. The goal is eventually break the unfortunate curse that causes each day to last only one minute at a time. Loyalty and Blood: Viktor Origins PC Shorebound Studios $9.99 Loyalty and Blood is the prequel to Viktor, a side-scrolling shooter that originally released back in 2014. The prequel is set several years before the original, and follows the origin story of Viktor as he climbs through the ranks of The Legion. The phase shift mechanic returns, allowing you to quickly dodge through enemies and projectiles alike. Unlock an arsenal of 40 upgradable weapons across 90 missions, bounty hunter challenge levels, and a New Game+ mode. The Adventure Pals PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One Massive Monster $14.99 The Adventure Pals is a colorful and quirky 2D platformer with light RPG elements. Your birthday bash is ruined when the maniacal Mr. B dad-naps your father as part of his devious plan to turn old people into an army of hotdogs. Join your pal Sparkles the Giraffe on an adventure through five themed worlds full of traps, enemies, and treasure. Level up by defeating enemies to improve your abilities and learn new skills. The Adventure Pals can be played alone or with a friend via local co-op. Dead In Vinland PC CCCP $19.99 Dead In Vinland is a survival management game with RPG-style character progression and turn-based battles. Eirik and his family are the only known survivors of a Viking expedition to an unknown land, and have found themselves stranded on a mysterious island. Manage the physical and mental health of your family, build up your camp, explore the island, and interact with other people stranded on the island. Eventually you'll find yourself controlling a full community of survivors, each with their own character quirks and personalities that can cause tensions within the group. Dead In Vinland promises a massive story with over 150,000 words of dialog and branching paths, as well as three difficulty settings designed to cater to gamers of all skill types. Tower of Time PC Event Horizon $24.99 Finally we come to Tower of Time, a party-based tactical dungeon crawler RPG that just released from Early Access. Create a party from seven flexible character classes and embark on a journey to explore the Tower of Time, a mysterious structure that blends magic and ancient technology to create a world where the normal laws of physics no longer apply. Use the game's "Arrow Time" mechanic to slow time to a crawl so you can react to new threats and queue up orders to your party, and manipulate the bizarre gravity of the Tower to perform superhuman feats of strength and agility. In another interesting twist for the genre, many of the game's spells and abilities can be "drawn" through a gesture-based system to place effects exactly how you want them. Tower of Time touts over 50 hours of content, with five difficulty settings, branching paths, and an alignment system for additional replayability. Which of these games caught your attention?
  3. Pictured above: Golem Gates Last week was too light on releases to warrant an article, but now I'm back with another batch of new indie and AA releases that you may have missed. I'm not here to personally recommend any of these games, just to highlight some titles that stood out among the many releases that hit Steam on a weekly basis. Be sure to check out reviews and videos to find out more information on each game. AirMech Strike PC, Xbox One, PS4 Carbon Games Free-to-Play AirMech has been around since early 2012 on various platforms, with Strike being a complete overhaul and rebranding of the PC version that recently exited Early Access. For those of you that have somehow avoided the game up to this point, AirMech is a MOBA/RTS hybrid heavily inspired by the classic Genesis game Herzog Zwei, which many people cite as being one of the first real RTS games. Players directly control transformable mechs as they construct and escort waves of units to the enemy base. Strike is purely a competitive game at this point, with the old PVE modes being expanded into a companion game called Wasteland. The business model is based around buying experience and cash boosters, as well as skins and other cosmetic items. You can find AirMech under the name AirMech Arena on the PS4 and Xbox One. Ash of Gods: Redemption PC AurumDust $24.99 Ash of Gods: Redemption is a turn-based tactics RPG that has drawn many comparisons to The Banner Saga due to its art direction and combat mechanics. The story revolves around three key protagonists that have been swept up in a war following the return of an ancient enemy threatening the peace and prosperity of Terminum. One of the game's main hooks is that the death of main characters doesn't result in the end of the story. Even the three protagonists can die and the game will continue on, taking their deaths and your choices into account. The turn-based battles also have an element of CCGs and deckbuilding in the form of a limited supply of enhancement cards that you'll gain throughout your journey. Ash of Gods is currently only on the PC, but it will supposedly be making its way to consoles at some point in the future. Scalpers: Turtle & the Moonshine Gang PC A Sweet Studio $9.99 Scalpers is a boss rush twin-stick shooter set in a lawless Wild West world of anthropomorphic animals. Up to four friends can form a posse in local or online multiplayer to take down wanted outlaws and their gang of miscreants. Spend your hard-earned bounty on new weapons, gear, and abilities between missions to take on even greater challenges. Scalpers also has a competitive mode that supports up to eight players. Empires Apart PC DESTINYbit $29.99 Empires Apart is a civilization-building RTS set in the Middle Ages with a vibrant, low-poly art style. Take control of the Aztecs, Chinese, French, Mongols, Arabs, or Byzantines on procedurally generated maps that support up to eight players in AI skirmish or online multiplayer. Additionally, you can hone your skills in a set of six challenges for each civilization, or last as long as you can against an AI horde in the Survival Mode. Be aware that opinions are pretty mixed regarding Empires Apart, with the most common complaint being a lack of depth and content compared to the classic RTS games it's trying to emulate. Golem Gates PC Laser Guided Games $29.99 Gamers still sad about the closure of the RTS/CCG hybrid Battleforge might want to check out Golem Gates. Golem Gates features over 100 cards representing creatures, spells, upgrades, and structures. These decks of cards are used to summon units and activate abilities in the game's fast and competitive RTS battles. The primary game mode is a variant of King of the Hill, where you'll need to use your army to capture and hold strategic locations to gather points. Unfortunately, Golem Gates' lack of coverage has resulted in the game's online multiplayer being dead on arrival, though the game also features a campaign, AI skirmishes, challenges, and a survival mode. Through the Ages PC, Android, iOS CGE Digital $15.99 Vlaada Chváti's popular civilization-building board game, Through the Ages, has just received a digital adaptation on PC and mobile. Build your small tribe into a thriving superpower by gathering resources, researching groundbreaking technological advancements, and amassing a powerful army. While this digital version is focused on multiplayer with your friends, Through the Ages still includes a variety of single player challenges and AI options. Flash Point: Fire Rescue PC, Android, iOS RetroEpic Software $19.99 Finally we come to Flash Point, another board game that received a digital adaptation this week. In this turn-based strategy game, you'll coordinate a team of first responders trying to find and rescue civilians trapped inside a burning building. Use your team of specialists to fight back the flames, treat survivors, break through walls and locked doors, and escape before the fire becomes out of control. You can control your team by yourself or enlist the aid of your friends and family in local co-op. Which of these games caught your attention?
  4. Pictured above: Azure Saga: Pathfinder I'm back with another batch of new indie and AA releases that you might have missed. I'm not here to personally recommend any of these games, just highlight some titles that stood out among the many releases that hit Steam on a weekly basis. Be sure to check out reviews and videos to find more information on each game. Ghost of a Tale PC, PS4 (Release Date TBA), Xbox One (Xbox Game Preview) SeithCG $24.99 The stealth RPG Ghost of a Tale was originally funded on Indiegogo back in 2013, and its finally complete after four years in Early Access. You play as Tilo, a tiny mouse in a very dangerous Redwall-inspired medieval fantasy world. Explore the massive Dwindling Heights Keep on your quest to find your friend Merra. Tilo's combat prowess is extremely limited due to his small stature and inexperience, meaning that most of your adventure will be spent sneaking through the shadows or using disguises to outwit your enemies. The PC version of Ghost of a Tale is the only one that is currently finished. It's on Xbox One as part of the Xbox Game Preview program, but the final version (as well as a PS4 port) won't be out until sometime later this year. Soulblight PC My Next Games $14.99 Soulblight is a top-down action rogue-lite that promises to offer players unforgiving combat, a grim setting, and a unique approach to leveling that emphasizes role playing. Your primary way of gaining strength is through the Taint mechanic. These Taints represent personality traits your character can develop throughout the game, and will give you bonuses and penalties for playing specific ways. You'll become increasingly more powerful as you acquire new Taints, but your character will gradually descend into madness until they reach a point of no return. As with most games in the genre, death is permanent, and each run features procedurally generated levels and loot. Synthetik PC Flow Fire Games $14.99 Speaking of top-down action rogue-lites, Synthetik is another new game in the genre that released earlier this week. After years of servitude, the AI servants developed by the robotics company Kaida Corporation have gone rogue. You play as a prototype android with a human consciousness, and represent the final line of defense against the robot apocalypse. Despite the top-down perspective, Synthetik features a lot of mechanics you'd expect to see in a first or third-person shooter, including headshots and limb damage, recoil control, and an active reload system similar to the one used in Gears of War. The game supports drop-in, drop-out online co-op as well. Surviving Mars PC, PS4, Xbox One Haemimont Games $39.99 Surviving Mars is the latest game by the developers of the Tropico series. The goal of this sci-fi city builder is to establish a thriving colony on Mars. This won't be an easy task, and as the name implies, you'll have to overcome a plethora of problems related to the Red Planet's harsh environment. Build a colony from scratch with the support of one of the game's space agencies, then gradually increase your city's self-reliance by growing food, producing oxygen, and developing new technologies to help make everyday life easier on a hostile alien world. Q.U.B.E. 2 PC, PS4, Xbox One Toxic Games $24.99 Q.U.B.E. 2 is the sequel to a first-person puzzle game that released at the end of 2011. The original may have been written off by many as a "Portal clone," but it still managed to gain a fairly devoted cult following. You play as an archaeologist named Amelia Cross, who has awakened to find herself stranded in a maze-like alien structure with no knowledge of how she got there. Q.U.B.E. is a acronym for Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion, which accurately describes the environment-shifting puzzles you'll encounter throughout your journey. Use your manipulation gloves to move objects and alter your surroundings across 11 levels and over 80 puzzles. The Council PC, PS4, Xbox One Big Bad Wolf $29.99 The Council is the first installment in an episodic narrative adventure game that hopes to expand upon the Telltale formula in interesting new ways. The game is set in an alternate 1793 and tells a story about secret societies and political intrigue involving historical characters like George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte. You'll be taking the role of Louis de Richet, a member of a secret society that has been invited to a meeting on a private island off the coast of England. Louis de Richet's real goal is to uncover the truth behind the sudden disappearance of his mother, a member of the same group that recently went missing on the island. Gameplay involves scheming and manipulating your way through noncombat confrontations with other characters in order to gather information and garner political influence. There are no game-ending failure states in The Council, though a wrong move can result in losing favor or physical disfigurement. The $30 price tag grants you access to the other four episodes as they come out. Spellsworn PC Frogsong Studios AB Free to Play Spellsworn is a top-down, skill-based arena combat game heavily inspired by Warlock, a classic Warcraft III mod. Face off against other players in fast paced, best-of-five matches in either duel or team battle formats. Currency earned during battle can be spent between rounds to customize your character with an arsenal of offensive and defensive spells. Each of the game's arenas are full of hazards like acid or lava, and the maps constantly shift and change throughout the match. The game's monetization scheme is similar to Battlerite and other recent competitive multiplayer games, with purchasable loot chests that contain cosmetic items to customize your character. Azure Saga: Pathfinder PC MassHive Media $12.99 Finally we come to Azure Saga: Pathfinder, a 2.5D game inspired by old school JRPGs. In the far future, the last remnants of humanity have been scattered across the universe in search of Azure, a lush and resource-rich planet said to be the last hope for the survival of the human race. Travel across the galaxy as Synch, a young scientist searching for his father that eventually gets wrapped up in the quest to find Azure and restore humanity's former glory. Exploration takes place in an isometric view complete with puzzles, mini-games, dungeons, and town hubs. Combat involves random encounters that play out like a traditional party-based JRPG, with powerful United skills that allow your characters to unleash combination attacks. Which of these games caught your attention?
