Title: Dolly Developer: Blake Wood Platforms: PC ---
Dolly is a short precision platformer through a gorgeous minimalist world.
From the first screen, Dolly presents a wonderfully artistic environment, a decaying world dominated by its bright red sun contrasting against a grey-ish landscape and flowing waterfalls. Your enigmatic quest passes through dense forest, up massive chains, and across spike-festooned ruins. Dolly may look pretty, but its short journey is one of precise double jumps over spikes and across deadly gaps.
Title: Steredenn Developer: Pixelnest Studio Platforms: PC, Mac Price: $8.99 ---
If there's one thing more satisfying than evading screens of varied bullet patterns from increasingly dangerous waves of enemies, it's laying wastes to those incoming enemies with an equally varied array of weapons...and Steredenn delivers on that front in spades.
Steredenn doesn't waste your time. From the first procedurally-generated wave of space pirates, the game offers an uncompromising and frenetic challenge. An armada of ships approach from the right, filling the screen with bullets and lasers and devastating hazards. You alone must face this overwhelming force, dodging between swirling projectiles and sweeping beams and rocket-propelled chainsaws. But agility isn't enough. A powerful selection of weapons lets you even the odds.
Superlasers that tear through entire squadrons. Homing missiles, flamethrowers, and torpedoes. Heavy-hitting crusher bolts, a devastating death ray. More exotic weapons like stasisbeams, drones, and a massive sawblade. Steredenn's arsenal is vast, and you can equip any two weapons at a time, depending on what you come across throughout your playthrough. The game's randomized rogue-lite nature means the combinations might not always be ideal, but on the other hand, you're always coming across new weapons and experimenting with different synergies, such as shield and torpedoes, drill and shotgun, and other interesting combos.
But Steredenn's hectic combat wouldn't be nearly as spectacular if it wasn't for the game's gorgeous art style. Enemy vessels erupt into pixel flames and debris, as you fly past vivid nebulas and galaxies, past flaring suns and capital ship graveyards. Each new stage is an experience to see some new wallpaper-worthy background.
Steredenn is currently on Early Access; the last update added a plethora of new content, including a reworked weapon drop system, the powerful Hypergun, and more enemy waves. You can purchase the game on Steam and Humble.
Title: Redout Developer: 34BigThings Redout is a tribute to the old racing monsters such as F-Zero, WipeOut, Rollcage, and POD. No bollocks: get in the ship and slam that throttle. You’re in for an uncompromising, fast, tough and satisfying driving experience, soaked in that vertigo that stands at the core of the arcade racing genre.
Title: Cross of the Dutchman Developer: Triangle Studios Cross of the Dutchman is an action-adventure game about our cultural heritage, the place where we come from (Friesland) and the language that the locals still speak (Frisian). It tells the true story of ‘Grutte Pier’ (Pier the Great), a folk hero who fought to free the land of our ancestors. Our goal is to create an authentic game that not only reflects the story of Grutte Pier, but also reflects living in the 16th century in a stunning game experience.
Title: Prism Developer: Clint Siu A puzzle game for iPad about elemental matter. Explore symbols, patterns, and colors to discover how everything in the universe was formed from the tiniest of pieces.
Title: Run Developer: Torch Games RUN tells the story of a man called, Isaac Wain, falsely accused of his wife and daughter murder. A top-down stealth/action game with puzzling environments and dark atmosphere. Unique Soundtracks and tense atmospheric SFX complete the immersive gameplay.
Organizam is an interactive story driven experience where you will play through the life of an organism in a habitat that is slowly diminishing due to the extraction of vital resources by artificial organisms.
Organizam is a game about the cycle of life, from birth, when you burst from your small egg, to death. Set loose in a colorful ecosystem, you must explore and endure, dealing with the other weird creatures living alongside you.
As you grow, so do your abilities. Against larger predators and other threats, your organism can block projectiles, hide and flee, or act aggressively, chasing down and attacking other creatures. Learning how other species behave and where to find food and which kind of food to avoid are key to survive. Organizam's world is one of danger and otherworldly beauty, reminiscent of deep sea environments, rife with swimming swarms, bio-luminescent creatures, and unusual flora.
