There sure have been a lot of great indies lately so why not play some more? Here are my thoughts on 8 recent cool indie games.
Ary and the Secret of Seasons Review Xbox One ★★★★☆
I love when 3D platformers bring me back to the golden era of the genre and Ary and the Secret of Seasons is one wonderful game.
Ary and the Secret of Seasons stars the titular Aryelle who's on a mission to restore the seasons to her world and confront the evil forces who created chaos across the land. The core gameplay is quite standard for a 3D platformer as you explore the overworld, conquer tricky dungeons, and beat up dastardly creatures. However, what makes the gameplay magical is that you have the ability to change the season at the press of a button. Few things are more satisfying than seeing a large gap then summoning winter to materialize ice columns that you can then leap between in order to cross it. As you do so, the beautiful environments change as well which creates a rather impressive feast for the eyes. From its puzzles to its side-quests, Ary and the Secret of Seasons is full of delightful gameplay. However, it must be said that there is the odd glitch and its combat is quite clunky but thankfully, it isn't the primary focus of the gameplay.
As a fan of classic 3D platformers, I found Ary and the Secret of Seasons to be a magical and beautiful game and it's great fun, too.Ary and the Secret of Seasons gameplay video → More 3D platformers
Moon: Remix RPG Adventure Review Switch ★★★★☆
Some games are ahead of their time and this is the case with Moon: Remix RPG Adventure which debuted for PS1 back in 1997.
It's awesome that modern gamers in the west actually get to enjoy the classic PS1 adventure game Moon: Remix RPG Adventure. For the unfamiliar, it's an anti-RPG in that it subverts your expectations and openly mocks tropes in the genre. In fact, aside from the short introductory sequence, the gameplay isn't really an RPG at all as you explore its world while completing tasks as you would in a pure adventure game. The sense of humour within is definitely my cup of tea and I found myself laughing out loud quite a bit, especially at the opening minutes. Anyway, the goal is to basically follow a haphazard hero around while making the world a better place by cleaning up after his messes. It doesn't necessarily have great gameplay but its novel concept and originality have held up beautifully.
Playing Moon: Remix RPG Adventure nowadays cemented my notion that some games are truly timeless and it's quite funny, too.Moon: Remix RPG Adventure gameplay video →
Hotshot Racing Review Xbox One ★★★★☆
Racing games may not be as popular or as enjoyable as they once were so here's a racer that showcases just how fun the genre can be.
Hotshot Racing is a classic arcade-style racer that might look dated but it plays wonderfully. While other racing games try to be realistic or offer complex gameplay mechanics, what we have here is a back-to-basics approach that really scratched an itch that I didn't realise I had. I grew up obsessed with games like R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 and Hotshot Racing feels exactly like the sort of game that I wouldn't have been able to put down. In fact, I still find it hard to put down. Even when I lost races, I'd keep trying because I knew I could handle certain corners better and as my skills grew and I learned to drift properly, I ended up having a blast with Hotshot Racing. Plus, there's a whopping 16 tracks, a cast of unique characters with their own vehicles, fun-filled modes, and local and online multiplayer.
Retro racers definitely don't get much better than Hotshot Racing so if you have a fondness for racing in the '90s, you're sure to love it.Hotshot Racing gameplay video →
Street Power Soccer Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆
Professional sports are so boring so let's take to the streets and enjoy some friendly matches of the brand new Street Power Soccer.
Right off the bat, Street Power Soccer's visuals don't really set a good first impression as it looks like a PS2 game. However, when I got over that hurdle and turned the annoying music down, I found myself having a lot of fun with its arcade-style gameplay. The primary component that sets it apart from similar games is its trick-based moves that you'll have to master if you want to win. For example, you can volley the ball between teammates, put a curve on your kick to score goals, and even use power-ups and special moves. This gameplay grew on me as I played and I ended up having a lot of fun dribbling past opponents with tricky dodging moves and scoring goals in clever ways. I also enjoy the character animations a lot as watching teammates cheer each other on is quite endearing.
