Cool Indie Games 2020

Cool Indie Games 2020

Rock out with your joystick out

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Rapid Fire Reviews on

There have been tons of solid indie games this year and I've been enjoying a lot of them lately so here are 7 cool recent indies.

Wizards: Wand of Epicosity Review Xbox One ★★★★☆

Fending off encroaching hordes of zombies and other monsters is nothing new but doing so from a castle keep is rather innovative.

Wizards: Wand of Epicosity screenshot
Defending my castle is as fun as it is hilarious

Wizards: Wand of Epicosity is a very funny game. It has fully animated cutscenes with fantastic voice acting and tells the story of 2 boys who are trying to escape a rush of undead. They come across a wizard, accidentally kill him, and are then granted use of magic spells that help them ward off the monsters. You play by simply dragging a cursor around the playfield then casting spells which have various attacks and may affect multiple foes if you cast them effectively. This sounds simple but it definitely requires a lot of strategy as you progress through the campaign. You'll also level up, acquire equipment, and learn new spells so the gameplay consistently changes throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Wizards: Wand of Epicosity and you'll love it, too, especially if you have a silly sense of humour.

Casting spells to take out hordes of monsters in between hilarious cutscenes makes Wizards: Wand of Epicosity a fantastic fun-filled indie.

Wizards: Wand of Epicosity gameplay video → More games with zombies

Double Kick Heroes Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆

Here we have a game where you shoot zombies. That's innovative, right? Well, the way that Double Kick Heroes does it definitely is!

Double Kick Heroes screenshot
Killing zombies with the power of rock sounds like something Tenacious D would do

Speaking of fending off zombies, Double Kick Heroes has you play as a metal band in a car as you tap buttons to the prompts in order to shoot at encroaching undead. There are some complexities introduced, especially when you up the difficulty and alter the options such as grenades and sniper ammunition prompts and the fact that you can control the car if you don't want its movement automated. Anyway, I absolutely loved the premise as it's highly entertaining stuff but the novelty definitely wears thin after a while, especially considering you usually can't see the fun part since you're concentrating on the prompts at the bottom of the screen. It's also a very simple game. Even on the more challenging difficulty settings, all you essentially do is tap buttons to the prompts with nothing else to keep in mind.

Hilarious premise aside, Double Kick Heroes is a solid albeit simple rhythm game with a great soundtrack that you can rock out to.

Double Kick Heroes gameplay video → More games influenced by heavy metal culture

Cruel Bands Career Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Being in a rock band must be tough because you constantly have folks slowly walking towards you via 3 predefined lanes. Wait, what?

Cruel Bands Career screenshot
If these are the kind of fans rock groups get then count me out!

Here's another rock-inspired game! Cruel Bands Career is an interesting hurt-and-heal style of game where you primarily rotate your 3 band mates' positions. If a fan touches a band mate, they heal while the others take a bit of damage due to jealousy. Obviously, when angry crowd members touch someone, they get hurt and may even receive a status ailment; some of which reverse which people are good and bad. So, the gameplay is a constant juggle of choosing the best possible position. You won't emerge unscathed so the goal is to receive as little damage as possible while trying to spread it out evenly before the stage ends. Throw in a bunch of power-ups and you're left with a quirky and enjoyable indie. That being said, it can get overwhelming at times and the gameplay becomes very repetitive.

The silly hand-drawn animations in Cruel Bands Career really amplify its unconventional gameplay and it's certainly worth experiencing.

Cruel Bands Career gameplay video →

Skully Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆

Have you ever wanted to play as a skull that can sink into mud and take on cool transformations? Well, here's a game for you.

Skully screenshot
Skully looks slightly bigger and grumpier than usual...