Organizam is still in development, and was recently submitted to IndieCade. You can learn more about the game on its website, as well as its Tumblr page and TIGSource devlog.
Title: Door Kickers Developer: KillHouse Games Platforms: iPad Price: $4.99 ---
Door Kickers was one of the first games I wrote about, all the way back in 2013. Since then the game has been finished, expanded, garnered critical acclaim, and now the tactical SWAT game has made its way to iPad. Tactical strategy is a genre that excels on touchscreen, and Door Kickers' tense top-down action is a welcome addition to anyone's mobile game library.
Door Kickers is the kind of game that's easy to learn but challenging to master. The top-down line-drawing control scheme and the concept of troopers breaching rooms likely brings to mind games like Frozen Synapse and Breach & Clear, but personally I'd say Door Kickers is the better game compared to those two. The controls here are simple - drag to set your team's paths, hold on icons to choose actions - but provide a wealth of tactical depth. Do you go in loud or infiltrate silently? Split your teams into a stealth and assault force? Disorient terrorists with a flash bang or blow them away with a breaching charge? You can stack up on doors and synchronize breaches with go codes, use your snake cam to peer into rooms, time sniper shots, flank distracted enemies, and more.
As you progress, your arsenal continues to expand. New squad classes allow you to outfit your team with riot shields, silenced weapons, and better armor and guns, while unlocking skill tree abilities like double taps makes your team more efficient. The emphasis here is on efficiency. If you don't plan well, if you forget to check your corners, if you rush blindly into a room without a plan, your team will be pay with devastating causalities and dead hostages.
The game's content is just as varied as the tactics at your disposal. Multiple themed campaigns and myriad single missions takes your troopers from dilapidated apartments and dirty garages to Cartel-owned beach houses and hotel floors, to ships, cabins, and groceries stores. A customizable scenario generator provides endless potential challenges if those missions aren't enough.
Door Kickers was an excellent game on PC, and the tactical action feels at home on iPad thanks to its simple and effective touch controls. Perhaps the best aspect is that saves work cross-platform, so it's possible to transfer your progress from PC and continue playing on the go, or vice versa.
Think Samurai Shodown meets Megaman...[with a] 3D-Impresionist look inspired by early 90's games
Within a world of pixels, a digital inhabitant searches for answers about his existence. You are Bit, a futuristic samurai exploring the sprawling environment of the forgotten game in which he resides. From dark forests to mountain ridges, you roam a vibrant cubist/impressionist world, hacking and slashing through the myriad enemies along your journey for the truth.
BitUp will be a side-scrolling hack-n-slash game; collecting pixels from defeated enemies will allow you to upgrade your arsenal, manipulate the world, and unlock new paths. New weapons and gear is critical to defeat the varied robotic foes you'll face, from sword-wielding ninjas to bladed drones.
BitUp is still relatively early in development, with a tentative release planned for late 2016. Recently the project shifted from Unity to Unreal Engine 4. You can learn more about BitUp here, and follow its development on the Cosmogonia blog and TIGForum devlog, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.
Against gorgeous backgrounds of nebulas and shattered planets and other extraterrestrial debris, Lagrangian Point promises tactical battles between customizable armadas. Missiles and projectiles streak across the void, flaring against energy shields and tearing through asteroids and hull armor alike. To counter these onslaughts, a deep customization element opens the door for a wealth of potential tactics, from drone launchers and mine layers to cloaking devices and fleet command modules.
These subsystems can be controlled individually, allowing you to fire weapons independently or manually face shields to protect damaged areas, or attacked to disable enemy ships. Lagrangian Point will even include a hull editor to create completely unique ship designs. The ship creation element will feature heavily in competitive and cooperative modes; if online gameplay isn't your forte, there will also be an open-world solo campaign, where you make allies and enemies in a reactive world inhabited by various factions.
Title: Besiege Developer: Spiderling Games Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux ---
Back in January, I posted about Besiege and its medieval physics-based vehicular chaos. For an early alpha, the level of polish was astounding, and the game has only been improved since then.
The new island of Tolbrynd joined the original island, with five new levels of fortifications to raze. The next update, coming in July, will expand this island with five more levels.