There's certainly some fun to be had with the tricky gameplay of Street Power Soccer although its visuals are disappointingly dated.Street Power Soccer gameplay video →
Bake 'n Switch Review Switch ★★★☆☆
Co-op games are all the rage in the indie scene and I've been looking forward to Bake 'n Switch but is it any good? Let's find out.
When I first watched trailers for Bake 'n Switch, I assumed that it was some sort of Overcooked-style game because it features a baking theme as well as co-op multiplayer but oh boy, was I wrong. That being said, it's not a bad game. Its gameplay is very arcade-like in that it has a simple premise yet many fun wrinkles get added to the equation as you progress. The main goal is to throw specified dough-based creatures into an oven and if you put the wrong type in, you get penalized. You do so by running around and picking up critters then throwing them into each other which makes them combine and become larger thus granting you more points. Meanwhile, sticky enemies try to thwart your progress but you can thankfully slap them away. Although I enjoyed all of the variety such as new hazards, the ability to flavour creatures, and optional super-difficult stages, the gameplay remains rather simplistic and it gets tiresome fast.
Bake 'n Switch is a goofy arcade-style co-op game that features some fun mechanics yet its core gameplay remains rather flat.Bake 'n Switch gameplay video →
Shing! Review PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆
Few genres lend themselves to co-op gameplay as well as a good old beat 'em up so here's one where you hack and slash monsters.
Shing! is yet another arcade-style game and this one allows up to 4 local players to play cooperatively. It stars a cast of snarky characters and I didn't find its humour all that funny with its constant swearing and obvious jokes but that's just like, my opinion, man. Anyway, you fight enemies by flicking the right stick in all sorts of directions which makes it stand out as a unique game. With that said, flicking the stick isn't as satisfying as tapping buttons which is something that Jet Li: Rise to Honor made me realise back in 2004. Also, I constantly found myself accidentally attacking in the wrong direction. On the plus side, the combat is still kind of fun and Shing! features a lot of variety as you'll end up solving puzzles and partaking in optional challenge rooms. Oh, and there's a lot of blood which is cool.
I wish that Shing! stuck with traditional controls because it offers a fantastic campaign but the controls make it much less fun.Shing! gameplay video → More beat 'em ups
Witcheye Review Switch ★★★☆☆
I bet you've never played a game where you merely control an eyeball so why not give Witcheye a try and see if it casts a spell on you?
Speaking of flicking sticks around, Witcheye has you control an eyeball that perpetually moves and bounces off walls as you flick the stick in whichever direction you want it to head next. That's basically all there is to it although controlling the eyeball is much more challenging than you'd think. In fact, it can be highly frustrating at times such as when you try and attack shielded enemies from behind but they turn around at just the right moment to damage you. This level of challenge is well-implemented, though, as you get a solid amount of health and trying to find all of the gems hidden within each level adds some substantial replay value. Even though it's mostly a one-trick pony at its core, I love its retro visuals and toppling the difficult boss fights is satisfying stuff indeed.
Witcheye is a solid game and it makes for a fun time whenever you want a quick fix of unconventional and challenging 2D gameplay.Witcheye gameplay video →
Deleveled Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆
Not many genres feature as much variety as 2D puzzle platformers and Deleveled is frankly unlike anything I've ever played before.
Deleveled is a puzzler with simple mechanics that make mastering stages require a great deal of planning and strategy. You simultaneously control 2 squares and the center of gravity is divided in each stage. Therefore, the square at the top falls down while the one at the bottom falls up. If you manage to align them vertically then they can bounce off of each other one at a time so the goal is to line them up and try to reach the goal with both boxes. They can become off-centre when you push against walls which you'll regularly have to do and there are switches that you must push which unlocks the goal after you toggle them all. The resulting gameplay is enjoyable and satisfying although the trial and error approach can be tiresome and seemingly insignificant mistakes may cause headaches.
Although I enjoyed my time with Deleveled, it definitely has its frustrating moments. However, I still recommend it to 2D puzzle fans.Deleveled gameplay video →