Cool Indie Games 2019 (Part 5) thumbnail

Cool Indie Games 2019 (Part 5)

Another 8 worthwhile indies

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Rapid Fire Reviews on

There's an absurd amount of indie games so once again, I combed through the crowded market to show you some noteworthy titles.

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Children of Morta Review PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆

You don't see many action RPG roguelikes so here's one that definitely presents an interesting formula. v1d30chumz 34-239-154-240

Children of Morta screenshot
I heard this dude makes the best rice

My enjoyment of Children of Morta was a strange experience. At first, I felt the gameplay was rather simplistic then once I started upgrading my character and unlocking new skills, I began to thoroughly enjoy myself. Finally, after all of that started to sink in, the combat became extremely repetitive. All you essentially do is battle through randomly generated dungeons while accumulating gold and experience in order to upgrade your character of choice between runs. However, you generally just battle an onslaught of foes over and over again with little variety and once you start memorizing each enemy type's pattern, it becomes rather tedious. Plus, the frequent and lengthy loading screens regularly bummed me out. On the plus side, you can play cooperatively with a friend, there's a variety of distinct characters to master, and upgrading your characters is exceptionally rewarding stuff.

Children of Morta may feature rewarding character progression but its combat-heavy campaign begins to feel like a chore after a while.

Children of Morta gameplay video →

Pig Eat Ball Review Switch ★★★★☆

If crazy gaming experiences are more your thing then this off-the-wall arcade-style indie will be right up your alley.

Pig Eat Ball screenshot
It may be a crazy game but it's a heck of a lot of fun, too

Pig Eat Ball is one gross game. You play as a flying pig thing and your goal is to traverse the overworld map while taking on stage-based challenges. These challenges involve multiple levels where you have to satisfy certain conditions in order to pass them. The basic gameplay has you suck up balls then spit them out in order to squeeze through narrow passageways and the goals usually require eating all of the balls which can be difficult considering you may have to barf some out to become thinner. You can also dash which breaks certain walls and there's a variety of hazards that try and trip you up as well. Overall, it's an insane formula that provides oodles of fun and variety so if you're in the market for a quirky and hilarious game with satisfying mechanics then you should check it out.

I enjoyed Pig Eat Ball much more than I thought I would and I'll gladly go back to it whenever I want some frantic arcade fun.

Pig Eat Ball gameplay video →

Lonely Mountains: Downhill Review Xbox One ★★★★☆

Riding a bike down a mountain is a lot trickier than you'd think and Lonely Mountains: Downhill proves that fact.

Lonely Mountains: Downhill screenshot
This is far from your average bike trip

Lonely Mountains: Downhill plays a lot like a 3D Trials game in that you ride a bike between checkpoints as quickly and as carefully as possible while trying not to wipe out. You can either control the bike by tapping left and right to steer or using all directions to point where the bike should go and I appreciated this option a great deal. In the end, I decided that using left and right felt more natural. Anyway, you can also accelerate, brake, and sprint so you'll need to gauge certain terrain in order to succeed. For example, you'll want to brake regularly in more dense areas while sprinting may be necessary to jump across wide gaps. One aspect that I loved is that you can take shortcuts although doing so requires more skill. However, I didn't like that you have to choose which challenges you want to master next. Why can't I just play and have the challenges check off if I manage to fulfill them instead of selecting them first?

Carefully steering a cyclist down rough mountainside terrain sounds like a fun challenge and Lonely Mountains proves that it indeed is.

Lonely Mountains: Downhill gameplay video →

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors Review PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆

Taito's 1987 beat 'em up The Ninja Warriors has received a lot of praise for being a stand-out in the genre and here's a cool remake.

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors screenshot
No matter how big the foe, these robotic assassins can take them down!

Although I'm a huge fan of Taito, I've never played The Ninja Warriors for whatever reason. The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is basically a remake of it and it features awesome music, beautiful 16-bit visuals complete with smooth animation, and a new co-op mode. The combat is supremely satisfying, especially considering each of the 5 playable characters (which includes 2 unlockable ones) play very differently. The controls are responsive, the move sets are varied, and the action is somewhat fast-paced and can get exceptionally challenging. All of that being said, the campaign only lasts between an hour or 2 and there's very little replay value unless you want to attempt a 1cc speedrun. Also, the co-op component is incredibly frustrating as you share a health meter with your friend.