  5. Pictured above: Guns, Gore, and Cannoli 2 After a bit of a hiatus due to technical issues, I'm back with another batch of new indie releases. As always, I'm not here to personally recommend any of these games; I'm just highlighting some recent releases that you may have missed. Remember to check out reviews and videos to find more information on each game. Northgard Shiro Games $29.99 First on the list this week is Northgard, a real-time, Norse-inspired 4X that gained a sizable following last year when it hit Early Access. In addition to the randomized maps that the game originally launched with, this final version features an 11 chapter campaign mode that will help you master the playstyle of all six of the game's clans. While the game is technically an RTS, Northgard's pace is closer to what you'd expect from Civilization, with most of the game's emphasis placed on expanding your settlement, exploring a mysterious new land, and gradually working your way towards one of four potential victory conditions. Northgard is also available on the Humble Store. Guns, Gore, and Cannoli 2 Crazy Monkey Studios $12.99 Guns, Gore, and Cannoli 2 is, unsurprisingly, the sequel to Guns, Gore, and Cannoli, a comedic 2D shooter that released back in 2015. While the original was about shooting zombies and rival Italian gangsters in Prohibition era America, the sequel brings protagonist Vinnie Cannoli to the battlefields of war-torn Europe to kick some Nazi ass. Besides the setting change, Guns, Gore, and Cannoli 2 features a significant overhaul of the core gameplay, including new dodging and melee mechanics. Play by yourself or bring along up to three friends in online and local co-op. Both titles are also on the PS4 and Xbox One. Dark Quest 2 Brain Seal $7.99 Another recent sequel to a modestly successful indie game from 2015 is Dark Quest 2. As with the original, Dark Quest 2 is a turn-based dungeon crawler heavily inspired by the classic Games Workshop adventure board game, HeroQuest. Besides the graphical upgrade, Dark Quest 2's main improvements are new character classes and the addition of online co-op. CHUCHEL Amanita Design $9.99 CHUCHEL is the latest adorable adventure game from the creators of Machinarium, Samorost, and Botanicula. Guide the titular Chuchel through a variety of puzzles on his race to beat his rival, Kekel. As with all of Amanita's games, the plot is an excuse to explore a whimsical world full of charming music and comedic visual gags. You can also find CHUCHEL on GOG and the Humble Store. Way of the Passive Fist Household Games Inc. $14.99 In addition to being a puntastic name, Way of the Passive Fist also describes this 2D arcade brawler's gameplay. Instead of trying to overpower your enemies with a barrage of punches, kicks, and throws like in most brawlers, Way of the Passive Fist is about tiring your opponents and dispatching them once they run out of steam. Parry, block, deflect, and dodge enemy attacks to drain their stamina and outlast them before launching a well-timed counterattack. Way of the Passive Fist is also on the Humble Store, PS4, and Xbox One. Crest Eat Create Sleep $9.99 Crest is an "indirect god game" set in a low-poly world inspired by prehistoric Africa. This sandbox-style god sim allows you to build your own religion as a primordial god by issuing pictographic commandments to your followers. The indirect part of the game's pitch comes from the fact that there is no set way that your followers will interpret your will, and each commandment might lead to unexpected consequences. Unlock new pictures as your tribe progresses, allowing you to issue increasingly complex commandments. My Lovely Daughter GameChanger Studio $14.99 Finally we come to My Lovely Daughter, a rather twisted and disturbing mix of visual novel and alchemist simulator. You play as a grieving father that begins exploring alchemy to find a way to resurrect his recently deceased daughter. Use forbidden texts to create and raise a small army of homunculi to help you with your experiments. As your relationship with your homunculi servants grows and they become better at their daily tasks, you'll have to decide which ones to ritualistically sacrifice so you can harvest their souls to fuel your efforts to bring your daughter back from the void. Which of these games caught your attention?
  6. Pictured above: Worshippers As I mentioned in my previous release highlights article, last week was full of new games worthy of your attention. Here's five additional games that didn't make the original article. Pit People The Behemoth $14.99 After around a year in Early Access, the latest game by the developers of Castle Crashers and BattleBlock Theater has been released. Pit People takes The Behemoth's signature aesthetic and quirky humor to a post-apocalyptic world after a giant magical space bear has collided with the planet. This turn-based strategy game streamlines and simplifies the experience by not allowing you to directly control your units' actions. That might sound infuriating, but the game's mechanics are based around manipulating your units in ways that influence their actions. Multiplayer plays a fairly large role in the game, including the ability to play the entire campaign cooperatively and 2v2 arena matches. You can also find Pit People on Xbox One. Battlezone: Combat Commander Big Boat Interactive $19.99 The original Battlezone was remastered back in 2016, and now its Battlezone 2's turn with Battlezone: Combat Commander. This rerelease keeps the core gameplay and story of this classic FPS/RTS hybrid intact, but features updated visuals, improved AI, restored online multiplayer with competitive and cooperative modes, and full Steam Workshop support. You can also find both remasters on the Humble Store and GOG. Mulaka Lienzo $19.99 Mulaka is a 3D adventure game inspired by the folklore of the Tarahumara tribe of northern Mexico. Cleanse your native land of a mysterious corruption as a Sukurúame, a traditional Tarahumara shaman and spiritual leader. Explore a colorful, low-poly world based on a mixture of real Mexican landscapes and the tribe's ancient mythology. Use shamanistic magic to transform into animal deities to fight enemies, solve puzzles, and traverse the environment. Mulaka is also available on the Humble Store, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One. Vagante Nuke Nine $14.99 Vagante is a 2D action roguelite platformer that exited Early Access a few weeks back. Explore a procedurally generated cave network packed with monsters, traps, and magical artifacts waiting to be recovered. You can play the entire game alone or with up to three friends in both local and online co-op. Vagante is also on the Humble Store. Heroes of Hammerwatch Crackshell $11.99 Another recent roguelite action-adventure to hit Steam is Heroes of Hammerwatch, the sequel to 2013's Hammerwatch. Like Vagante, Heroes of Hammerwatch allows you and up to three friends to battle your way through procedurally generated dungeons in search of enchanted items and other loot. Spend your newly-acquired wealth on improvements to the town center to give your party various buffs for future expeditions. Heroes of Hammerwatch is also available on the Humble Store and GOG. Worshippers Brainwashing Games $9.99 Finally we come to Worshippers, a 4X-lite inspired by popular strategy board games. Control a small tribe of warriors in a low-magic fantasy world based on Slavic folklore as you attempt to expand your god's influence and convert new worshippers to your religion. Your units and upgrades come in the form of cards that you'll collect during each session, adding an element of deckbuilding to every scenario. Worshippers is designed with quick sessions in mind, with the average scenario only taking about half an hour to complete. Which of these games caught your attention?
  7. Pictured above: Space Tyrant This week has easily been the most busy week so far this year in terms of new indie releases, and its only Thursday. Some of these games are titles I've personally been very excited to get my hands on, though I can only truly recommend one of them so far. As with all of these articles, don't take this as a buyer's guide. Make sure you check out videos and reviews to learn more about each game. Into the Breach Subset Games $14.99 First up this week is Into the Breach, the latest game from the developers of FTL and the only game on this list that I can personally vouch for right now. Like their previous game, Into the Beach is a roguelite with some pretty solid pixel art, but that's where the similarities end. Earth has been ravaged by an invasion of gigantic, bug-like creatures called the Vek. You control a squad of mechs that have been sent back in time to defend Earth during the early stages of the invasion. Fight waves of Vek in a campaign full of short, procedurally generated missions with multiple secondary objectives. The turn-based battles play out more like a puzzle game, where positioning is key and many of your attacks have secondary effects based around moving enemies. Into the Breach is also on GOG and the Humble Store. Hellmut: The Badass from Hell Volcanicc $14.99 Hellmut is a top-down roguelite shooter I've been keeping my eye on, but haven't personally had a chance to play yet. You play as a mad scientist that unleashed a horde of demons in exchange for immortality. The demons granted your wish, but then ate your body, leaving only your floating brain behind. Get revenge on these otherworldly horrors by blowing them apart with an arsenal of absurd weapons and shape-shifting abilities. Each Transformation gives you a different special ability, and swapping between them to counter specific enemies is one of the core principles of the game's combat. You can also find Hellmut on GOG and the Humble Store, with a console port apparently coming sometime later this year. Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse RogueCode (PTY) LTD $14.99 Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse is another top-down twin-stick roguelite shooter that released this week, and despite the obvious meme name and premise, it looks like it might have some promise. A global conspiracy has resulted in millions of weaponized attack llamas being unleashed upon an unsuspecting world. Fight back the hordes with a customizable, remotely-piloted mech bristling with guns and gadgets. The game features co-op for up to four players, but its limited to local only. VALA is currently only on Steam, but it will be heading to Xbox One in a few weeks. Never Stop Sneakin' Humble Hearts LLC $11.99 Never Stop Sneakin' is the latest game by the developer of Dust: An Elysian Tail. This top-down arcade parody of the original Metal Gear Solid has you playing as an elite operative for the Department of Sneakin', the world's best stealth and counterintelligence agency. Infiltrate procedurally generated military bases on your mission to stop Amadeus Guildenstern, a time-traveling super villain that has kidnapped all the U.S. Presidents. Never Stop Sneakin' is also on the Switch. Where the Water Tastes Like Wine Dim Bulb Games, Serenity Forge $19.99 Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is a narrative adventure game about traveling across a highly stylized version of the Depression era continental US. Hitchhike from coast-to-coast gathering stories, each of which are written by a wide selection of established authors. Trade stories with your fellow travelers as currency to gather new tales. Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is also on GOG and the Humble Store. Space Tyrant Blue Wizard Digital $19.99 Space Tyrant is a 4X-lite developed by a team of former PopCap developers. Conquer and terrorize the galaxy as the cartoonishly evil warlord of one of three alien races. Space Tyrant's gimmick is that it has simplified and streamlined the basic 4X gameplay loop into an easy-to-learn package that is suitable for quick play sessions and binge gaming alike. There's no diplomatic or cultural victories in the game, and support cards replace the complex research and tech trees in most 4X games. Amass an armada, subjugate weaker races, and get eaten by giant space sharks over the course of your average lunch break. Deep Rock Galactic Ghost Ship Games $24.99 I'm going to round out today's article with a pair of promising Early Access games. Deep Rock Galactic is a co-op shooter where four players control a squad of space dwarves mining procedurally generated underground caverns for precious metals and gems. Each player takes on a unique role to help the team, like the defensive Engineer, or the Scout that leads the way and gathers information on upcoming areas. Environments are fully destructible, with the Driller class being built around carving paths through rock walls. Deep Rock Galactic is still pretty early in development, so be aware that there isn't a ton of content in the game just yet. It's also on the Xbox Preview service and the Humble Store. Ion Maiden Voidpoint, LLC $19.99 Finally we come to Ion Maiden, an old school-inspired shooter published by 3D Realms. What sets Ion Maiden apart from the numerous other '90s-style nostalgia shooters is that it's actually made in an updated version of the Build engine that spawned Duke Nukem 3D, Blood, and Shadow Warrior. This results in a game that nails the look and feel of a classic shooter, but takes advantage of new advances in technology with larger, more complex levels and higher resolutions. Like Deep Rock Galactic, Ion Maiden is still early in development, so don't expect much more than a tech demo at this point. There's still plenty of releases I haven't got to yet, so I'll be back soon. Which of these games are you excited about?
  8. Pictured above: Abandon Ship This week wasn't nearly as busy as the last few, but I still managed to find some interesting games to highlight, including a few Early Access titles. As always, I'm not here to personally recommend any of these games; I'm just highlighting some recent releases that you may have missed. Remember to check out reviews and videos to find more information on each game. Usurper Steve Gal $9.99 Usurper is a 2D Metroidvania, and the standalone sequel to the developer's previous game, Shrouded in Sanity. Late 19th century London has been invaded by hordes of otherworldly abominations from the mysterious Citadel, and it's your job to lead a team ascending the structure to discover its purpose. The game's combat system revolves around the Guard mechanic. You can regenerate Guard by successfully dodging incoming attacks, which then converts the potential damage into a shield that protects you from future attacks. You can tweak a few settings for extra challenge, including permadeath, one-hit death, or speedrun mode. Orwell: Ignorance is Strength Osmotic Studios $9.99 Ignorance is Strength is the second episode in Osmotic's Orwell series of "surveillance thrillers." Much like the previous game, Ignorance is Strength places you in the role of a government agent for the Orwell Program, an intelligence division tasked with using the country's most advanced surveillance technology to spy on "undesirable" members of society. This time around you'll be surveying a group of agitators and conspiracy theorists that are responsible for stirring civil unrest throughout the country and in neighboring nations. Gather information by scouring social media, listening in on private conversations, and hacking into computers and accounts. You can also find both Orwell games on GOG and the Humble Store. YUMENIKKI -DREAM DIARY- Kadokawa Corporation, Active Gaming Media $19.99 -DREAM DIARY- is a complete reimagining of the Japanese RPG Maker cult classic Yume Nikki, which finally came to Steam last month. This new installment remakes the original in a new 3D engine, and includes new gameplay mechanics inspired by more recent indie adventures. Explore six surreal dream worlds and encounter new areas and characters that didn't make it into the original. The user reviews seem fairly divided so far due to the new mechanics and various bugs, so keep that in mind before deciding to purchase -DREAM DIARY-. Dungreed Team Horay $9.99 Dungreed is a 2D dungeon crawling roguelite that takes some obvious inspiration from Rogue Legacy. Explore a constantly shifting dungeon in order to save the town above it from destruction. Permanently increase your stats through training to better prepare you for the dungeon's traps and monsters. Rebuild and improve the town using the resources you find in the dungeon to give you an edge before each adventure. Them's Fightin' Herds Mane6, Inc $14.99 Them's Fightin' Herds was born after the My Little Pony fan game Fighting is Magic received a cease and desist from Hasbro, and it recently hit Early Access after around five years of development. The game features the same basic setup as Fighting is Magic, but with a new cast of more copyright-friendly characters. The game currently features competitive online multiplayer, an arcade mode, and a cooperative PVE mode. An episodic story will be gradually released after the game exits Early Access. Owners of Blazblue Centralfiction, Skullgirls Second Encore, and Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 will gain access to bonus cosmetic content, with Skullgirls owners also getting a discount on Steam. You can find Them's Fightin' Herds on the Humble Store as well. Abandon Ship Fireblade Software $19.99 Another interesting Early Access game that came out this week is Abandon Ship. Become the captain of a ship and her crew in a fantastical Age of Sail-inspired setting where all the deep sea monsters from a sailor's worst nightmare are real. Explore a procedurally generated ocean full of quests, random events, marauding pirates, and trade vessels to loot and plunder. Death is permanent, but there is always the chance to escape certain doom in a lifeboat or by being swept ashore, giving you another chance to start from scratch. The game is expected to be completely finished in nine months to a year from now, and you can find the game on the Humble Store in addition to Steam. All Walls Must Fall inbetweengames $9.99 Finally we come to All Walls Must Fall, a tactical roguelite that just released from Early Access. The game is set in a cyberpunk version of 2089 Berlin where the Cold War never ended. A rogue nuclear strike has shattered the fragile peace between the superpowers, and you are a secret agent that has been sent back in time to discover who is behind the attack and figure out how to prevent it. The game features a blend of real-time and simultaneous turn-based combat, with fully destructible environments that are hand-crafted, but procedurally rearranged each time you play. Experiment by jumping back and forth through a time loop to manipulate the past and future. Which of these games caught your attention?
