Well, it certainly is a busy time of year when it comes to video games but don't worry, your most trusted reviewer is here to show you what's worth playing and what isn't. Here are 6 recently released indies that look cool but are they any good?
Ling: A Road Alone Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆
If the concept of an overhead Souls-like game that relies on your skills alone appeals to you then check this indie out!
Ling: A Road Alone has you control a mysterious character on his quest to... do something, I guess. There's no real story presented but the atmosphere is tight as it takes place in barren environments such as a snowy mountain. The gameplay only involves using a few buttons as you punch, slash your sword, and dodge. The combat itself is challenging stuff and the key to victory, especially against large enemies, is to punch them to parry their incoming attacks then go crazy slashing them up. Getting the timing right is tricky but once you get in the groove, it's supremely satisfying. If you do well, your health will recharge but if you let enemies get the best of you, their health will fill so you really have to give it your all. Although the high degree of challenge will kick your ass inside-out, progressing past each boss is a treat and I recommend this to anyone who's looking for a streamlined action-intense adventure.
It may be simple but Ling: A Road Alone is certainly engaging enough to keep masochistic gamers begging for another grueling battle.Ling: A Road Alone gameplay video →
A Knight's Quest Review Xbox One ★★★★☆
Here we have a delightful 3D Zelda-style adventure that's full of humour but does it bring the fun times?
A Knight's Quest stars Rusty who begins a chain of events that will bring the world to its demise. Did I mention he did so accidentally? Anyway, the gameplay feels just like a 3D Zelda game where you have a sword and shield as well as a variety of magic spells that you can use to battle enemies and solve puzzles. Speaking of which, I found the puzzles to be very elaborate and rewarding to solve, especially because you can utilize the elements of wind, fire, ice, and even time to do so. One aspect of the combat that I loved is that you can parry attacks including enemy arrows by blocking right before they hit you which makes them launch right back at your foes. The boss fights are fantastic, too, although not as challenging as I would have liked them to be but it's a super-enjoyable game nonetheless. Oh, and the sense of humour is wonderful and had me regularly laughing out loud at the ridiculous cast of characters.
I absolutely loved my time with A Knight's Quest. It's a lighthearted journey that's full of satisfying and intricate puzzles and boss fights with plenty of humour thrown in for good measure, too.A Knight's Quest gameplay video →
The Bradwell Conspiracy Review Switch ★★☆☆☆
Fans of first-person adventure games may enjoy The Bradwell Conspiracy but does it live up to other games in the genre?
The Bradwell Conspiracy has you control your character in first-person after an explosion devastates the Stonehenge Museum. Upon making it through the wreckage, you'll find yourself in a subterranean facility. The 2 characters that you interact with are your Bradwell Guide Glasses AI and a woman who talks to you as you send her pictures of your findings. Keep in mind, the main character cannot talk and must keep his glasses on for some reason. The voice acting is fantastic and the game world is somewhat engaging but the game falls apart at the seams in a few places. For starters, the visuals are very choppy and I usually don't care about framerates and all that technical nonsense but oh boy, did this game make me feel nauseous. Not only that, controlling the camera / reticle is highly troublesome as it moves way too slippy. It's obvious that it would be much easier to play on PC with a mouse and simply wasn't optimized for console.
The developers of The Bradwell Conspiracy may be onto something with their immersive world, mysterious story, and top-notch voice acting but the game that surrounds all of that is nothing short of irritating.The Bradwell Conspiracy gameplay video →
Reventure Review Switch ★★★★☆
Those who enjoy 2D platformers with a sick sense of humour will definitely find a lot to love in Reventure.
First of all, Reventure is one of the most ridiculous games that I've ever played. You play as a hero who can do all sorts of things to end his adventure, most of them involve performing the stupidest stunts you can think of. The ultimate goal is to unlock all 100 endings which is a lot. However, you can breeze through a handful of them right off the bat by doing things like dying from a regular enemy, killing the king, and tripping over a rock. The gameplay is super-simple as all you do is use 2 buttons which let you jump, swing your sword, and use all sorts of found gadgets in their appropriate locations such as bombs and grappling hooks. The fun is definitely found in collecting the endings, though, so if you have an off-the-wall sense of humour like I do then you'll love your time with Reventure.
Reventure is quite possibly the funniest game that I've played all year and there's some highly enjoyable gameplay here, too.Reventure gameplay video →
Fight'N Rage Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆
Beat 'em ups are making a bit of a resurgence and here's one that simplifies the classic formula in interesting ways.
I saw a lot of people hyped for Fight'N Rage and a few folks have recommended it to me so I decided to check it out for myself. From the start, I enjoyed the awesome music and retro visuals and the gameplay is super-tight as well. However, after playing it for a while, I began to realise just how repetitive its basic gameplay formula becomes. You can essentially just mash a button then hold the left stick in the direction that you want to throw enemies after your combo completes. Do that about a thousand or so times then you'll finish the somewhat short campaign. There is a special move thrown in to help mix things up a bit but it's just not enough. I enjoy the assortment of enemies, bosses, and playable characters but the gameplay is merely far too repetitious to stay engaging.
Update: I received feedback that I didn't give Fight'N Rage's game mechanics enough credit and after reading my review again, I agree! To be clear, you can combine directions with the attack and special buttons while standing, running, or jumping to perform more moves. That being said, I still wouldn't call the gameplay deep, especially because I simply mashed the attack button while performing throws and the occasional special move throughout most of the campaign which got the job done. Anyway, just figured I'd elaborate on this!
Beat 'em up fans looking for depth will not find it in Fight'N Rage but they will find simple and fun gameplay. And 2D boobs.Fight'N Rage gameplay video →
Habroxia Review PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆
Here's a 2D shoot 'em up that mostly brings things back to basics so let's see if it can stand out in the overcrowded genre.
If you know me, you know that I love shmups of all sorts. Habroxia is an old-school one with minimalist graphics and gameplay. Its main gimmick is that you have 2 different shot types that you can alternate between or press the buttons together to form a combined shot. This may sound cool but the gameplay is rather slow and unexciting. One redeeming quality is that you can permanently upgrade your ship and doing so is rewarding stuff indeed. There is a mix of horizontal and vertical levels, too, but the only difference is that they rotate the visuals 90°. Also, it's a cross-buy title so if you still own a Vita then you can download it on that sucker as well as your PS4. Finally, the clever score multiplier and additional modes help add some welcome replay value.
Habroxia is about as standard as retro-style shoot 'em ups can get while still offering slight twists on the classic gameplay.Habroxia gameplay video →