Skully is a unique 3D platformer where you roll a skull around while collecting stuff, avoiding hazards, fighting enemies, and solving puzzles. I was impressed with its opening couple of stages as its distinct style, cheesy narrator, impressive visuals, and fun gameplay culminated in an enjoyable formula. However, from then on, things sometimes became unbearably frustrating. For starters, the skull rolls around way too fast and taking damage is far too sensitive. Even if a little bit of your character is touching water, their health will deplete incredibly quickly. That being said, I enjoyed the transformations, sense of exploration, and minor puzzle solving a lot. As a result, I'd say that Skully is a solid game for 3D platformer fans but only if you have a great deal of patience and don't mind retrying again and again.

Simply put, if Skully featured a lot more fine-tuning and forgivable gameplay then it would have been a must-play 3D platformer.

Skully gameplay video → More 3D platformers

Naught Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Here's a 2D platformer where you rotate the stage instead of running left and right. Sound tricky? If so then you are 100% correct.

Naught screenshot
This groovy cat better keep its balance

Right off the bat, let me just say that Naught can be an exceptionally frustrating game. You play it by rotating the stage left and right as a cat-like fellow stumbles and slides around. You can also tap a button to rotate the stage 180° and jump although I found jumping to be difficult to wrap my head around, especially within the more confined hazard-filled sections. Each stage contains a few diamonds that you can collect and you can also acquire blue stuff which basically acts as the life system. The monochrome visuals and electronic soundtrack are great but I still found the gameplay to be too sensitive and unforgiving to be thoroughly enjoyable. Again, this is one of those games that you may enjoy if you have patience to spare but for everyone else, it can really get under your skin fast.

It's certainly not as smooth as Taito's 1989 classic Cameltry but Naught is still a fun and challenging indie where you control the stage.

Naught gameplay video → More games with feline protagonists

Dininho Adventures Review Switch ★★★☆☆

There are so many indie 2D platformers that it's bananas but I really can't resist one where you play as an adorable dinosaur chum.

Dininho Adventures screenshot
I love playing as this silly-looking dinosaur

Dininho Adventures has you play as the titular Dininho as you go on an adventure in order to retrieve stolen eggs and return them to their dinosaur mother. Although this premise is delightful, you end up collecting so many eggs that it's insane so it makes you wonder if you're stealing other poor dino moms' eggs while you're at it. Who knows? Anyway, the gameplay is simple as you run and jump around the stages which sometimes feature branching paths thus making collecting every egg a tricky endeavour. You can also climb, swim, duck, and perform a tail-whip attack to fend off enemies. Overall, the gameplay feels authentically retro although it is rather slippery which makes some jumps quite irritating. Plus, climbing stuff is as finicky as it is in Super Mario Bros. 2 but it's still a very cute and fun game.

It may star one of the silliest-looking protagonists ever yet Dininho Adventures offers some rewarding old-school platforming fun.

Dininho Adventures gameplay video → More games with dinosaurs

Wargroove: Double Trouble Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆

If you played the wonderful turn-based SRPG Wargroove already then I have good news for you: there's more via some cool new DLC!

Wargroove: Double Trouble screenshot
No one messes with these twins!

I played and reviewed Wargroove around this time last year and loved it. Now, you can download the Double Trouble add-on which is currently free. After enjoying it as much as I did, it's perplexing that they're not charging for it considering it's packed with great new mechanics such as a co-op dynamic that allows you to play with a chum, a brand new campaign, and a couple of new unit types in the form of riflemen and thieves. Shooting distant enemies and plundering strongholds for extra cash is satisfying stuff indeed. Plus, I loved the new characters of the hulking Wulfar and his goofy twin kids Errol & Orla. Needless to say, if you loved Wargroove and want to play more then downloading Double Trouble is a no-brainer and if you haven't played Wargroove yet, now's a great time to dive in.

Expansions don't get much more enjoyable than the wonderful Double Trouble and it makes Wargroove one value-packed experience.

Wargroove: Double Trouble gameplay video → Wargroove Review
Gameplay video playlist for Cool Indie Games 2020 38:27
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