  9. Pictured above: Hacktag We had another surprisingly busy week of new indie releases, so many that I'll have to come back in a few days with a bonus article. As always, I'm not here to personally recommend any of these games; I'm just highlighting some recent releases that you may have missed. Remember to check out reviews and videos to find more information on each game. Octogeddon All Yes Good $12.88 Octogeddon is a two-button shoot 'em up made by some of the original developers of Plants vs Zombies. You play as a rampaging octopus bent on punishing humanity for eating his fellow cephalopods. The gameplay involves attaching animal-based weapons to your tentacles, then rotating your octopus to direct your attacks at incoming enemies or blocking projectiles. Buy new weapons during your campaign with coins, then use shells you've collected at the end of your run to unlock new items that can appear in future missions. Crossing Souls Fourattic $14.99 Crossing Souls is a retro-inspired adventure game published by Devolver Digital. Set in California in 1986, a group of five friends have their summer turned on its head when they discover a mysterious pink stone that grants them the ability to travel to another realm. They soon find themselves wrapped up in a government conspiracy, and must use their unique skills to fight enemies and solve puzzles. You can also find Crossing Souls on the Humble Store, GOG, and PS4, with a Vita version coming soon. Swaps and Traps TeamTrap $9.99 Swaps and Traps is a puzzle-platformer with a really unique gimmick. Each deathtrap-laden puzzle takes place on a single screen, and the objective is to collect all the keys. The gimmick that makes Swaps and Traps special is that each time you grab a key, a portion of the screen flips in some bizarre way. The level becomes increasingly jumbled as you collect keys, forcing you to relearn its set-up on the fly. DYO Team DYO $11.99 DYO takes a similar approach to puzzles as Swaps and Traps, but with a co-op element. Two minotaurs are trapped in different halves of a split screen, and will have to work together to shift the screen around to open up paths for each other. There's 30 labyrinthine levels in all, which the developer says equals out to around four hours of content. The game is designed in such a way that you can technically play it solo by controlling both characters, but it was obviously built with co-op in mind. Hacktag Piece of Cake Studios $19.99 Speaking of co-op games, Hacktag is a stealth game set in a high-tech world of anthropomorphic animals. Players control mercenaries working for different corporations on stealth espionage missions for the highest bidder. One player is a field agent that sneaks around an isometric map, while the other is a hacker that supports them by unlocking doors and infiltrating computer systems. This asymmetric approach extends to the story, where each player gets their own narrative with different NPCs. You can play it alone like with DYO, but you'd be missing out on a big part of the experience. Dead Maze Atelier 801 Free-to-play Dead Maze is a 2D MMO set during a zombie apocalypse. Work together with other players to restore civilization by scavenging for resources, food, and water. Craft hundreds of different items and weapons, including modular player housing. Plant seeds to raise crops and breed livestock to build your own little self-sufficient oasis in a dangerous world. Fossil Hunters Reptoid Games $14.99 Create your own dinosaurs in Fossil Hunters, a paleontology-themed puzzle adventure game. Choose one of four fossil hunters and dig through underground levels to find fossil tiles. Connect the tiles together to create complete skeletons and further your scientific research. Join forces with your friends to create the ultimate dinosaur skeleton, or betray them at the last minute and hog all the glory for yourself. You can also find Fossil Hunters on the PS4, Switch, and Xbox One. Deep Sixed LRDGames $12.99 Finally we come to Deep Sixed, a new space exploration roguelite. You are a prisoner unwillingly working off the rest of your sentence as an interstellar cartographer exploring the far reaches of uncharted space. Chart new regions and try to survive the many unknown alien creatures you are bound to encounter on your journey. Manage disasters as parts of your rickety old starship break down through battle damage or old age. These parts will stay broken until you can figure out how to repair them using whatever scraps you can piece together. Which of these games caught your attention?
  10. The indie developer 10tons Ltd has created dozens of games over the years, but their twin stick shooters are what always gain the most attention. Of these shooters, Neon Chrome and Crimsonland are easily the most well-known. Crimsonland in particular has built up quite the cult following since its initial release in 2003, and subsequent rerelease in 2014. For their latest twin stick shooter, Tesla vs Lovecraft, 10tons has returned to the formula that made them moderately famous in the first place. The result is a game that may be a bit lacking in content compared to their previous titles, but makes up for it with more refined core mechanics. The game starts out with Lovecraft interrupting Tesla while he is showing off some of his electrical wonders to the general populace. Lovecraft fears Tesla's technology, and warns that it will upset the natural order. When Tesla fails to heed his warning, Lovecraft uses his arcane tomes to unleash eldritch horrors upon the city of Arkham, destroying Tesla's lab and stealing some of his technology in the process. How summoning ancient gods is any less dangerous than electricity is never fully explained, but ultimately what little exposition the game provides is merely an excuse to use lighting guns and death rays to wipe out hordes of freaky fish people and flying tumors with teeth. The game's main campaign presents you with a map of Arkham that contains a little over 30 levels, each of which can be beaten in about two or three minutes, assuming you don't die. Missions really don't have any objective beyond surviving against hundreds of enemies and destroying Cthulhu statues whenever they appear. Much like in most arcade-style shooters, power-ups will randomly drop as you play, and you can increase the frequency of them by killing large groups of enemies at once. Power-ups come in four types: Weapons, Abilities, Supplies, and Perks. Weapons are fairly self-explanatory. You start each level with a pitifully underpowered pistol that you'll want to ditch as soon as you can. The game's arsenal ranges from period weapons like revolvers and Tommy Guns, to the wacky pseudoscience that you'd expect from a game about Tesla. There's only nine guns in the game, which is a fairly significant reduction from Crimsonland. The weapon types are also fairly limited, with four of those guns being some form of shotgun, and three of them being assault rifle-style automatics. The only two that can't be described as a shotgun or automatic rifle are the revolver and ball lightning gun, and sadly those are very underwhelming compared to the rest of the choices available to you. Luckily, your weapons are supplemented with Abilities. These are effectively sub weapons with limited charges, and they are much more varied than the standard weapons. Some examples include stationary Tesla Coil turrets, ethereal disks that ricochet off terrain, a pulse of eldritch fire, and a scattershot of lightning bolts. There's about a dozen of them in all, and they periodically spawn around the map just like any other power-up. They typically have six charges by default, but there are ways to increase that number. Supplies are another type of power-up you'll encounter, and they are just consumables that do something once picked up. The most common of them are health packs, shields that give you invulnerability for a few seconds, and experience doublers. Arguably the most useful of them is the nuke, which does exactly what you imagine it does. The final type of power-up are the Perks. These function exactly like the perks in Crimsonland, and many of them are even tweaked versions of perks from that game. You fill an experience bar as you kill enemies, and each time you level up you are presented with a choice of two perks. These are passive abilities that give you a small boost. Outside of the bullet ricochet perk, many of them are percentage-based buffs that stack on top of each other. Getting two 20% extra damage perks will give you 40% extra damage total, two extra projectile perks gives you two extra shots per trigger pull, etc. Combining different perks together can have some extremely satisfying results, such as extra projectiles and bullet ricochet with just about any shotgun. There's some epic perks too, and they are always a significant boost. Tesla vs Lovecraft plays a lot like Crimsonland, which is why I keep referencing it. It may have a more refined campaign mode and some tweaks here and there, but fans of 10tons' previous cult hit will feel right at home. Two of the most significant tweaks are the personal teleporter and Tesla Mech. The teleporter comes with three charges that gradually regenerate while not in use, and it allows you to quickly blink out of dire situations that would normally result in your untimely demise. The teleporter makes Tesla vs Lovecraft feel faster and more mobile than other 10tons games, which is a big plus in my opinion. The Tesla Mech acts like a super mode. Mech parts spawn on the map like any other power-up, and once you've collected six of them, you can press the E key to call down your stompy iron companion. Equipped with dual miniguns and a personal teleporter that causes damage to enemies, the Tesla Mech turns all but the toughest enemies into a fine, gory mist. It's perhaps the most fun part of the entire game, and it lasts just long enough to give you an edge, but not so long that it becomes boring to use. The game's campaign is divided into three Planes, each of which have around 31 to 33 missions. The Normal Plane is where you start, and mainly acts as a tutorial to prepare you for Ethereal and Eldritch. During the Normal Plane, every level you complete gives you access to new power-ups. Normal took me about two hours to complete, and outside of a handful of levels, it's not especially challenging. Ethereal and Eldritch are remixed versions of the same levels, but feature tougher and more numerous enemies. This is where Tesla vs Lovecraft's overarching progression system comes in, called Inventions. These are permanent upgrades that are purchased with Ether Crystals, and most of them have multiple tier levels. These Ether Crystals are collected by killing enemies, completing daily quests, and once you get to the Ethereal Plane, they'll spawn during levels. Most of the Inventions are quite expensive, and you'll probably only be able to afford one or two by the time you complete Normal. Inventions include increasing the duration of the Tesla Mech, giving you more teleport charges, higher chance of epic perk drops, etc. They might be fairly minor individually, but really add up after a while. Trust me, you will need all the help you can get by the time you reach Eldritch. The Ethereal and Eldritch Planes are the source of most of my complaints about Tesla vs Lovecraft, and based on the Steam forums, I'm not alone here. Simply put, the second two planes rely way too much on lucky power-ups to get anywhere. You don't realize just how pathetic the pistol is until you hit Ethereal and face significantly tougher enemies. You start each level inside your mech, but enemy spawns are fairly sporadic until after you leave it. Then it's a mad dash to the nearest weapon pick up and a lot of praying that some decent power-ups follow soon after. Even with the teleporter, it can be hard to kite enemies effectively because they tend to spawn all over the place. Many levels are also packed with dead ends and choke points. The Docks in particular get complained about a lot on the forums, even after several patches that tweaked the level. On the bright side, the developers are very receptive to feedback and have been releasing new patches on a weekly basis since release. One example of this was a patch last week that honestly broke the game for me. They decided that the ability to adjust camera distance made the game too easy and less fun, so they removed it. The problem is that the default camera is pulled in way too close. You have very little time to react to enemy hordes, and you'll frequently get ambushed by enemies you didn't see coming. The low FOV personally made me feel physically ill as well. I brought this up in the forums and the developer chatted with me and some other players over it. After just a few days, they reversed this decision and brought back the adjustable camera. These are the signs of a developer that truly cares about their game and audience, and it makes me confident that the issues Tesla vs Lovecraft have will eventually be fixed. Tesla vs Lovecraft isn't a massive leap forward in the realm of twin stick shooters, but it is a solid game that succeeds at what it sets out to do. There's a few underwhelming weapons and abilities, but most of them are fun to use, and the Tesla Mech is a magnificent power fantasy that doesn't overstay its welcome. In many ways, it's an improvement over Crimsonland. The introduction of the personal teleporter makes the game feel faster, and it gives you more options in combat. There are actual levels with terrain and scenery in them, and the enemies are far more visually interesting and coherent than Crimsonland's random collection of lizard people and spiders. Besides the harsh difficulty spikes and occasionally poorly designed level in Ethereal and Eldritch, the only other real complaints I have about Tesla vs Lovecraft are the lack of weapon variety and the unpleasant grind that is upgrading your Inventions. With a bit more content and some tweaks here and there, I can see Tesla vs Lovecraft being a twin stick shooter I return to every now and then for a few rounds of the endless survival mode. It's well worth checking out if you are a fan of the genre, especially if you've liked 10tons' games in the past. You can currently find it on Steam for $14.99.