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is worth playing through once or twice and after that, you've experienced all it has to offer.

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors gameplay video →

Debris Infinity Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆

Geometry Wars made twin-stick shooters mainstream back in the mid-00s and Debris Infinity is pretty much a clone of it.

Debris Infinity screenshot
Yes, it's just Geometry Wars with a few minor twists

Okay, maybe Debris Infinity isn't an exact copy of Geometry Wars but it's very close. You simply guide your ship around a closed-off arena while blasting the heck out of a variety of enemies. At first, it's a lot like Asteroids in that you break up large rock masses but as the challenge ramps up, you'll face a few more tricky foes that home in on you and it gets crazy fast. To assist you in getting a higher score, there's a rewarding score multiplier, handy bombs, and your shots can change with power-ups, too. I preferred the spread shot as it made dealing with enemies easier. Speaking of which, you can zoom in and slow down time when you have enough energy which helps a great deal. All of that being said, Geometry Wars remains superior in almost every way so you'd be better off playing that instead.

As a Geometry Wars clone, Debris Infinity offers some welcome gameplay wrinkles but it doesn't quite live up to the classic.

Debris Infinity gameplay video →

The Big Journey Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Sometimes, silly laidback indie games are more enjoyable than challenging ones so let's get rolling in The Big Journey!

The Big Journey screenshot
That big ol' kitty gone done bump his noggin!

The Big Journey has you control a plus-sized kitty who rolls around stages while gobbling up dumplings and collecting fireflies. You control the feline fellow by tilting the stage left and right as well as commanding the plump furball to jump. Along the way, you'll encounter different hazards and enemies yet nothing is insurmountable so the overall experience ends up being casual, enjoyable, and often hilarious. In fact, I regularly laughed out loud at the character interactions and watching Mr. Whiskers purr and exclaim one-word gestures according to the given scenario made me smile from start to finish. On top of all that, the colourful visuals and lighthearted music really bring the goofy world to life and help tie everything together. However, those looking for a challenge may be disappointed.

When it comes to casual fun-filled games, The Big Journey offers a charming and delightful adventure that's decent to wind down with.

The Big Journey gameplay video →

Kine Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆

If you enjoy challenging puzzle gameplay and toe-tapping jazz then Kine is definitely a must-buy indie game.

Kine screenshot
Awesome jazz, tricky puzzles, and a charming world; what more could you want?

Kine has you control a selection of instruments through a massive branching campaign that's full of super-tough yet supremely rewarding puzzles. You basically roll the instruments around the grid-based stages yet each instrument has a different shape and moveable parts. For example, the trombone allows you to slide up and down while the accordion can push in and out. The stages are confined in that they restrict your movement which is where the challenge comes in as you have to figure out how to navigate through tight spaces, cross gaps, and cooperate with other instruments in order to make it to the goal. Of course, getting stuck can be very frustrating but you'll almost always have a handful of stages that you can take on next so you can always give up on one stage then try another.

Indie puzzle games don't get much more challenging and charming as Kine so if you're a genre fan then you need to give it a try.

Kine gameplay video →

Anthill Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Controlling an army of ants in order to battle and eat other bugs sounds like a weird game yet Anthill is a pretty fun indie.

Anthill screenshot
Those bugs better not steal my bugs' bugs...

Image & Form may be best known for their SteamWorld series but they also created a few mobile titles; one of which is Anthill. Now that it's available for Switch, console gamers finally have an opportunity to play it and it's a fairly fun little game. For starters, you have to play it in handheld mode because its gameplay relies on the Switch's touchscreen capabilities. Anyway, the gameplay involves drawing lines for your varieties of ants to march down and tapping the screen to deploy bomber ants which act as a second line of defense. The challenge comes in the form of balancing between gathering resources (namely, dead bugs) while bolstering your defensive capabilities. In the end, it's an enjoyable formula but it doesn't have much lasting appeal as things start to get repetitive rather quickly.

As a real-time strategy game, Anthill provides a simplistic and enjoyable formula that can be quite a hoot in short bursts.

Anthill trailer →
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Gameplay video playlist for Cool Indie Games 2019 (Part 5)
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