To compliment the challenges, a varied array of new parts have been added. Drill heads, different sized cogs, a powerful shrapnel cannon, new wheel types, and more, as well as improvements and refinements to the building interface, have provided myriad new ways to design machines.
The upcoming update will also add Steam Workshop support, making it easier than ever before to be amazed by the inventive designs from the community.
Title: Hand of Fate Developer: Defiant Development Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One Price: $24.99 (PC), $19.99 (Consoles) ---
I've never been a fan of card games or deck-building; usually the inclusion of the mechanics are a turn-off for me. But Hand of Fate combines card game, dungeon crawler, and action RPG/brawler to deliver a brilliant and incredibly addictive hybrid of an experience.
It all starts with the cards. In Hand of Fate, you have two decks: the equipment deck and the encounter deck. The equipment deck contains all the items you've acquired: weapons, armor, shields, helmets, special abilities, and so on. On the other hand, the encounter deck contains all the potential events and situations you'll face during the game. Deadly trap mazes, ancient alters, rivers to cross and deserts to get lost in, bosses to face, and much more await you in that deck.
When you start out, you only have basic equipment, but you gain more powerful cards to add to your deck. Know you're going up against undead skeletons? Add more holy weapons and armor to your deck. Likewise, you can also choose what cards are in the encounter deck. However, this doesn't mean you can only add easy cards and make the next playthrough a walk in the park. Certain encounters provide tokens when you successfully complete them, and those tokens unlock new cards, thus new equipment and weapons to add to the decks. On top of that, the nefarious Dealer will include unique cards of his own into the game decks, adding more challenges and unpredictable encounters.
Those cards, laid out on the game table, essentially make up the tiles of a dungeon level. With each move, you deplete your limited food supply and if it runs out, you lose health until dying from starvation. This balance of risk and reward is the crux of Hand of Fate's dungeon crawling. Do you explore every card, or take a more straightforward route? You might get lucky, and find a shop or a priest or some new encounter that nets you a better weapon. Or you might find yourself cursed, or making a wager with a tricky Devil, or have goblins steal some gold, or get ambushed. Some encounters play out through choose-your-own adventure-style text; the choices are dictated by the items you might have or the effects of other cards.
Or you might be very unlucky and the Dealer will draw cards from the monster desk. Combat in Hand of Fate is modeled after the popular system seen in the Arkham games, down to counter icons over enemy heads and a shield bash that acts the same as Batman's cape. While the fighting can't live up to its inspiration in terms of animations or fluidity, it excels in other areas. Your early-game rusty axes and swords and light armor are soon replaced by more exotic equipment. Hammers that unleash lighting blasts, swords that set the undead aflame, armor that slows surrounding enemies, helmets that increase your movement speed. Magic abilities let you imbue your attacks with fire or send out magic blades in all directions or freeze enemies in the vicinity. All buffs and abilities stack, allowing you to tailor your play style as a damage-dealing powerhouse or a magic-enhanced tank. And at its core, combat is just fun, as you deflect fireballs from lizardmen, evade bandits, and face powerful Lava Golems and Mages.
All in all, that's the word that best describes Hand of Fate: fun. Other games may have more complex card mechanics or better combat, but combine the addictive nature of the gameplay with the engaging deck-building, the varied locations, and the excellent voice acting from the mysterious Dealer, and you have a compelling experience that you want to dive back into again and again.
Title: Software Inc. Developer: CoreDumping Run your own software company! Construct and design buildings for optimal working conditions. Hire people to design and release software, so you can defeat the simulated competition and take over their businesses. Manage and educate your employees to make sure they are skilled and satisfied with their job.
Title: Creach: the Depleted World Developer: Fractal Face “Creach: the Depleted World” is an action platformer game set in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world. Following the adventures of our protagonist Sterk, you will survive a long way through unfriendly deserts, find secrets of abandoned cities and visit uninhabited, but flourishing parts of the Creach! Sterk is not a stranger to this world – he is a mature old man, but this fact doesn’t keep him from new discoveries. Eventually he finds an inner ability to take control over small rocks and stones. Will he develop his magic abilities or remain a warrior? You are the one to decide! Discover the true story of the Creach, fight various enemies, find and use an ancient powerful weapon and try to remain human in this rough world… The depleted world.
