Cool Indie Games 2019 thumbnail

Cool Indie Games 2019

Sunglasses not included

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Rapid Fire Reviews on

With so many indies constantly releasing for console, here are 7 recent games that are rather cool in their own special ways.

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Venture Kid Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Indie devs have been making Mega Man style games for years so does Venture Kid stand out from the crowd of cloned Blue Bombers? v1d30chumz 3-235-186-94

Venture Kid screenshot
I'd hate for that goofy bird to stick its beak in me!

Venture Kid has you play as a wee lad named Andy who's on a mission to stop the nefarious Dr. Teklov. In order to do so, you have to work through a bunch of stages with a boss at the end of each. Once you beat a boss, you acquire a new weapon which I bet you didn't expect, right? Actually, these power-ups are pretty cool and varied such as a grenade that causes a rippling wall of fire and a handy double-jump. You'll explore stages such as a city, volcano, ice mine, and castle and each one is unique with different enemies and a few secrets as well. However, I don't find the blocky and generic graphics to be all that appealing and the gameplay is far too simple to compete with most 2D action games. That being said, I do enjoy the fun-filled chiptunes and 8-bit sound effects.

If you're satisfied with a basic Mega Man style 2D retro throwback then you can definitely have some fun with Venture Kid.

Venture Kid gameplay video →

Black Paradox Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆

Roguelike shoot 'em ups are nothing new but Black Paradox is a very cool entry in the genre with both style and substance.

Black Paradox screenshot
What other game allows you to fly around in a DeLorean?

At its core, Black Paradox is a simple shmup where you fly around while dodging enemy projectiles and blasting away. To mix things up, you can acquire secondary weapons as you play so experimenting with what each of them is capable of is part of the fun. You also have a special attack that you can unleash whenever its meter is full. As you play, you'll earn credits that you can purchase upgrades with as well as slots to store them in which can help ease the difficulty substantially. The campaign basically involves taking down a succession of criminals and you start from the beginning whenever you perish but it's different enough on each run so it doesn't become too tedious. Finally, the fact that you can play cooperatively is a great addition that makes the gameplay feel fresh.

Black Paradox may not be the biggest shmup out there but it plays so well that it's hard to put down once you pick it up.

Black Paradox gameplay video → Similar game: Steredenn

Blazing Beaks Review Switch ★★★★☆

Twin-stick roguelikes have been around for a quite a long time so is the cute and challenging Blazing Beaks worth playing?

Blazing Beaks screenshot
This little penguin fellow is about to show Newt what's up

On the surface, Blazing Beaks is your average arena twin-stick shooter where you clear out rooms of enemies, collect power-ups, and fight difficult bosses. However, there's a lot more to it than first meets the eye. For starters, you can select from a variety of 8 characters with their own weapons and attributes. Aside from running around and shooting, you'll also use a special ability and collect power-ups. Some of the power-ups have negative effects but if you manage to survive until the merchant, you can trade it in for something more worthwhile. One of the coolest features is that you can play with up to 4 players cooperatively or competitively within tournament mode which includes a handful of exciting variants. When you factor in the adorable character sprites, you're left with one fun game.

There may be many twin-stick roguelikes but very few are as enjoyable as Blazing Beaks with its charming visuals and tight gameplay.

Blazing Beaks gameplay video → Similar game: Nuclear Throne

Strike Suit Zero: Director's Cut Review Switch ★★★★☆

If you have fond memories of games like Omega Boost and Colony Wars then Strike Suit Zero will feel right at home.

Strike Suit Zero: Director's Cut screenshot
This transforming space combat craft sure packs a punch

I originally played Strike Suit Zero: Director's Cut on PlayStation 4 about 5 years ago and remember it being a fun game. Now that I played it again on the Switch, I can thankfully say that my memory isn't failing me. You pilot the titular Strike Suit as you engage enemies in space combat which involves intense dogfighting complete with various guns and missiles. I absolutely love this genre and find it to be highly underrated. Tracking an enemy down then locking on only to fire a missile that results in a satisfying explosion is so cool. That being said, Strike Suit Zero has some lengthy dialogue that can be quite monotonous to sit through so it makes for a more enjoyable game to play while you watch a TV show or something. Anyway, this Director's Cut version features the original campaign and the Heroes of the Fleet campaign which includes 5 bonus missions. So, even after completing the main game, there's still more to do.

In such an underrepresented genre, Strike Suit Zero certainly stands out and being able to play it on the Switch is very cool.

Strike Suit Zero: Director's Cut gameplay video →

Unknown Fate Review PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆

First-person adventure games come in all sorts of varieties but I bet you haven't played anything quite like Unknown Fate.

Unknown Fate screenshot
I have a feeling that this is going to require a lot of observation skills to solve

When I first started playing Unknown Fate, I thought it was a walking sim. Well, it kind of is but there's much more to it than that. You control a fellow named Richard who awakens in a strange world and from then on, you merely try to figure out how to progress through its living abstract environments. This usually involves solving puzzles but there are enemies, too, that you take out by blasting them with energy from your hand. Some of the puzzles can be tricky to figure out and there are frustrating moments that require a lot of trial and error. On the other hand, the world is so captivating and unconventional that I found myself hooked just to see what would emerge next. If you can look past its more annoying segments and like the idea of traversing a strange land then it's worth playing.

It may seem like just another walking sim at first but Unknown Fate contains plenty of memorable moments set in a haunting world.

Unknown Fate gameplay video → Let's Play Unknown Fate video →

Dig Dog Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Arcade-style games are usually clearly inspired by the classics yet Dig Dog is an original and fun little game.

Dig Dog screenshot
I'm just a dog trying to get a bone

Dig Dog has you control a dog as you dig through enemy-filled stages. The goal of each stage is to find a bone that sends the dog shooting up to the next level. This sounds simple but it's also quite tough seeing as there are many tricky enemies waiting to trip you up like spiky things and plenty of bats. As you play, you collect coins that you can redeem for prizes and climb the leaderboards, too. I appreciated the simple shadowy visual style but it also sometimes makes it difficult to spot certain enemies such as sleeping bats. In the end, it's a basic arcade-style game without much content but it's undeniably fun, too.

If you're the kind of gamer who enjoys getting high scores in unique arcade experiences then you should give Dig Dog a try.

Dig Dog gameplay video →

Darkest Hunters Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Indie games have combined almost every genre under the sun so let's see if this puzzle RPG hybrid is worth playing.

Darkest Hunters screenshot
Well, that attack sure ended in one bloody explosion!

Darkest Hunters has you navigate through tile-based stages where you collect magic, attack, and health points as well as coins. You can only move between similar tiles on each turn so if you take your time then enemies will surely catch up to you which could spell trouble. Combat requires attack points so you have to ensure that you're well stocked before engaging enemies. The detailed pixel graphics are solid and the orchestral soundtrack is well done, too, but the most irritating part of Darkest Hunters is its unintuitive and clunky menus. Between stages, you can equip and buy new equipment, learn spells, and change characters but doing so relies on interacting with the tricky interface which can be irritating to say the least. It's still a very solid and enjoyable game, though.

If you can get over the hurdle of its clunky interface then Darkest Hunters provides a unique and fun strategic RPG puzzler.

Darkest Hunters gameplay video →
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Gameplay video playlist for Cool Indie Games 2019
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