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Action-Packed Indie Games

5 games to test your skills

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Rapid Fire Reviews on 💥

In my recent travels through indie land, I've discovered some super-fun action-packed indie games so here are my thoughts about them.

A.J. has been obsessively gaming since the late '80s and is just as passionate about video games in 2023. 🐻

Demon Turf: Neon Splash Review Switch ★★★★☆

Last year's delightful Demon Turf remains one of my favourite 3D platformers in the modern age and it now has a bite-sized spin-off. v1d30chumz 3-235-186-94

Demon Turf: Neon Splash screenshot
Beebz may not be thrilled about this spin-off but I sure am!

Demon Turf: Neon Splash plays nearly identically to the main game so if you enjoyed that then you can jump straight into this without issue. At the same time, if you haven't played Demon Turf then Neon Splash acts as a wonderful introduction to what it has to offer so definitely pick it up if you're curious. For the unfamiliar, this is old-school 3D platforming at its best complete with challenging levels, oodles of collectibles, and a presentation that's filled with lively sights and sounds that'll make you smile as you try tricky scenarios again and again. There's also no combat in Neon Splash which is fine as its platforming-focused gameplay is fast-paced and challenging enough on its own. Even though it's short, you'll still spend a good chunk of time unlocking everything and beating the tough remix levels.

As a fan of Demon Turf, the platforming-focused Neon Splash made me very happy. I hope to see much more of Beebz down the road!

Demon Turf: Neon Splash gameplay video → Demon Turf Review

Kombinera Review PlayStation 5 ★★★★☆

Controlling multiple things at once has been done yet Kombinera implements it in a clever way that'll keep you entertained for hours.

Kombinera screenshot
Just beating these levels is hard enough without aiming for par times

Kombinera has you control multiple balls of varying colour and the goal of each stage is to combine them all. Meanwhile, each colour can do things such as break barriers and pass through spikes and as you combine them, the abilities get passed on so the challenge often relies on your ability to figure out which order of events to tackle within each stage. Considering you're moving the balls simultaneously, the 2D platforming gameplay is super-tricky as you have to keep an eye on every single ball to ensure that it doesn't get snagged on a hazard or become trapped. What makes it action-packed is the fact that you can complete every stage within a time limit to beat its par time which is tough and requires a lot of practice. Throw in collectible crowns and tons of levels and you're left with one huge game.

Mastering Kombinera requires precision and careful planning which makes it a great time trial game complete with plenty of replay value.

Kombinera gameplay video →

Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆

Originally developed for NES back in 2010, Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril is now available for modern consoles and it's one nifty throwback.

Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril screenshot
Battle Kid is a lot like Mega Man if he were green

Playing Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril reminded me of the original Mega Man with its tight controls where you run, jump, and shoot. However, it differentiates itself in some modern ways such as incorporating Metroidvania elements as you discover keys to unlock new areas and shortcuts. Although the core gameplay is tight, I can't stress enough just how difficult Battle Kid is so if you're looking for a brutally tough game then it will satisfy. However, if you lose patience at attempting bosses over and over again then you may want to steer clear of this old-school adventure. On the plus side, the graphics are spot-on, the chiptune music is absolutely rockin', the world is intricately designed, and the occasional upgrade is always rewarding. It's too bad that it's just so darn frustratingly unforgiving.

Even as someone who can finish any Mega Man game before breakfast, I found Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril to be one maddeningly difficult game. It does a lot of things right, though, so it's worth checking out for any hardcore retro game enthusiast.

Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril gameplay video → More modern games for retro consoles

Slipstream Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆

There are loads of indie racers and Slipstream is one of the best so strap in and get ready for some high-octane arcade-style racing fun.

Slipstream screenshot
Drifting in a slipstream will make you feel badass

Speaking of retro-inspired games, Slipstream is a modern indie take on Sega's classic Out Run. From its branching paths to its visuals, it's an undeniably familiar experience. With that in mind, there's a lot that Slipstream does to set itself apart such as incorporate a rival system where you can try to beat NPCs in certain stretches and its gameplay is a blast, too. For starters, you can slipstream behind competitors just like you can in some Mario Kart games. Also, drifting plays a big role and it can be tricky to get to grips with how to do so effectively but once I did, I found myself whipping around corners and hugging turns like a pro. Meanwhile, the music does a good job of capturing the late '80s and the visuals are great, too, with a large amount of variety in the scenery as you progress to new environments. 🌴

If you want a modern take on '80s arcade racers then you can't go wrong with Slipstream and its authentic approach to the genre.

Slipstream gameplay video → Sega Ages: Out Run Review

Z-Warp Review PlayStation 5 ★★★☆☆

For those looking for a cool new shoot 'em up, here's Z-Warp with its striking visuals and fully-featured action-packed gameplay.

Z-Warp screenshot 5Z-Warp screenshot 6
Projectiles everywhere; good thing I have my bomb!

Z-Warp is yet another shoot 'em up from Panda Indie Studio and it feels like many of their other releases. You play it by flying around and shooting. Plus, you can hold the shoot button to move slowly and attack with more force while tapping it allows you to move faster and spread your shot out. There are also unlimited bombs that recharge over time. Specifically, they can wipe out projectiles and collect power-ups within range as well as defeat enemies whenever it's charged enough. This system is highly reminiscent of Space Moth which is admittedly a much better game. There are some nifty additions here, though, like a difficulty-based multiplier and a variable difficulty in its Endless Mode. However, it's still a short shmup and one that's easy to master so you likely won't spend much time with it.

In the end, Z-Warp is a simple shoot 'em up that doesn't do much out of the ordinary but it's still a blast for the short while that it lasts.

Z-Warp gameplay video → More shoot 'em ups
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Gameplay video playlist for Action-Packed Indie Games
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