Title: Airships Developer: David Stark A real-time strategy game where you design airships and then fight with them. The aim is to have pretty chaotic explodey fights and interesting ship design choices. Ships are put together out of modules, and the layout of modules matters a great deal: everything on board is done by individual airsailors who need to run around, ferrying coal, ammunition, water and repair tools - and sometimes their fallen comrades.
Title: Xenowerk Developer: Pixelbite Platforms: Price: $1.99 ---
Pixelbite's Space Marshal was one of the best dual stick shooters to grace mobile this year. Stealth, mechanics like flanking and cover, and a varied loadout added a layer of tactical depth you don't often find in top-down shooters. Xenowerk takes the tight controls, detailed visuals, and satisfying gameplay of Space Marshals and delivers a faster, more arcade-y experience, as you cleanse an science facility of a mutant infestation.
While Space Marshals offered larger levels and a slower pace, Xenowerks is set in claustrophobic dark corridors, where mutant creatures lurk around every corner. A vast array of weapons are available, from simple assault rifles and shotguns to powerful flamethrowers, grenade launchers, and miniguns. You can carry any two guns, and complimenting your loadout is a selection of armor, each granting special abilities that can boost your speed and damage or unleash a enemy-slowing aura,
Each of the game's 50 level is a contained lab floor, where you either hack into terminals to gather data or defeat deadly mini-bosses. As you progress, mutants grow in strength and ability, charging with incredible speed or launching projectiles; success means using your skills at the best time, getting kill streaks to fill up your power meter faster, and managing your fire so you don't overheat your weapons. The missions tend to be short, only a few minutes long, but the varied mutants add more challenge as you descend deeper.
Xenowork is available on IOS for $1,99. An Android version is coming soon.
Udon Dreams is a first-person adventure game. You are hired to go undercover on board a resort ship in space and sabotage it prior to its grand opening.
Interactivity is the core aspect that separates games from other mediums. Being in a world rather than simply observing, having an effect on the environment rather simply admiring. Udon Dreams tasks you with sabotaging a galactic resort ship, and interacting with the ship and items found throughout the vessel is key to giving you freedom to approach your objectives..
Those objectives can range from documenting rival technology to disabling the ship's communication tower, and the sheer interactivity offers an extensive range of choices to achieve these goals. Need to infiltrate the central camera room? You could bribe the security bot guarding the room, or sneak in through a vent, or simply smash through the window.
Little details abound, adding texture to Udon Dream's sci-fi sandbox. Smashing windows into space causes rooms to depressurize. Bots will rescue you if you travel outside without oxygen or a suit. You can collect water from faucets to extinguish fires. You can even bake pies in kitchen ovens; make sure to pre-heat to cook faster.
Udon Dreams is still early in development; Polycrime recently switched the game to Unity 5 and have been making steady progress since. You can learn more about the game on its TIGForum devlog and the developer's Twitter page.
A flying game in 60 fps featuring procedural voxel terrain that really tries to nail the wonderous feeling of flight
If you've played Minecraft, no doubt you've experienced a moment like this: cresting a hill to see some amazing natural wonder in the distance. A towering mountain, an expansive overhang, a sprawling canyon or a river twisting serpent-like through a narrow valley, or the entrance to some unknown cave system. Fugl delivers a similar sense of discovery and exploration, as you soar over its procedurally generated landscapes upon technicolor wings.
Fugl is a game about flight. Playing the open alpha, the controls are simple enough: hold both sides of the screen to flap, move your thumbs in various directions to pitch, yaw, and roll. The mechanics are easy to grasp and, above all else, fun to master. The game currently offers an arcade mode, in which you need to fly close to the ground to recharge your flap/boost, but the most enjoyable experiences come from flying in free roam. It is so satisfying to just fly in Fugl, gliding over the waterfalls and forests, swooping under arches and through narrow valleys and past stalagmite in subterranean caverns.
In some ways, Fugl reminds me of the PC game Proteus. Gameplay that exudes a zen-like atmosphere, a colorful vibrant world to explore, a world teeming with life. Dolphins and fish leap from the oceans and rivers as you pass overhead, other birds fly through the skies, deer traverse the forests and woodland plains.