  11. Pictured above: Break Arts II We had another surprisingly busy week of new indie releases, so much so that I may have to come back in a few days with a bonus article. I'm not here to personally recommend any of these games, just highlight some recent releases that you may have missed. Remember to check out reviews and videos to find more information about each game. Treasure Adventure World Robit Games $9.99 Treasure Adventure World is a complete HD remake of an old freeware game called Treasure Adventure Game that was released in 2011. Join Peep, his talking parrot Whydah, and their magical vessel The Glooskap on an exotic adventure through 16 tropical islands full of puzzles and treasure in this colorful 2D Metroidvania. This overhaul is so dramatic that Treasure Adventure World is barely the same game anymore, and features new hand-drawn HD graphics, more levels, enemies, and bosses, an expanded story, and a completely new game engine. You can also buy it on GOG and the Humble Store. Wartile Playwood Project $19.99 Wartile is a turn-based strategy game that recently released from Early Access that is designed to emulate campaign-driven tabletop miniature games. Create your warband of Viking miniatures and fight across tile-based battlefields inspired by Norse mythology. In addition to the miniatures, you'll also be collecting and customizing a deck of battle cards that can improve your warriors and hinder your enemies. Wartile is also available on the Humble Store. Remnants of Naezith Tolga Ay $9.99 Remnants of Naezith is a fast-paced grappling hook precision platformer built with speedrunners in mind. Swing your way through 80 branching levels as Kayra, a human that has been enhanced by the abilities of Naezith, an ancient thunder dragon that had his body shattered into fragments that were spread across the world. The game's physics engine is based around momentum, with well-timed swings allowing you to build up immense amounts of speed. Compete with other players in the global speedrun rankings, race player ghosts, and create and share custom levels with the game's built-in editor. Break Arts II MercuryStudio $14.99 Break Arts II is a high-speed, mecha-based combat racing game that recently made its way to Steam courtesy of Playism. Originally released on iOS, this version includes improved graphics, new content, and a reworked control scheme. The biggest new addition is the greatly expanded mecha customization, to the point that building your mech arguably eclipses the actual racing. You can make pretty much anything you want, and this customization extends to animations and weapon designs. I've read that the actual combat racing is a bit underwhelming though, so keep that in mind before buying. Aegis Defenders GUTS Development $19.99 Aegis Defenders is a game I recently became aware of after getting a coupon code for owning Iconoclasts. This 2D platformer is an odd blend of Metroidvania-style adventure with tower defense combat. Establish defensive positions against waves of enemies with your team of four Ruinhunters, each of which has their own set of passive abilities and gadgets. Level up your weapons and fuse them to make new items with different properties to suit each situation. Swap between characters on the fly, or bring along a friend to help you in split-screen co-op. You can also find Aegis Defenders on the Humble Store, PS4, and Switch. Attack of the Earthlings Team Junkfish $24.99 Attack of the Earthlings is a turn-based strategy game where you get to play as the hungry body-snatching aliens for once. The intergalactic energy megacorp Galactoil has made the mistake of trying to strip mine Planet X13. You play as the insectoid inhabitants of the planet on a mission to drive away Galactoil by eating all of their workers. Sneak through ventilation shafts to grab your prey by surprise and set up ambushes for corporate marines. Gather corpses to feed your young, allowing them to mutate into new subspecies to fulfill different combat roles. Planetoid Pioneers Data Realms $19.99 Planetoid Pioneers is the latest game from the developers of Cortex Command, and it just recently exited Early Access. The game markets itself as a "Physicsvania," which is a fancy way of saying that it's a 2D exploration game with intentionally wonky physics. Craft weapons and items, fight enemies, and get your legs blown off by a trap you failed to notice. A big part of the game involves building your own levels, vehicles, characters, and enemies with the game's powerful built-in editor and sharing them online. There's co-op as well, but unfortunately its limited to split-screen only. Planetoid Pioneers is also available on the Humble Store. Dandara Long Hat House $14.99 Finally we come to Dandara, yet another 2D pixel art Metroidvania that came out this week. The most noteworthy feature of Dandara is it's fast-paced, gravity-defying mechanics that will have you leaping between floors, walls, and ceilings in rooms full of rotating platformers and bizarre architecture. The game's controls were built specifically with touch screens in mind, but will work just as well with a more traditional input device. Dandara is also on the Humble Store, iOS, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One. Which of these games caught your attention?
  12. Pictured above: Tangledeep January is normally a pretty slow month for new releases, but this week was an exception. While we saw great titles like Iconoclasts, Subnautica, and Celeste released so far this year, the last few days were probably the busiest so far this year in terms of the volume of promising new releases. I'm not here to personally recommend any of them, just highlight some recent games you might have missed. Remember to check out reviews and videos to find more information about each game. Strikers Edge Fun Punch Games $14.99 Strikers Edge is a medieval "dodgebrawl" game, where the competitors are various ancient warrior archetypes, and the "balls" are spears, arrows, and throwing daggers. Choose one of eight strikers with unique weapons and abilities in 1v1 or 2v2 online and local multiplayer. Each character also has their own single player campaign, where you can learn about their backstory and how to use their abilities before heading online. Streamers will probably be excited about the Twitch integration that allows viewers to become members of the in-game crowd and vote on match modifiers. You can also find Strikers Edge on the Humble Store and PS4. Avernum 3: Ruined World Spiderweb Software $19.99 Ruined World is the remake of Avernum 3, the final chapter in Spiderweb's first Avernum trilogy. While the story remains largely the same as the original, Ruined World features some additional content, reworked UI and mechanics, and updated visuals, though the game still looks intentionally ancient. Your millage may vary on the redone mechanics, however; I've seen some older Spiderweb fans complain that Ruined World is more watered down than the original. Both versions of Avernum 3 are also on Spiderweb's website, GOG, and the Humble Store. Elementium Ignite Studio $14.99 The official description for Elementium is brief, uninspired, and overall poorly conveyed, but the trailer was intriguing enough that I felt like I had to highlight it here. It looks like your standard Portal clone at first, but then you notice the perspective manipulation. The game's puzzles are based around optical illusions, with the example puzzle in the trailer involving making cubes grow and shrink by picking them up from different angles and distances. It looks like it could be a pretty clever puzzle game, though it's so obscure that finding reviews and third-party opinions is rather difficult. Wulverblade Fully Illustrated, Darkwind Media $14.99 Wulverblade is a stylized 2D brawler set during the Roman invasion of Britannia. Take on the Ninth Legion as one of three playable characters and rally the northern tribes to your cause. As with any good brawler, Wulverblade features two-player co-op, though unfortunately its limited to local multiplayer only. The game is also available on the PS4 and Xbox One. Candleman: The Complete Journey Spotlightor Interactive $14.99 Candleman is a puzzle platformer where you play as an enchanted candle exploring a dark-yet-whimsical fairytale world in search of the light. Your wick can only remain lit for around 10 seconds at a time, and the game's puzzles mainly revolve around using your flame to light objects and manipulate shadows. Candleman is available on the Xbox One as well. Violet Cycle Weckr Industries $9.99 Violet Cycle describes itself as a "hyperkinetic, neopoly roguecade action game." In practical terms, it's an isometric roguelite brawler with procedurally generated levels that emphasize aerial combos, environmental destruction, and slamming enemies off floating islands. Find new power-ups and weapons between levels to help you reach the peak of the mysterious Tower Garden and uncover the truth of what happened to your world. Tangledeep Impact Gameworks $14.99 Tangledeep is a 16-bit roguelike RPG that recently exited Early Access. Explore a mix of procedurally generated environments and handcrafted levels as you battle monsters and discover new loot. Choose from 12 different jobs with over 100 skills divided between them. Improve your gear by entering challenging "Item Dream" mini-dungeons. You can even capture and raise monsters, then breed them to create even more powerful pets. If you aren't a fan of roguelikes then you can play the Adventure Mode instead, which reduces the game's difficulty somewhat by removing permadeath. Tangledeep is also on GOG. Delver Priority Interrupt $14.99 Finally we come to Delver, another roguelite dungeon crawler that just released from Early Access. Inspired by first-person action RPGs from the '90s, Delver is a pixelated adventure that promises to focus more on personal skill than grinding to victory. You can also find Delver on Android, if you somehow find playing a game like this with touch controls appealing. Which of these games caught your attention?
  13. January has been a pretty slow month for new releases, but that doesn't mean the rest of the year will be. Picking up where my previous two articles left off, here's 20 more indie games to keep an eye out for throughout 2018. Phoenix Point (PC) Snapshot Games Q4 2018 Phoenix Point is a spiritual successor to the X-COM franchise by its original creator, Julian Gollop. In 2057, humanity is on the verge of extinction following an invasion by alien sea creatures that have been able to adapt to everything the world governments have thrown at them. You are the leader of the Phoenix Project, a secretive organization dedicated to driving the aliens off the planet and bringing order back to humanity. The Bard's Tale IV (PC) inXile TBA 2018 Originally Kickstarted in the summer of 2015, the next game by Brian Fargo's inXile is a sequel to another beloved CRPG franchise that has been nearly forgotten. Explore a whimsical fantasy world with your party of adventurers and use a variety of lyrical powers to solve puzzles and interact with the environment. Descent: Underground (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Descendent Studios Fall 2018 Another old franchise getting a reboot this year is the classic 6 Degrees of Freedom shooter, Descent. This prequel has been in Early Access since 2015, but the developers ran into financial trouble late last year and had the beta pulled from sale. They have since made a deal with the company Little Orbit to wrap up development, so hopefully everything turns out fine when the game finally releases later this year. Overload (PC) Revival Productions, LLC Q1 2018 Descendent Studios might have the rights to the Descent license right now, but Revival Productions is making their own spiritual successor to the franchise. Created by several key developers of the original Descent games, Overload has been in Early Access since March of last year. The single player campaign is supposed to be done in a few months, with a free multiplayer mode coming in the second half of 2018. Wargroove (PC, Switch, Xbox One, PS4) Chucklefish TBA 2018 Wargroove is what happens when a small group of indie developers decide that the world needs a new Advance Wars game and aren't prepared to wait around for Nintendo to fill that void. It's being made by the team behind Starbound, so it has a pretty good pedigree backing it. There's apparently some crossover with Starbound as well, though we'll have to wait until Wargroove releases to know the whole story. Treasure Adventure World (PC) Robit Games February 7th, 2018 Another upcoming game by Chucklefish, though this time from the publishing side, is the 2D puzzle-platformer Treasure Adventure World. Set sail and explore a magical archipelago as a young boy and his pet parrot. Treasure Adventure World is due to release next week, so you won't have to wait very long to play it. Into the Breach (PC) Subset Games Early 2018 Into the Breach is the next game by the developers of FTL. It has roguelite elements like their previous game, but this time around it's a turn-based strategy game where you assemble a squad of mechs to defend cities from giant alien bugs. There isn't a solid release date yet, but according to the developers its "about 90% done." In other words, we might get to play it in five years. Way of the Passive Fist (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Household Games Inc Early 2018 Befitting its puntastic name, Way of the Passive Fist is a unique "defensive" brawler inspired by '90s arcade fighters. Instead of directly fighting your enemies with punches and kicks, Passive Fist is about dodging, parrying, and otherwise outlasting your enemies in a battle of endurance. Surviving Mars (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Haemimont Games Spring 2018 From the developers of Tropico comes Surviving Mars, a city building game set on the titular Red Planet. Establish a colony on the Martian surface as you brave inhospitable conditions and meteor showers. Research new technologies and slowly turn your budding outpost into a thriving, self-sufficient metropolis. Agony (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Madmind Studio March 30th, 2018 Agony is a survival horror game where you play as a tormented soul trying to claw your way out of Hell. Sneak past demons and horrific environmental hazards on your quest to find the Red Goddess. Scorn (PC) Ebb Software October 2018 While on the subject of nightmarish survival horror games with revolting imagery, Scorn is due out in the latter half of 2018. Unlike Agony, Scorn gives you access to some grisly weaponry, though ammo management plays a large role in the game's combat encounters. Ooblets (PC, Xbox One) Glumberland TBA 2018 Moving away from the body horror for now, Ooblets is a colorful blend of life management, farming sim, and creature trainer. Plant seeds that will grow into magical creatures called ooblets, then raise and train them to compete against rival tamers in turn-based battles. Mulaka (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) Lienzo Early 2018 Mulaka is a 3D adventure game inspired by the culture and folklore of the Tarahumara people of northwestern Mexico. Gain powers from ancient demigods and become a legendary Tarahumara shaman on your quest to defeat a foul corruption spreading across the land. The Church in the Darkness (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Paranoid Productions TBA 2018 Inspired by the events of Jonestown in the late '70s, The Church in the Darkness is a procedurally generated stealth game about infiltrating a fanatical cult in South America. Sneak into the Freedom Town complex to save your nephew by any means necessary, but be aware that all of your actions have consequences. No Truce With The Furies (PC) ZA/UM TBA 2018 No Truce With The Furies is a mixture of cop procedural and isometric CRPG. Explore the city of Revachol as a disgraced detective, facing enemies both real and imagined. Delve into your own thoughts to overcome emotional trauma and unhealthy obsessions. Phantom Doctrine (PC) CreativeForge Games TBA 2018 Phantom Doctrine is an XCOM-style turn-based tactical espionage game set during an alternate history 1980s. Uncover a global conspiracy at the height of the Cold War as either a KGB counterintelligence operative or a CIA assassin. Recruit operatives, smuggle weapons, and build contacts between missions to expand your global operations. Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark 6 Eyes Studio TBA 2018 Fell Seal is a turn-based tactical RPG inspired by the Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre franchises. Battle monsters and pass judgment on the wicked as an Arbiter, the mortal agents of the godlike Immortals. Build your band of Arbiters with over 20 character classes, 200 abilities, and hundreds of pieces of gear and equipment. Tower of Time (PC) Event Horizon March 2018 Tower of Time is a real-time tactical RPG that has been in Early Access since July, and the developers expect the game to be finished in a few months. The game is aimed more towards MOBA players, and has a large focus on skill shots and spells that need to be "drawn" with the mouse curser. There is also an Arrow-Time mechanic in the combat system that allows you to slow (but not stop) time to queue up orders. Yoku's Island Express (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) Villa Gorilla Winter 2018 Yoku's Island Express is an open world...pinball metroidvania? You play as the new postman of Mokumana, a dung beetle named Yoku. Navigation involves pinball-style mechanics like hitting levers and bumpers, and there are some parts where you just straight-up play a game of pinball to get past obstacles. It's an odd combination, and the game is supposed to be coming out pretty soon. Moonlighter (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) Digital Sun Early 2018 Finally we come to Moonlighter, an action RPG and shop management game. You play as Will, a humble shopkeeper with a craving for adventure. Manage your shop during the day, then explore dungeons at night on your quest for fame and fortune. Even after three articles, I've barely scratched the surface of promising indie games coming our way in 2018. Be sure to keep an eye out for these titles as they release throughout the year.