Fugl is still in development; the final version of the game will include a story mode with hazards to evade such as enemies, falling rocks, volcanoes, and powerful winds, as well as more biomes ranging from dense jungles to floating islands.
You can follow Fugl's development in the game's thread on Toucharcade. If you're interested in checking out the open alpha, email the developer at email@example.com.
Title: Camp 1 Developer: Waxwing Games Platforms: PC ---
From its first moment, Camp 1 delivers an atmosphere of depressing misery and isolation. You are a laborer at a penal camp for a nameless company, working on a remote planet. The visuals sell that ambiance superbly, with the endless expanse of darkness and snow outside, the dim gray environments and poorly lit interiors. It just feels like a cold miserable place.
This is your last day in the camp, one last job loading cargo onto orbiting deep space freighters. In adventure game fashion, you point and click and perform actions to complete this task, but along the way, dark secrets are uncovered. It's a story best experienced yourself.
Title: Systole Developer: COCO Collective Consciousness SYSTOLE is a breathtaking adventure that blends acrobatic challenges and exploration in a 2.5 platformer. It is currently being developed for PC and consoles. Wielding the power of magnetism, you’ll be able to swing from poles, attach to various surfaces and repel yourself from platforms while devising fast and clever ways to overcome hostiles that stand before you.
Title: Occult Developer: Kunani Gaming Occult is a first person experience. You have an arsenal of high tech tools and some unexplained talents of your own, but no weapons. You can run, but moving around carefully using your available resources is probably the smartest strategy. Demons lurk, and they could be the end of you.
Title: Family Man Developer: Bluebutton Games A 3D first person game based on the life of a family man pushed to the limits of his own morality for the sake of his family. Think Breaking Bad, meets Papers Please, meets Hitman.
Open world, free progression hack 'n' slash! Turn into a personalized Apocalyptic Form and unleash your powers upon your foes!
Thanks to Unreal Engine 4, Unity 5, and CryEngine, one thing is certain: we can expect some wonderful graphical fidelity from indie games in the future. One only has to look at projects like The Soul Keeper or Kholat. Umbra is another game to add to the list: an isometric open world hack-n-slash built on CryEngine and boasting gorgeous magic effects, detailed environments, and dynamic AI.
Across dank dungeons, woodland ruins, and other more exotic locations, you face powerful enemies and towering bosses in Umbra, striking down foes with melee weapons and magic. I was fortunate to play an early prototype of the game and the combat is where the game shines. Energy bolts twirl through the air, lightning crackles through hordes, ice leaves fields of frost in your wake. Magic lets you raise the dead, unleash waves of flame, and other feats, and the CryEngine-enhanced visuals turns every battle into a colorful spectacle. Grass sways from the force of explosions, water moves dynamically, stone columns crumble, and the glow of your attacks subtly illuminates the environment.
Umbra promises more than just magic attacks and steel to lay waste your enemies. Apocalyptic forms imbue your character with special abilities and buffs: demonic wings to leap across the battlefield, teleporting dash, a third arm so you can wield three weapons at a time, a tornado that draws in and stuns surrounding enemies, and much more. You can even combine any three of those forms to devastating effect.
Umbra is currently on Kickstarter, at 168% funded and only a few hours left in its campaign. You can learn more about Umbra on the game's site.
Title: Subnautica Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment Platforms: PC Price: $19.99 ---
I doubt anyone would disagree if you said the open world-crafting-survival genre has become over-saturated in recent years. From zombie-infested cities and frozen woodlands to apocalyptic wastelands and everything in between, we've built shelters, faced dangerous nights, and crafted gear across a plethora of locales and scenarios. Subnautica adds a new depth to the genre, quite literally, as you explore and survive in the sprawling depths of an alien ocean.
Subnautica's settings is easily its strongest element. There's a sense of wonder and mystery and beauty here that forest, cities, and other terrestrial places can't capture. Awakening in an escape pod after your larger spaceship crashes, you climb out and are welcomed with only an expanse of blue in all directions. The only way to survive is to plunge downwards into the aquatic landscape, catching sealife for food and gathering debris and materials to craft new gear and upgrades. What a world awaits you: kelp forests swaying in the current, bio-luminescent growths along the walls of dark deep caves, swarms of weird fish twisting through the water, coral tunnels and reefs, and more. But this beautiful environment is npt void of danger.
Bone sharks swim among the kelp, the aggressive leviathan waits near the smoking crash site, and other aggressive lifeforms thrive throughout Subnautica's biomes. Luckily, with the right materials, you'll be well equipped to descend deeper and brave unexplored areas. Air tanks allow to stay underwater for longer, fins let you swim faster, knives and high-tech equipment like the stasis gun provide more effective means of defense. Lights, beacons, dive reels, air pipelines; the array of equipment to be constructed is varied and grows with each update.
It's an engaging cycle; new equipment allows you to explore more of the world (a reward by itself), thus acquiring new and better material and having access to better gear to explore deeper. In my opinion, the fact that every piece of equipment has a direct tangible effect, from faster movement or more air, makes crafting and collecting material more tolerable than in similar games. Once you're constructing bases on the sea floor or building submersibles, Subnautica really opens up, as you establish footholds in deeper terrain.
Subnautica is currently on Steam Early Access; the most recent update added a gravity gun-esque Propulsion Cannon and a Workbench to lets you modify your gear in new ways, among other content. You can follow its progress here and on the developer's Trello board.
*Subnautica is currently $17.99/10% off until June 22nd for the Steam Summer Sale.
Title: Induction Developer: Bryan Gale Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux 2016 ---
A game about time travel and paradoxes
At first glance, Induction seems like a simple game. You maneuver a cube around various isometric levels, pushing objects, triggering switches, activating bridges. There are collapsing pathways and other obstacles to deal with, as well as figuring out how to navigate the multi-tiered levels, since your cube can only ascend ledges equal to its height. But then developer Bryan Gale adds time travel into the mix, and Induction is revealed to be a challenging puzzle game that reinvents your understanding of space and time.
I was fortunate enough to try out a press demo of Induction and explore its time-based puzzles. These challenges start out simple enough; similar to Project Temporality and the freeware game Tessallation, you interact with your past self to co-ordinate actions, for example, activating a bridge in one timeline and then crossing in another. But soon, Induction introduces a new concept that I haven't seen in other time-travel puzzlers: paradoxes. At any point, pressing SHIFT lets you control your past self in the current timeline, creating a new time loop. These GIFs showcase the mechanic well:
While the actions of the purple cube remain in effect, that timeline is erased, leaving behind an alternate timeline consisting of the green and yellow cubes.
Induction's puzzles grow more complex from there, as you juggle actions across multiple time loops and alternate timelines.
Induction is still in development, planned to release sometime in 2016, and was recently Greenlit. You can follow its progress on the developer's Twitter page.
Doko Roko is a rogue-like, vertical platformer about strange magicks, weird swords, and the spread and mutation of ideas.
Locked in a tower stretching into the heavens, danger lurking on each level, you must ascend. Armed with only a blade and powerful magic learned from the tower's otherworldly denizens, your climb is fraught with intense battles, deft evasion, and skillful swordplay. Given its roguelike influences, death is inevitable in Doko Roko, perhaps at the hands of a warlock or a demon or a molten mantis. The foes that roam the tower, from sentient statues to powerful gods, are varied, but the magical arsenal at your disposal is just as diverse .
Your main weapon in Doko Roko is a sword, and a multitude of blades can be found: the shadow-tinged Beelzebuth Sword, the glinting blue Naive Hero Sword, the rusty Tarnished Sword, the Moss Sword, and many more, each with their own unique attributes. Supplementing your chosen sword is a selection of secondary items and powerful Forms. Items can imbue your character with a number of different skills and buffs to your maneuverability, defenses, and power, including a dodge roll, teleportation, slowing time, and a reflective shield.
Forms are equal parts blessing and burden; one example is the Feral Form that saps your health and reduces your movement but massively increases the range of your attacks. These Forms can be acquired by pleasing gods or being possessed by some ethereal force, but you should always be mindful of the consequences. Exorcising the demon within or receiving forgiveness may be the only way to return to your previous Form.