  14. Pictured above: Railway Empire We had another pretty slow week due to the Q1 release slump, but I still managed to find a few interesting new releases. As always, I'm not here to give personal recommendations, just highlight some recent games you might have missed. Remember to check out reviews and videos to find more information on each game. The Red Strings Club Deconstructeam $14.99 The Red Strings Club is a narrative cyberpunk adventure, and the latest indie game published by Devolver Digital. The "altruistic" Supercontinent Ltd is about to release its Social Psyche Welfare program, which the company claims will eliminate depression, anger, and other negative emotions from society. Uncover the truth as a freelance hacker by extracting information from unsuspecting corporate employees via mini-games that include bartending, genetic implant pottery, and phone impersonations. The Red Strings Club is also on the Humble Store and GOG. Super Slime Arena JellyTeam $14.99 Super Slime Arena is a 16-bit party game where everyone plays as an adorable slime monster. There's 35 playable slimes, and each one has a single hit point and a unique way of attacking. The most noteworthy features of Super Slime Arena are the player count and input devices. The game promises that you can use pretty much any controller you can think of, and there's no hard limit on the number of players per match. If you want to get a room of 50 people together with a random assortment of retro controllers and flight sticks then you can do it, as bizarre and chaotic as that might sound. Just be aware that Super Slime Arena has no single player to speak of, and it's too obscure to have a real online community. Railway Empire Gaming Minds Studios $49.99 Establish a thriving railroad tycoon during the Golden Age of American expansion in Railway Empire. Build a vast rail network from one coast to the other in a campaign that stretches from the 1830s to the 20th century. Transport passengers and goods on 40 historically accurate locomotives and develop over 300 new technologies to streamline your operations. Sabotage rival railway companies with spies and bandits to maintain industry dominance. Railway Empire is also on GOG, the Humble Store, PS4, and Xbox One. Still Not Dead Greg Sergeant $9.99 Still Not Dead is an FPS roguelite inspired by Doom that recently released from Early Access. Slash and shoot your way through six procedurally generated stages of Hell while being chased by Death. Choose Blessings or Curses between stages to improve your character and customize your playstyle. Unlock Skill Skulls as you complete runs to tweak the game's difficulty for an even greater challenge. Legrand Legacy: Tale of the Fatebounds Semisoft $24.99 Finally we come to Legrand Legacy, an RPG that markets itself as a love letter to classic JRPGs from the PS1/PS2 era. Explore the fantasy world of Legrand and bring peace to the land as the Fatebounds. In addition to old school-inspired JRPG combat, Legrand Legacy also features turn-based tactical battles where you control the military might of an entire nation against rival kingdoms. Recruit craftsmen and restore the city of Dumville to unlock side quests, mini-games, and vendors. Legrand Legacy is also on GOG and the Humble Store. It'll be making its way to the Switch sometime later this year, with PS4 and Xbox One versions coming in 2019. Which of these games are you interested in?
  15. Pictured above: Celeste Last week was a bit of a wasteland for new releases, even by the usual Q1 release drought standards. Instead, I decided to combine a few releases from last week with the minor tidal wave we are going to be hit with over the next few days. Since several of these games come out next week, my caveat about this not being a recommendation list applies even more than usual. Make sure you check out user reviews and videos for more information about each game. Nantucket Picaresque Studio $17.99 Nantucket is a narrative-focused strategy and management game set during the Golden Age of America's whaling industry. Set a few years after Herman Melville's classic novel, Nantucket places you in control of a whaling vessel and her crew on a quest to hunt down the legendary Moby Dick. Hunt whales and fend off pirates in a turn-based combat system as you sail across the high seas. Complete jobs to raise your prestige in the whaling industry, and upgrade your equipment to tackle larger operations. You can also find Nantucket on the Humble Store and GOG. Damsel Screwtape Studios $9.99 Damsel is a 2D action platformer that recently hit Early Access. You play as Damsel, a secret government agent tasked with hunting down vampires. Use a variety of movement tricks to quickly dash around levels and chain together kills for the best high score. The game currently features 25 missions in both the campaign and arcade modes, roughly a third of the content that will be in the full game. The developers expect the game to be in Early Access for about four months, and the current $10 price tag is a 50% discount off the game's final projected price range. Subnautica Unknown Worlds Entertainment $24.99 (Price may increase) After being in Early Access for a little over three years, the deep sea survival game Subnautica is finally getting its 1.0 release on the 23rd. Freely explore the oceans of an alien world as the lone survivor of a starship crash. Harvest resources so you can craft underwater dwellings, submersibles, and other equipment to fend off the world's aquatic predators. Uncover the secrets of the planet's abandoned structures and eventually find a way to escape your watery prison. Subnautica is also on the Humble Store, with PS4 and Xbox One versions coming soon. Iconoclasts Joakim Sandberg $19.99 Iconoclasts is a 2D action puzzle-platformer that has been in development by one person for around seven years now, and will be coming out the same day as Subnautica. You play as Robin, a renegade mechanic in a world where operating without a license is a severe crime. After escaping the wrath of Mother for her sins, Robin has embarked on a journey to fix her broken world and the people she cares about. Solve intricate puzzles, meet a colorful cast of characters, and overcome 20 massive boss fights. Iconoclasts will also be available on GOG, PS4, and Vita. Tesla vs Lovecraft 10tons Ltd $14.99 Tesla vs Lovecraft is the latest top-down twin stick shooter from the developers of the cult indie hits Crimsonland and Neon Chrome. Fight hordes of eldritch horrors as the famous eccentric inventor after they have been unleashed upon our world by H.P. Lovecraft's occult tomes. Use an arsenal of steampunk weapons like death rays, Quantum Teleportation Backpacks, and the gigantic Tesla-Mech. Other platforms you can find Tesla vs Lovecraft on include the PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. Celeste Matt Makes Games Inc $19.99 Finally, we come to the latest game by the developers behind TowerFall. Celeste is a 2D platformer about a young girl named Madeline trying to reach the top of the deadly Celeste Mountain on a personal journey of self-improvement. The game is bound to scratch anyone's itch for tight, brutal platformers with its simple and precise controls that you'll need to master if you hope to overcome the mountain's countless deathtraps. Celeste will also be on the PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. Which of these games are you excited to play?
  16. Pictured above: Full Metal Furies We're in the Q1 post-holiday slump, so new releases are still pretty sparse. Even so, I did manage to find a few interesting titles, and have decided to start covering Early Access games if they have a decent foundation already going for them. I'm not personally recommending any games on this list, just highlighting some recent releases that look promising. Make sure you read user reviews and search for videos to find out more about each game. Bravium INGAME $14.99 Bravium is one of those "hero defense" games you often see on mobile. It's not a genre I normally pay attention to, but this one looks fairly polished and has some nice visuals. Defend against hordes of monsters as either a Barbarian or Sorceress, both of which have their own set of upgradable skills and items. While Bravium is free-to-play on mobile, the PC version has been stripped of the usual grind, timers, and microtransactions in favor of a flat $15 price tag. Fallen Legion+ YummyYummyTummy, MintSphere $29.99 Fallen Legion+ is a compilation of two RPGs, Sins of an Empire and Flames of Rebellion, that are designed as companion games set in the same fantasy world. The first game places you in the role of Princess Cecille as she works to restore her crumbling homeland, while the second game follows Legatus on his quest to overthrow the empire and claim the throne for himself. The combat is in real time, and takes a lot of inspiration from the JRPG classic Valkyrie Profile. Both games were originally released on the PS4 and Vita, and there is a Switch port in the works as well. Yume Nikki Kikiyama Free Yume Nikki is a surreal Japanese adventure game that released way back in 2004. Thanks to the folks over at Playism, this cult classic has finally made its way to Steam, and just in time for the announcement of a new game called Yume Nikki: Dream Diary. Yume Nikki is one of the original walking sims, and allows you to explore twisted (and somewhat disturbing) dream worlds at your own pace as you try to decipher their meaning. Rusty Lake Paradise Rusty Lake $3.99 Paradise is the latest installment in the ongoing Rusty Lake series of psychological horror point-and-click adventures. You play as Jakob, the oldest son of the Eilander family, who has recently returned to the island of Paradise after his mother's sudden and mysterious death. The island has been cursed by the Ten Plagues, and it's up to you to unravel your mother's secrets and dispel the plagues by performing arcane family rituals. Paradise, along with the previous two premium Rusty Lake games, is also available on mobile. Full Metal Furies Cellar Door Games $19.99 Full Metal Furies is a co-op focused action RPG, and the latest game by the developers of Rogue Legacy. The game features four unique characters with upgradable skill trees and swappable special abilities. Enemies are protected by color-coded barriers that can only be destroyed by characters of the same color, forcing players to coordinate and combo their attacks to beat each encounter. While there is a solo mode where you can switch between characters on the fly, Full Metal Furies was designed from the ground up to be a co-op games, so keep that in mind before making a purchase. Full Metal Furies is also on the Xbox One and Humble Store. DUSK David Szymanski $20 DUSK is a fast arena FPS inspired by '90s classics like Quake and Blood. DUSK goes all the way in its quest to replicate the old school shooter experience by using blocky, low resolution graphics. The current Early Access build features the first 2/3rds of the single player campaign and the beta version of DUSKWORLD, the game's online multiplayer mode. DUSK is expected to be done in a few months, and will include three endless arenas and mod tools in addition to the full campaign and multiplayer. Forged Battalion Petroglyph $19.99 Finally we come to Forged Battalion, a new RTS by Petroglyph Games. This studio of ex-Westwood developers are once again trying to create a true successor to the Command & Conquer legacy, and Forged Battalion features many mechanics that will be familiar to fans of that franchise. The standout feature of Forged Battalion are the customizable units and structures. The metagame tech tree allows you to research new upgrades to further tweak your ever-evolving faction and their arsenal. The Early Access version currently includes the first of four story campaign acts, five maps for multiplayer and skirmish mode, and two game types. Forged Battalion is set to be in Early Access around six months. Which of these games caught your attention?
  17. Despite all the great games that have come out of Early Access over the years, this is still an industry trend I normally avoid. I know I'm not alone on this either, as any given Early Access game's forum usually has half a dozen topics per month asking when the full release is expected to come out. No one wants to buy a game in Early Access and get a repeat of DayZ, a title that has been available for four years with no final release in sight. Even when it comes to genuinely good Early Access games, there is always the chance of getting burned out before it's done. All in all, it's generally best to wait for an Early Access game to leave beta before buying it, and based on their development roadmaps, the following 20 games will be crossing the finish line in 2018. Midair Archetype Studios Midair is a fast and brutal jetpack shooter with an emphasis on Capture the Flag, and it's probably the closest we'll get to a new Tribes game since Hi-Rez abandoned Ascend. The game originally hit Early Access on August 5th of last year, and the final product should be ready Q1 2018. CrossCode Radical Fish Games Originally released on May 15th, 2015, CrossCode is a retro-inspired action RPG that promises around 60 hours of content once complete. The developers are shooting for an early 2018 launch date. Subnautica Unknown Worlds Entertainment This underwater exploration and survival game from the Natural Selection team has been in development longer than most of the games on this list. It originally launched at the end of 2014, but the devs finally have a concrete release date of January 23rd. Ghost of a Tale SeithCG Ghost of a Tale is a Redwall-inspired stealth action RPG developed primarily by a single veteran animator from DreamWorks. The game was successfully crowdfunded in 2013, and hit Early Access in the summer of 2016. After many delays, Ghost of a Tale is currently set for a March 2018 release. They Are Billions Numantian Games This post-apocalyptic steampunk city building RTS is a fairly recent Early Access release, and has been consistently trending on Steam since it came out in mid-December. The campaign mode is supposed to be finished sometime in spring 2018. Northgard Shiro Games Northgard is an empire management RTS set in a world inspired by Norse mythology, though its much closer to Civilization than it is StarCraft. It's made a lot of progress since launching in February 2017, and the developers expect it to be done sometime before March. For The King IronOak Games Released in early 2017, For The King is a rogue-lite strategy RPG that is designed to replicate popular adventure board games. Players move their character around procedurally generated hex-based boards, and combat plays out in turn-based, JRPG-style battles. There's no full release date set just yet, but hopefully it'll be finished before the end of the year. Sunless Skies Failbetter Games The successor to Sunless Sea, Sunless Skies is a "literary RPG" where you explore the bizarre floating islands of the Fallen London world. Based on the current development roadmap, we'll probably be seeing a full release in the latter half of 2018. Oxygen Not Included Klei Entertainment Klei has a long history of using Early Access to improve their games based on player feedback, and their space colony sim Oxygen Not Included is no exception. There isn't a final release date yet, but we can expect tons of new features and content throughout 2018. Dead Cells Motion Twin Dead Cells is a "rogue-lite Metroidvania," and many of my friends have been raving about how spectacular it already is. The game is a fairly complete package from what I hear, with most of the current development consisting of bug fixes and trying out new ideas before the full release. Slay the Spire Mega Crit Games Slay the Spire is another rogue-lite many of my friends are currently obsessing over, and features combat based around building a deck of cards as you explore the titular Spire. It hit Early Access in mid-November, and the devs expect the game to be finished in around eight months. Deep Sky Derelicts Snowhound Games Deep Sky Derelicts is a card-driven rogue-lite that, coincidentally, hit Early Access the same day as Slay the Spire. This one is party-based, and is set in a sci-fi universe where you assemble a gang of rogues and ruffians. The developers expect the game to leave Early Access in March. Space Tyrant Blue Wizard Digital Space Tyrant is a bite-sized 4X inspired by pulp sci-fi comics and cartoons, except this time around you get to be the evil intergalactic warlord. It's being made by ex-PopCap developers, and should be leaving Early Access later this year. City of Brass Uppercut Games Bring salvation to a cursed city in this Arabian Nights-inspired first-person rogue-lite. City of Brass entered Early Access back in September, and the updates have stayed fairly frequent as far as I can tell. Uppercut Games expects that City of Brass will be in Early Access for less than a year. Tannenberg Blackmill Games Created by the developers of Verdun, Tannenberg transports players to the Eastern Front of WWI. The final product will even allow you to swap between the two titles in-game. Tannenberg was largely feature complete when it hit Early Access in November, and should be done soon. Door Kickers: Action Squad KillHouse Games A spin-off of KillHouse's tactical SWAT strategy game, Action Squad is a side-scrolling shooter focused on co-op where players are tasked with rescuing hostages, disarming bombs, and taking down terrorists. Despite hitting Early Access only a few months back, KillHouse expects the game to be done before July. Pit People The Behemoth Pit People is The Behemoth's current project, and it's a turn-based tactics game set in a comedic post-apocalyptic world. You can play it alone, but it was built with co-op in mind, much like their previous games. Based on their development roadmap, we should be seeing a full release in the first half of 2018. The Vagrant O.T.K Games This is a title I just recently stumbled across when doing research for this article, and it looks pretty solid. The Vagrant is a side-scrolling action RPG where you play as a buxom rogue fighting her way through a fantasy world. The developers are shooting for a February or March release date. All Walls Must Fall inbetweengames All Walls Must Fall is a tactical, simultaneous turn rogue-lite set in an alternate 2089 Berlin where the Cold War never ended. The campaign will probably take you less than two hours to complete, but the game was built with branching paths and replayability in mind. All Walls Must Fall is supposed to be leaving Early Access Q1 2018. Book of Demons Thing Trunk Finally we come to Book of Demons, a hack and slash RPG with card-based abilities that seeks to distill the genre down to its most basic form. The developers intend to make this the first in their Return 2 Games line, a series of titles inspired by different classic PC games that deconstruct the original's genre. Book of Demons should be out sometime in the latter half of 2018. There's still a near-countless number of Early Access games out there, many of which may or may not get a full release in 2018. This list doesn't even include all the other original indie games we have to look forward to this year, some of which I covered in another article. I hope you're ready to expand your backlog, because 2018 is going to feature a plethora of new games to play.
  18. Now that we are nearly two weeks into a new year, it's time to look ahead at the games we'll get a chance to play over the next 12 months. Last year was brutal for anyone covering (not to mention buying) indie games, with wall-to-wall new releases almost every month. I can already tell 2018 will be no different. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but here's 20 indie games to keep an eye out for in 2018. Iconoclasts (PC, PS4, Vita) Joakim Sandberg January 23rd, 2018 Our first game on the list is one that you don't need to wait very long to play. This action-platformer has been in development for seven years, largely by a single person. Play as the renegade mechanic Robin on this story-driven epic to repair a dying world, and the people that call it home. Warhammer: Vermintide 2 (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Fatshark Q1 2018 The sequel to Fatshark's visceral Skaven murder simulator is just around the corner. Vermintide 2 will feature deeper character customization and a new threat in the form of the Warriors of Chaos and their demonic overlords. If you preorder the sequel right now, you'll get access to the beta and a free piece of DLC for the original game. Kingdom Come: Deliverance (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Warhorse Studios February 13th, 2018 It's been a while since the historically accurate medieval sandbox RPG Kingdom Come was successfully funded on Kickstarter, but the final release is nearly upon us. Explore the massive Kingdom of Bohemia as you fight to repel an invading army and get revenge on the man that killed your family. Frostpunk (PC) 11 Bit Studios TBA The developers of This War of Mine have a new game in the works called Frostpunk. Like This War of Mine, Frostpunk is a survival game, except this time around it's about trying to manage an entire society on the brink of collapse. Make difficult choices to ensure your city survives another year in a frozen wasteland. Griftlands (PC) Klei Entertainment Q1 2018 Griftlands is a 2D open-world RPG by Klei Entertainment, a personal favorite of mine when it comes to awesome indie developers. Build a gang and make your fortune in a lawless society where anything and everything can be bought for the right price. Klei has another game you should keep an eye on called Oxygen Not Included, which is currently in Early Access. Death's Gambit (PC, PS4) White Rabbit TBA Adult Swim Games has developed a reputation for publishing rock-hard, retro-inspired indie games, and Death's Gambit looks to be more of their usual fare. You play as an agent of Death, executing your master's will as you slaughter all manner of beasts and monsters in a primitive, medieval world. Insert cliché comparisons to Dark Souls here. System Shock (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Night Dive Studios Q2 2018 Long before BioShock was even an idea, System Shock was one of the franchises everyone thought about when it came to FPS/RPG hybrids. Following the release of System Shock Enhanced Edition and a successful Kickstarter campaign, developer Night Dive Studios started work on a complete reimagining of the original game. Hopefully we'll be seeing the fruits of their labor before the second half of 2018. Underworld Ascendant (PC) OtherSide Entertainment TBA System Shock isn't the only classic first-person RPG franchise getting a new game this year. The Ultima Underworld series returns under the name Underworld Ascendant. Delve into the Stygian Abyss once again in this non-linear RPG that emphasizes player choice and emergent gameplay. Aquanox: Deep Descent (PC) Digital Arrow TBA Continuing the trend of classic franchises being reborn in 2018, the six degrees of freedom shooter Aquanox is getting rebooted sometime this year, thanks to a successful Kickstarter and the help of THQ Nordic. Customize your submarine and send your enemies' bullet-riddled corpses to the depths of an uncaring, dystopian ocean. Indivisible (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch) Lab Zero Games Fall 2018 Originally crowdfunded back in late 2015, Lab Zero's RPG Indivisible is due to release sometime later this year. The game features their signature hand-drawn animation, an active combat system, and action-platforming elements that play a role in dungeon exploration. The game already had a pretty solid foundation in the 2015 prototype, so I'm looking forward to seeing the final result. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (PC) Obsidian Entertainment TBA The sequel to Obsidian's old-school RPG hit Pillars of Eternity is set to release sometime this year, though we don't have an exact date yet. The action this time around moves to the dangerous Deadfire Archipelago, as your party pursues a rogue god. Befitting the new tropical island setting, players will be given command of their own customizable ship that acts as both a means of travel and a home base. Children of Morta (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Dead Mage TBA Children of Morta is a story-driven action rogue-lite about the Bergson family. Not only will you be doing plenty of dungeon-crawling and monster-slaying (with optional co-op), but you'll also have to manage and care for your family back at their estate between adventures. Gunhead (PC) Alientrap TBA Cryptark was one of my favorite sleeper hits of 2017, and Alientrap already has a sequel lined up. Gunhead follows the same basic gameplay loop of raiding heavily-armed space hulks for artifacts and resources, but switches the perspective from a 2D twin stick shooter to a fast, old school-inspired FPS. Wytchwood (PC) Alientrap TBA Alientrap is going to have a busy 2018, because they plan on releasing a second game this year, called Wytchwood. This crafting adventure places you in the shoes of the mysterious old witch of the woods, in a fantasy world inspired by ancient pagan fables and fairytales. Gather herbs, brew magical potions, and pass judgment on the nearby townsfolk. Industries of Titan (PC) Brace Yourself Games TBA The developers of Crypt of the Necrodancer are back with a new game that is quite the departure from their hit rhythm rogue-like. Industries of Titan is a city building and management sim set in a dystopian cyberpunk future. Build a thriving industrial metropolis on Saturn's moon, Titan. Design warships and amass your own private armada to protect your assets from rival corporations. MOTHERGUNSHIP (PC, PS4, Xbox One) Terrible Posture Games TBA MOTHERGUNSHIP is the spiritual successor to Terrible Posture's bullet hell FPS rogue-lite, Tower of Guns. MOTHERGUNSHIP promises to keep the core gameplay formula of Tower of Guns intact, but will add the ability to design your own arsenal of insane and over-the-top weaponry. Hellmut: The Badass from Hell (PC) Volcanic Winter 2018 Hellmut is an upcoming bullet hell rogue-lite about slaughtering hordes of demons with absurd guns and abilities. The key feature of the game is the Transformation mechanic, which allows you to polymorph into different characters with unique attacks. Preordering the game on GOG gives you instant access to the current beta build. Tunic (PC) Andrew Shouldice TBA Tunic is an adorable isometric Zelda-like adventure game where you play as a tunic-wearing fox boy. Explore a massive low-poly world full of intricate puzzles and dangerous foes. The developers eventually want to bring Tunic over to consoles, but no systems or release dates have been specified. The Last Night (PC, Xbox One) Odd Tales TBA If you watched the Microsoft E3 conference last year, you probably remember this gorgeous 2.5D narrative platformer. The Last Night quickly became one of the most talked about surprise reveals at E3 2017, and hopefully we don't have to wait long until we get a chance to immerse ourselves in it's pixilated cyberpunk world. BattleTech (PC) Harebrained Schemes Early 2018 Finally we come to BattleTech, the triumphant return of turn-based mech combat in FASA's classic tabletop universe. I didn't have a chance to back the original Kickstarter, but this is probably one of my top three most anticipated games of 2018. We can only hope that it's inevitable success results in a revival of BattleTech and MechWarrior games. This is but a small taste of the games we have to look forward to in the coming year. Hopefully they all meet or exceed our expectations, and may 2018 be another awesome year for unique and interesting indie games.
  19. Pitcured above: Post Human W.A.R It's been a few weeks, but I'm finally back with the first batch of recent indie releases for 2018. We are currently in the post-holidays slump where barely anything gets released, but I still managed to find a few games worth mentioning. These titles all came out in mid-to-late December, and its possible you missed them during the excitement over the largest Steam sale of the year. I can't personally speak for the quality of any of these games, so make sure you read some reviews before making a decision. Gorogoa Buried Signal $14.99 Gorogoa is a relaxing puzzle game with some beautifully hand-drawn and animated artwork. The game's entire premise is based around combining a series of images together in creative ways to discover the solution, and you'll often be forced to zoom in or out to find obscure details hidden in plain sight. A few of my friends have played it and thought it was a really satisfying and Zen-like experience, but please be aware that the puzzles aren't particularly difficult and you'll probably beat the game within an hour. Also available on GOG, iOS, and the Switch. Finding Paradise Freebird Games $9.99 Finding Paradise is the first full sequel to the hit narrative adventure To the Moon. Join doctors Rosalene and Watts on another operation to alter a bedridden patient's memories so they can experience their dying wish. As with the previous title, Finding Paradise is a narrative adventure with very little in terms of gameplay, and it'll only take you around five hours to get to the credits. You can also find the game on GOG and the Humble Store. Rumu Robot Horse $19.99 Continuing this week's trend of narrative games, Rumu is an isometric point and click puzzle adventure where you play as a robot vacuum cleaner. That may not seem very exciting, but the game takes place in a fully automated, futuristic smart home with a mystery that needs solving. As you go about your daily cleaning routine, you'll get a chance to interact with the home's other semi-intelligent smart devices and Sabrina, the house's AI companion. Everything seems normal and mundane in the life of a robot vacuum until you accidentally uncover the dark secrets of your elusive family, and begin the path to sentience as you question your programming. Post Human W.A.R Studio Chahut $14.99 Finally we come to Post Human W.A.R, the only game on today's list that isn't some sort of puzzle or narrative adventure. This turn-based strategy game is set in a comedic and lighthearted future long after humanity has nuked itself into oblivion. Three factions vie for power, including mutated wildlife, sentient apes, and repurposed cleaning robots from before the fall of the human race. Before each battle, you'll get a chance to recruit your force and secretly nominate a unit to be your champion. The goal of each battle is to figure out who the enemy champion is and kill them. Post Human W.A.R features a campaign and local and online multiplayer. You can also find the game on the Humble Store. Which of these games caught your attention?
  20. Pictured above: Vermintide Another wallet-crushing Steam Winter Sale is upon us. Gamers across the globe are currently filling their libraries with cheap games that they'll probably never even install. As usual, I'd like to take a moment to highlight some good deals you may have missed. I could be here forever listing awesome Steam deals, but I decided to limit it to 10 games I personally love that are under $10. Grim Dawn $7.49 (70% off) Grim Dawn was one of my favorite games from last year. Hell, the recent expansion has ensured that its one of my favorite games this year as well. Grim Dawn is one of the best paid action RPGs currently on the market, and it's exactly what disenfranchised Diablo fans are longing for. While the expansion and DLC packs are only mildly discounted, the base game is currently the cheapest I've ever seen it. That's still enough content to last you hundreds of hours, especially when you consider the sheer amount of character build possibilities due to dual classes and the Constellation system. If that's not enough hack 'n slash action for you, the remastered version of Titan Quest is also deeply discounted if you want to check out the developer's previous work. Impossible Creatures $2.49 (75% off) Before such massive hits as Homeworld 2, Dawn of War, and Company of Heroes, Relic made a fairly obscure little RTS called Impossible Creatures. This oddball game from 2003 was largely forgotten to the passage of time, until it was unexpectedly re-released and updated to run on modern systems a few years back. What made this RTS unique was that instead of controlling armies of tanks and infantry like its contemporaries, you crafted your own units by splicing together various animals. With over 50 animals to choose from, the list of possible combinations was pretty extensive, and the inclusion of Steam Workshop support only ensures that there's more to come. It might not be the best game Relic has ever made, but it's still worth checking out at the current sale price. Speaking of which, Relic's more fondly-remembered titles are all heavily discounted as well. Chroma Squad $3.74 (75% off) Chroma Squad is a turn-based tactics game with light management elements that perfectly encapsulates the inherently goofy nature of Power Rangers, and the Tokusatsu genre as a whole. After being fired by an unpleasable director, a stunt team decides to create their own costumed superhero TV series. Starting with a budget that consists of painted cardboard boxes, Chroma Squad allows you to reenact your Power Ranger dreams with flashy combination attacks, transformation sequences, and mecha battle minigames. Greater than the sum of its parts, Chroma Squad combines serviceable management with some solid turn-based battles to make a charming game that will entertain anyone that grew up watching the shows it parodies. Divinity: Dragon Commander $3.99 (90% off) Speaking of games that are greater than the sum of their parts, Larian's Dragon Commander is ridiculously cheap right now. Dragon Commander was developed as a little side game to hold people over until Original Sin came out, but it's pretty decent in its own right. It tries to do way too much at once between turn-based empire management, RPG-style conversations and negotiations, massive RTS battles, and third-person aerial combat. It might not excel in any one area, with the RTS segments being particularly shoddy, but Dragon Commander as a whole still manages to come together to form a fairly enjoyable game. Admittedly, your enjoyment of the game will still ultimately come down to how willing you are to look past some pretty rough mechanics here and there. Dungeon of the Endless $4.07 (66% off) Dungeon of the Endless is another stopgap title that was designed to satisfy fans between games. Released in the lead-up to Endless Legend, Dungeon of the Endless is a strange combination of dungeon crawler and tower defense roguelite that connects the two Endless franchises together. You control a small crew of survivors that have crashed on a savage and primitive world. Explore procedurally generated dungeons with your party of heroes, then set them up in defensive positions to protect your core from waves of enemies. As with any roguelite, death is permanent and you'll unlock a steady stream of new characters and ships as you progress through the game. All the rest of the Endless games are discounted as well, including 50% off of Endless Space 2. Bleed $0.99 (80% off) Bleed is one of the small handful of games I'd actually recommend from the 360's old XBLIG section. It came out on PC a while back, and the sequel launched earlier this year. Bleed is all about replicating the fast and stylish action you'd see in a Tarantino film, and it largely succeeds in being a challenging and enjoyable shooter. It's not a very long game, but it's fun while it lasts, and at the current price, it's definitely worth giving a try. There's a combo pack available that includes both games for $6.78, though I can't personally say anything about the sequel. Warhammer: The End Times- Vermintide $7.49 (75% off) With the recent announcement of 2 million units sold and a sequel coming next year, now's the perfect time to try out the original Vermintide at a really cheap price. Vermintide follows the same basic formula as Left 4 Dead, but with a greater emphasis on melee combat and objectives. Vermintide is perhaps my favorite horde-based co-op game, and in my opinion, the multiple classes and loot system give it more replayability than many of the titles that inspired it. While the combat system is fairly simple, the crunchy sound assets, meaty physics, and sheer number of Skaven on-screen at once makes it some of the most satisfying first-person melee combat you'll ever experience. The game is best enjoyed with friends, but there's still enough people playing that you shouldn't have a hard time finding games through the matchmaking system. SteamWorld Heist $4.49 (70% off) Image & Form is best known for the SteamWorld Dig games, but I personally enjoy SteamWorld Heist more. Set in the same universe, Heist trades the digging and platforming for turn-based 2D piracy with an emphasis on trickshots. Board unsuspecting cargo ships with your party of upgradable steam-power robots, take every valuable that isn't nailed down, and escape before things get too hectic. Combat plays out a lot like Worms. You take turns moving your characters around, but have to manually aim all your weapons and gadgets. This is where the trickshots come from, as a big part of the combat involves ricocheting bullets off walls to hit enemies behind cover. The other SteamWorld games are discounted too, including 35% off the relatively new SteamWorld Dig 2. Cryptark $5.24 (65% off) Cryptark released from Early Access back in June, and this is the biggest discount I've seen for it. This 2D shooter combines careful planning and management with hectic and challenging combat. You are a hardsuit pilot for a salvage company that has been hired by a shady corporation to retrieve priceless artifacts from derelict alien space hulks. Your operations are on a tight budget, with razor-thin profit margins and the constant threat of bankruptcy looming over you. Risk and reward is a huge part of Cryptark, and this is reinforced in every aspect of the game. Armor plates, ammo, gadgets, everything has to be bought before a mission, and you have the option to risk bringing less supplies to improve your profits. Likewise, you can play it safe and stick to your primary mission, or explore the space hulks more thoroughly to get secondary objectives and salvage additional equipment. Alientrap's previous games are also really cheap, and I'd personally recommend grabbing their Collection Bundle for $11.66 to get Apotheon and Capsized. Aztez $7.99 (60% off) Finally we come to Aztez, another recent release that came out over the summer. While this 2D brawler isn't as ludicrously cheap as the other games on my list, I'm including it here because it's a damn fine game that was totally overlooked by gamers and the media. Your goal in Aztez is to unite the Aztec cities in preparation for a coming calamity that has been foreseen by the Empire's mystics. You do this by choosing missions on a map in a turn-based empire management screen, then slaughtering your enemies in brutal real-time combat. The brawling in this game is extremely complex, with tons of options that higher level fighting game fans will appreciate. There's only a handful of weapons to choose from, but each one is drastically different and the game is built around switching weapons mid-attack to keep your combo going. The actual empire management is the game's weakest point, but the combat more than makes up for it. Which of these deals caught your attention?
  21. I'll admit that I've never been a fan of visual novels. I have nothing against them; it just isn't a genre I'm interested in. That said, MangaGamer's announcement a while back that their upcoming Steam release of Kindred Spirits on the Roof would be uncensored caught my attention. While larger games like The Witcher have been able to slip by on Steam and consoles with their sexual content intact, it's no secret that visual novels and dating sims have had a much more difficult time, with HuniePop being a fairly notable example. While Kindred Spirit's sexual content is much more tame than some other visual novels out there, this is still a pretty big departure from Valve's usual stance. I sat down with John Pickett from MangaGamer for an interview about Kindred Spirit's Steam release and sexual content on Steam in general. Warning: some of the links in this article are NSFW. Me: I'd like to start with an introduction. Tell us a little about yourself and MangaGamer. John Pickett: Gladly. My name is John Pickett (though I go as Kouryuu online), and I work as the Head Translator and PR Director for MangaGamer. Our company, MangaGamer, is a coalition founded by several Japanese developers of visual novels who wanted to expand and cultivate the market for visual novels here in the West. We strive to showcase the diversity that visual novels can offer as a medium by localizing a wide variety of titles that range the full breadth of storytelling genres and offer different elements for different people to enjoy. Me: So what is Kindred Spirits on the Roof about? What's the game like and what can people expect from it? John: Kindred Spirits is a lighthearted story following Yuna as she acts as a "yuri cupid" for two ghosts who haunt her all-girls school. The ghosts have watched many girls graduate with unrequited feelings for other students, and now with Yuna's help they can finally give those girls some encouragement. Initially reluctant, Yuna eventually embraces her role as yuri cupid as she helps the game's wide cast of couples develop their relationships. Players can expect the game to explore a variety of relationships: some start as friends or as one-sided crushes or as couples who have been dating for a few years already. The game strikes a good balance between realism and playful fun, treating the girls' situations with respect and never falling into the unfortunate trope of the tragic lesbian couple doomed never to be together. Me: I'm not sure if you can really answer this, but how in the world did you manage to get an uncensored erotic visual novel on Steam when so many other devs had to censor their games? John: Well, let’s be clear - it is uncut, though it would be hard to describe Kindred Spirits as erotic or even adult entertainment. A lot of it has to do with the exact nature of the content in Kindred Spirits. All of the more intimate scenes are more internally focused on the characters’ emotions rather than the physical action between partners. In terms of visual depiction, most of the scenes merely include some nudity. Of course, there’s no explicit penetration described in the text of Kindred Spirits’ scenes. Each of the couples in Kindred Spirits confirms each other’s consent multiple times in each scene. For all of these reasons, we speculate that Valve decided that the scenes in Kindred Spirits did not constitute explicit adult content; a decision we whole-heartedly agree with - that's why we recommended it for the user base on Steam! Me: In your opinion, do you think the reason why Valve is allowing Kindred Spirits onto Steam unedited is because it isn't as explicit as some of the other games from MangaGamer? Do you think things would be different if Kindred Spirits featured straight or yaoi sex scenes? John: I would say that’s definitely the case. Titles like our upcoming release of euphoria or Beat Blades Haruka contain very explicit sex scenes and are clearly targeted toward mature adults. We would never recommend those titles to Steam or any other retail platform that caters to a significant number of minors in their audience. When working with Valve, we always take their audience into consideration before making our suggestions. We’re fairly happy with these arrangements too, since it gives us a niche which we can really stand out in, and lets us help provide services that meet the needs of developers around the world, who otherwise might not find a place in the English market. That being said, in my personal opinion, I believe it’s reasonable to observe that Valve might allow straight or yaoi scenes which are presented just as tastefully and discreetly as Kindred Spirits does with its scenes. Me: What has the community and media response to Kindred Spirits being allowed on Steam unedited been like thus far? John: A lot of the media has definitely run with the idea that it’s “explicit XXX sex on Steam,” causing a lot of outcry and excitement somewhat dishonestly. Though, I think what we're seeing is a good commentary on the future of gaming as the generation that grew up with video games gets older, and their tastes grow more diverse. From what we’ve seen, the community and player response on the other hand has been overwhelmingly positive. So many fans are excited to be seeing strides made toward progress on free storytelling in the video game medium, so many fans are excited to be seeing lesbian couples given a decent representation on a mainstream platform, and so many fans are excited to see more games coming to Steam. The community has definitely been very positive, supportive, and uplifting with regards to this endeavor. It makes us realize yet again just how much fans love the possibilities these games present, and encourages everyone on our team to keep giving 120%. Me: How do you feel about MangaGamer and Kindred Spirits potentially paving the way for more uncensored visual novels and dating sims on Steam? John: We think it’s still too early to say just what the future may hold in store, but we’re certainly excited and optimistic. It’s nice to see sexual content gaining more mainstream acceptance and recognition as a valuable part of artistic expression. The more people are free to tell the stories they want to share with the world, the better off we all are as a society. Our company philosophy has always been that, and that's why our store offers uncensored content for all of our games whenever available. I think you can see that more recent releases have more lax restrictions definitely compared to a few years ago, and our relationship with Valve is much stronger now because of that. Our account manager in particular, has been especially kind-hearted and understanding. Me: On a somewhat related note, assuming things go smoothly with the Steam release of Kindred Spirits, can we expect to see more titles from MangaGamer getting Steam releases? John: Absolutely. Valve has been and continues to be a wonderful partner for us. Kindred Spirits was a fortuitous opportunity that arose as part of our current efforts to expand the content we’re able to offer the market; but we’ll also be releasing a host of works in the coming quarter. We hope that the market on Steam and our platform really enjoy the our new releases of such as Himawari, MYTH, Shadows of Pygmalion, and Umineko. In 2016, we’ll most likely be releasing both an adult and an all-ages version of Princess Evangile W Happiness, with the all-ages version being available on Steam while we sell the adult version on our website. Me: Are there any tips you'd like to share with other developers hoping to get romantic visual novels/dating sims on Steam, unedited or otherwise? John: Well, one of our biggest tips is probably a reminder that we offer our own website to interested developers as a retail platform for selling the uncut, unedited adult versions of various games. We’ve already worked with several developers and games such as HuniePot’s HuniePop, Lupiesoft’s The Menagerie, and Unwonted Studios’ No One But You (Coming Soon). We work hard to help ensure developers have a place to sell their games as intended, so they don’t have to compromise on their creative design. Publishing can be a rough business—we highly encourage developers to approach us with the goals and ideas they have for their products if they think it fits our user base. We can offer much better assistance about which strategies work best for what developers want to create, and tailor it to the market they want to the best of our ability. So that’s the biggest tip we’d offer to anyone trying to figure out how to manage their publishing and release strategies. Me: Besides Kindred Spirits, what are some other upcoming games from MangaGamer? John: We’ve recently released our first yuri title on Steam, A Kiss for the Petals: Remembering How We Met, an all-ages title telling the romance between two young women. We’ve also just published Kara no Shojo 2, a mature murder-mystery set in 1950s Japan featuring interactive detective work such as examining crime scenes and piecing together clues to try and solve the murders. Our 2015 expansion for Go Go Nippon, which completely revamps the engine, resolution, sprites, and adds a lot of new features and CGs is already available as well. Coming up on Steam, we’ll soon be releasing Higurashi When They Cry: Watanagashi, the second chapter in the hit Higurashi series, and finishing work on Supipara from minori. We’re also looking to release euphoria later this month on our own website. Euphoria is a really exciting title we’ve been working on that focuses on psychological horror and pushes a lot of common boundaries, so we hope people will see past its shock value to enjoy the deep story behind it all. Me: Thanks for your time! Kindred Spirits on the Roof will be coming out next year on Steam and MangaGamer. You can check out MangaGamer's current Steam releases here.
  22. Pictured above: Nine Parchments I'm back with another batch of recent indie and AA releases that may have slipped past your radar. I'm not personally recommending any of these games- I'm just highlighting some new releases that stood out from the crowd and haven't received a lot of media attention. Make sure you read user reviews and search YouTube to find more information on each game. SpellForce 3 Grimlore Games, THQ Nordic $49.99 The acclaimed SpellForce series of RTS/RPG hybrids returns with a new installment. Set before the original game, the world is in chaos following the Crown's victory over the mage rebellion that led to the aptly-named Mage Wars. The charismatic leader of the Purity of Light, named Rondar Lacaine, has triggered a chain of events that could plunge the realm into even more anarchy as he launches a crusade to rid the world of all mages. Build your party of heroes across a fully-voiced, 30+ hour campaign that blends elements of RPG-style character progression with base construction, army building, and massive battles. I played the beta and felt that the game had potential, but it was extremely buggy, and from what I've read, that hasn't changed much in the full release. In fact, I encountered a game-breaking bug that made me unable to progress in a campaign mission due to a strangely specific scripting error, and I wasn't the only person this happened to. SpellForce 3 is also available on GOG and the Humble Store, though you may want to wait until a few patches have been released. Shadowhand Grey Alien Games $14.99 Shadowhand is a turn-based RPG that uses a solitaire-style card battle system. Set in 18th Century England, you play as Lady Cornelia Darkmoor, a young aristocrat that spends her nights terrorizing the populace as the infamous highwaywoman, Shadowhand. After fleeing a crime scene one night, Cornelia accidentally stumbles upon a massive conspiracy that can threaten both of her personas and the people she holds dear. Customize your character across 150 levels by acquiring new weapons, gear, and cards. You can also find Shadowhand on the Humble Store and GOG. Nine Parchments Frozenbyte $19.99 Nine Parchments is the latest fantastical adventure from the developers of the Trine series. Built with co-op in mind, players control a band of runaway apprentices that hope to accelerate their arcane training by hunting down the legendary Nine Parchments. Taking a few cues from Magicka, this top-down spell-slinger features friendly fire and chaotic magical attacks that are just as likely to wipe out friend and foe alike. Customize your apprentice with new gear, spells, and skills as you level up, and unlock new characters throughout your quest. You can also buy Nine Parchments on GOG, the Humble Store, and the Switch, with PS4 and Xbox One versions coming soon. Reigns: Her Majesty Nerial, Synaptic Insight Technology Systems $2.99 Reigns: Her Majesty is the standalone follow-up to last year's bizarre hybrid of Tinder and a choose your own adventure game. As with the original, your goal is to survive as long as possible as the ruler of a kingdom full of people that want to kill you. Swipe left or right when presented with a decision and hope it doesn't lead to you dying a hilariously tragic death somewhere down the road. As the name implies, this time around you get to play as a queen, but this gender swap isn't the only new addition to the series. Her Majesty has also reworked the inventory system, and added new Royal Challenges that allow you to unlock new cards by hitting specific goals. While the game works just fine on PC, I'd actually recommend grabbing it on iOS instead, due to the simple control scheme and gameplay structure that allows you to play in short, bite-sized chunks. Opus Magnum Zachtronics $19.99 Finally we come to Opus Magnum, the latest brain-melting, open-ended puzzle game from the developers of SpaceChem and SHENZHEN I/O. Design, build, and program elaborate machines to craft potions, poisons, weapons, and precious metals as an acclaimed alchemist. Like with Zachtronics' previous games, none of the puzzles in Opus Magnum have a set solution, giving players the freedom to construct machines as simple or complex as they'd like to complete each task. Make your own puzzles with the game's built-in editor, and distribute them across the globe via the Steam Workshop. When alchemy becomes too stressful for you, try taking a break to play a few rounds of Sigmar's Garden, a solitaire-style minigame. Also available on the Humble Store. Which of these games grabbed your attention?
  23. Pictured above: Cobalt WASD I'm back with another batch of recent indie and AA releases that may have slipped under your radar. I'm not here to personally recommend any of these games- I'm just highlighting some new releases that stood out from the crowd and haven't received a lot of media attention. Make sure you read user reviews and search YouTube to find more information on each game. Seven: The Days Long Gone Fool's Theory $29.99 First up this week is Seven, an isometric stealth sandbox RPG that you've probably seen some banner ads for over the past few weeks. You play as Teriel, a master thief that finds himself on a one-way trip to the infamous island prison of Peh after a daring heist goes horribly wrong. Sneak, stab, and steal your way across an open world full of suspicious characters, rival factions, and monstrous fauna. One of the main highlights of Seven is its advanced movement and parkour system, with multi-tiered, vertical environments that you'd normally find in a third-person action game. Most of the reviews I've seen have been generally positive, with many of the complaints focused on bugs and a camera that occasionally gets confused by the game's elaborate level designs. You can also find Seven on GOG and the Humble Store. Warbanners Crasleen Games $19.99 Warbanners is a turn-based strategy RPG that harkens back to old hex-based war games like Fantasy General and Panzer General. Recruit and manage a company of mercenaries across a 42 mission story campaign. Hire support staff that work behind the scenes to keep your army in top shape and sow discord among the enemy. Use both mundane and magical means to manipulate the battlefield topography in your favor with trenches, barricades, bridges, and firestorms that burn enemy fortifications and forests. Dominions 5- Warriors of the Faith Illwinter Game Design $39.99 Dominions 5 is the latest entry in a long-running series of ridiculously deep fantasy 4X games that place you in control of a demigod with aspirations of world conquest. Decimate you rivals and claim godhood by amassing vast armies of loyal subjects, conquering new territories, and gathering a library of powerful spells and magical enchantments. The biggest new additions to the series are customizable blessings that you can bestow upon your followers and a complete overhaul of the combat system to make battles quicker and more streamlined. Whatever you do, don't immediately write off Dominions 5 based on its looks. The Dominions games might have some fairly hideous graphics and presentation, but if you can look past that you'll find a very deep and highly customizable franchise. Cattails Falcon Development $14.99 Cattails is an adorable sandbox RPG with light survival elements where you play as a feral cat. As far as I can tell, it's essentially what you'd get if someone made a cat sim version of Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing. Join (or fight against) one of three colonies of cats, each with a unique cast of characters to interact with. Fight off rival clans and claim new territory for your colony. Personalize your own den, find a mate, and raise a family of kittens that you can train to help out with daily tasks like hunting. Cattails is also on the Humble Store. Cobalt WASD Oxeye Game Studio $6.99 Finally we come to Cobalt WASD, a competitive 2D bomb defusal shooter. Two teams of four players take turns planting or defusing bombs over a series of rounds. Between rounds, players can spend money they earned in the previous round buying an arsenal of crazy weapons and gadgets, like stealth suits, time-slowing grenades, and teleporters. Cobalt WASD has mostly positive reviews on Steam thus far, but sadly it seems to be suffering from the usual problems many indie games have finding a player base. According to Steamcharts, the game peaked at 17 players today, and no one is currently playing, so make sure you can find a group to regularly play with before buying a copy. Cobalt WASD is also available on the Humble Store. Which of these games caught your attention?
  24. Pictured above: Battle Chef Brigade I'm back with another batch of recent indie and AA releases that may have slipped under your radar. I'm not here to personally recommend any of these games- I'm just highlighting some new releases that stood out from the crowd and haven't received a lot of media attention. Make sure you read user reviews and search YouTube to find more information on each game. Outcast- Second Contact Appeal $34.99 The grandfather of 3D open world adventure games returns in one of the most unexpected remakes of the last few years. The original Outcast was released in 1999, and despite its critical acclaim, only ever managed to gain a small cult following. The sequel was cancelled when the developers went bankrupt, but they managed to reacquire the IP several years back, resulting in the Outcast 1.1 HD remaster. Second Contact is a complete remake of the original game, with modern graphics, updated mechanics, and new content. Humanity has made contact with alien life, but this meeting has resulted in a cataclysm that could threaten Earth. You are Cutter Slade, a Navy SEAL sent to the planet Adelpha to prevent the coming apocalypse before it destroys both worlds. Explore a vast, open world with six continents populated by extraterrestrial life and advanced civilizations. Tackle missions with a mix of direct assaults, stealth, and your upgradable arsenal of weapons and gadgets. Second Contact is also on the Humble Store, PS4, and Xbox One. Titan Quest: Ragnarök Pieces Interactive, THQ Nordic $19.99 Another unexpected new release is Ragnarök, an expansion to Iron Lore's cult classic ARPG, Titan Quest. This expansion adds a fifth act that takes you throughout northern Europe, and features a ton of new enemies, bosses, and items inspired by Celtic and Norse mythology. Other new additions include an increased level cap and a 10th Mastery, the Runemaster. This warrior class fights with both traditional weapons and magical runes. There's some quality of life additions as well, including new shaders, improved UI, and expanded modding tools. This expansion requires the Anniversary Edition of Titan Quest, and can be found on GOG and the Humble Store. Dreamstones Windybeard $11.99 You've heard of match-3 RPGs, but what about a block-breaking RPG? Dreamstones takes the block-breaking arcade gameplay you'd expect from an Arkanoid or Breakout clone, but adds some RPG elements and a kingdom management metagame. Use skills and items to help you destroy blocks and fight monsters. Rebuild your kingdom between battles by constructing buildings that offer various buffs and services. Dreamstones features over 200 levels across five unique worlds. Battle Chef Brigade Trinket Studios $19.99 Battle Chef Brigade is another new game that blends genres in unique ways, in this case a 2D brawler and match-3 puzzler. The Battle Chef Brigade is an elite force that both protects and feeds the realm of Victusia by slaying monsters and turning them into delicious and exotic dishes. You play as Thrash and Mina, two chef trainees looking to fight and cook their way into the Brigade by impressing a panel of picky judges. Kill monsters and harvest them for ingredients in a brawler combat system, then combine those ingredients into dishes in a match-3 minigame. Compete in daily challenges for leaderboard fame and play the Puzzle Rush and Break the Dishes modes for a bit of extra cash. Battle Chef Brigade is also on the Humble Store, GOG, Switch, and PS4. Tower 57 Pixwerk $11.99 Lastly we come to Tower 57, a retro-inspired shooter that is finally out after a lengthy development cycle. Choose from one of six unique characters and shoot your way through the titular Tower 57 and its many traps, guards, and bosses. Amass an arsenal of upgradable weapons and bionic body parts to give yourself a fighting chance. While Tower 57 can be played solo, the game was built with co-op in mind, so make sure you bring a partner. Also available on GOG and the Humble Store, with a PS4 version coming sometime in the future. Which of these games caught your attention?
  25. Pictured above: Battlerite I'm back with another batch of recent indie and AA releases that may have slipped under your radar. I'm not here to personally recommend any of these games- I'm just highlighting some new releases that stood out from the crowd and haven't received a lot of media attention. Make sure you read user reviews and search YouTube to find more information on each game. Hand of Fate 2 Defiant Development $29.99 The unique card-driven/board game roguelite Hand of Fate returns with a vastly improved sequel. The core premise of Hand of Fate 2 remains the same, but features tons of new quests, challenges, items, and mechanics. Develop your character in a board game controlled by the mysterious Dealer by collecting cards that represent weapons, gear, and abilities. Recruit new allies that can aid you in battle or manipulate the board game's rules. Combat is where Hand of Fate 2 has changed the most, abandoning the rather weak Arkham-style system of the original in favor of more traditional hack and slash action combat. You can also find Hand of Fate 2 on GOG, Xbox One, and PS4. Space Pirates And Zombies 2 MinMax Games Ltd. $19.99 Space Pirates And Zombies is another cult hit indie title that had a sequel release this week, although its technically been out for over a year now via Early Access. Much like the original, SPAZ 2 allows you to explore a vast galaxy full of AI factions and rival captains that you can turn into enemies or allies. The events of the original game have decimated the galaxy's infrastructure, so resource management and scavenging play a larger role in the sequel. Much like Hand of Fate 2, SPAZ 2 has made rather drastic changes to the game's combat system, and has swapped the original's top-down view to a third-person perspective. Space Pirates And Zombies 2 is also available on GOG. Battlerite Stunlock Studios Free-to-play Battlerite is the latest game from the developers of Bloodline Champions, and just exited Early Access several days ago. Much like its predecessor, Battlerite distills the MOBA genre down to its most exciting part: The team fights. Matches are played in large arenas without minions, towers, or farming, and rounds usually take about two minutes. Besides some pre-game tweaking that allows you to customize your champion by choosing five cards, Battlerite is wholly focused on character knowledge, positioning, and team composition, with nearly every ability being a skill shot that needs to be aimed. As a free-to-play MOBA-style game, Battlerite is monetized via loot chests that contain vanity items and champions, along with a weekly hero rotation. Alternatively, you can spend $30 to unlock all current and future champions. Mutant Football League Digital Dreams Entertainment LLC $24.99 The classic Sega Genesis arcade football game Mutant League Football has been resurrected with modern mechanics and graphics with a spiritual successor made by the original's lead designer. In Mutant Football League, choose one of 18 teams made up of killer robots, alien monsters, and mutant freaks ready to (literally) smash the competition. Recruit All-Star players to give your team an edge on the trap-laden gridiron, and play dirty tricks like shotguns or chainsaws at the right moment to turn the game in your favor. Spintires: MudRunner Saber Interactive $29.99 Remember Spintires? It was an Early Access driving sim about using enormous all-terrain vehicles to navigate the muddiest "roads" you've ever seen. It gathered a sizeable following, but unfortunately development was permanently suspended after the one-man dev team was screwed over by a shady publisher. Luckily, Saber Interactive kept the rights to the IP and made a new deal with Focus Home Interactive. MudRunner is the ultimate version of Spintires, and features improved graphics and physics, new vehicles and environments, and full Steam Workshop support. You can also find MudRunners on the Humble Store, PS4, and Xbox One, though I hear that the console versions aren't particularly good. Heliborne JetCat Games $19.99 MudRunner isn't the only new release that recreates heavy equipment in near fetishistic detail. Heliborne is a helicopter combat game that lets players fly 40 of the most famous gunships from the 1950s to modern day. Relive historic battles from Vietnam, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and other conflicts in single player, co-op, and competitive multiplayer for up to 16 players. You can also find Heliborne on the Humble Store. Card Quest WinterSpring Games $9.99 Finally we come to Card Quest, a card-driven, dungeon-crawling RPG roguelite. Choose one of four classes, each of which has three specializations, and delve into dungeons to battle monsters, defeat bosses, and earn loot. Combat comes in the form of a card game, with the various items and abilities you earn by questing and leveling up forming your customizable deck. Rid a cursed city of an undead plague or explore a dwarven mountain stronghold, each of which has 12 potential areas to visit during a run. Which of these games caught your attention?