2021 has been quite a ride for indie games so far and I've been playing a lot recently so here are 8 that I've been itching to share.
Tank Brawl 2: Armor Fury Review Xbox One ★★★★☆
Old-school overhead military games are quite an underrated genre so here's Tank Brawl 2: Armor Fury in all of its retro-style glory.
Tank Brawl 2: Armor Fury is an action-packed arcade-style game that you can enjoy with up to 4 players via either local or online co-op multiplayer. Its core gameplay essentially has you play as a little soldier guy who can pilot a variety of tanks which spawn at checkpoints. Whenever your tank takes too much damage and explodes, you run around as a vulnerable human which gives you a chance to run back to a checkpoint and hop in a tank before your enemies shoot you down. This formula alone makes playing it exciting and when you factor in the wide variety of vehicles, weapons, enemies, clever scenarios, and permanent upgrades; you're left with one thrilling shooting experience. It's quite challenging, too, and the stages basically blend together to form a massive, cohesive, and memorable game world.
Playing Tank Brawl 2: Armor Fury will make you have flashbacks to Capcom's Commando albeit with much more firepower and finesse.Tank Brawl 2: Armor Fury gameplay video →
El Hijo - A Wild West Tale Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆
I love a good old stealth game, especially one that brings the genre back to basics and El Hijo is a special example of one such game.
El Hijo - A Wild West Tale has you play as a boy who's trying to reunite with his mother. Speaking of which, you'll actually play as his mom in certain scenes as well which provides a well-rounded campaign because she's much more capable of causing damage. Specifically, the boy simply tries to sneak by guards while inspiring his fellow children which acts as the game's main collectible while his mom can activate bombs and blow up entire enemy strongholds. Anyway, the core gameplay will primarily have you time moving forward while staying out of guards' lines of sight as well as hiding in various places and clinging to walls to duck out of danger. There's also a variety of distraction gimmicks such as rocks that you can throw and toys that you can send marching in a straight line ahead of you. It's great stuff!
Navigating through El Hijo - A Wild West Tale's world is tense without being overwhelming which makes it a truly great stealth game.El Hijo - A Wild West Tale gameplay video → Let's Play El Hijo - A Wild West Tale video →
Get-A-Grip Chip Review Switch ★★★★☆
Chip was built to Get-A-Grip so let's recharge our batteries, swing to it, and see what this magnetic 2D platformer is all about.
Right off the bat, let me just say that I love when 2D platformers incorporate clever gameplay gimmicks and Get-A-Grip Chip does an awesome job of utilizing the little robot's magnetic grappling hook. Besides running and jumping, Get-A-Grip Chip will have you extend a magnet from your head which can latch onto nodes as well as levers and switches that can toggle stage features. You can also aim the magnet with the right stick before extending it although I found doing so to be quite tricky to pull off so I only did it whenever it was completely necessary. Anyway, beating levels in faster times and collecting all of the hidden batteries adds a ton of replay value to the equation. It may not be the most action-packed platformer but it's quite a rewarding one with some exceptionally clever gameplay.
Get-A-Grip Chip makes it fun to replay levels over and over again in order to find their collectibles and climb the leaderboards.Get-A-Grip Chip gameplay video → Let's Play Get-A-Grip Chip video →
Stacks On Stacks (On Stacks) Review Switch ★★★★☆
Once in a while, a game releases that feels like a long-lost gem from the Dreamcast era so here's Stacks On Stacks (On Stacks).
Stacks On Stacks (On Stacks) is an absolutely wacky game where you try to stack 3D objects that slowly descend from the sky in order to create stable structures of certain heights. I've played similar games that featured 2D gameplay but I've never played anything quite like this before. There's a certain amount of randomness involved, too, as you'll encounter many tricky object shapes and power-ups but nothing really feels unfair because it merely keeps you on your toes as you carefully lay each piece down. The funniest part about it is that when you complete a level, you use a wrecking ball to destroy your hard work. Oh noes! Anyway, factor in fun hazards including goofy enemies and a co-op multiplayer component as well as a versus split-screen mode and you're left with one fun-filled indie.
Between its wacky sense of humour, lively presentation, and tricky gameplay where you never really know what to expect, Stacks On Stacks (On Stacks) is one over-the-top indie that's sure to scratch your itch for fun-filled gaming that's on the goofy side.Stacks On Stacks (On Stacks) gameplay video →
Papa's Quiz Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆
I love trivia games yet few indies offer a unique spin on classic trivia so let's see if Papa's Quiz brings something new to the genre.
Papa's Quiz is a simple trivia game show that you play by going to a URL on your device of choice as you and your gaming chums watch the game show play out on your TV. Its most striking aspect is its colourful and quirky visuals that feature a silly host and his robot chum as well as the player avatars which you can design yourself by swapping out certain aspects. Before each question, you decide on a category by mashing buttons to steer an onscreen cursor which is a fun little tug-of-war that allows the popular choice to be made. As for the questions themselves, they're rather generic and you won't find any mind-bending tricky multi-layered questions like you get in games such as You Don't Know Jack. It's still a fun game, though, and making your character dance is a cute little touch.
Offering simple questions and featuring a lighthearted and fun-filled presentation, Papa's Quiz is a solid trivia game for all ages.Papa's Quiz gameplay video →
Magic Twins Review Switch ★★★★☆
Carefully controlling characters in order to strategically chain together correct moves sounds like a challenge so here's Magic Twins.
Magic Twins is a co-op game that you can play with a friend where each player controls a magician who are named Abra and Cadabra. The gameplay involves each player targeting coloured enemies that emerge from the centre of the playfield and the goal is to chain together the essences that enemies leave behind in order to cast spells. This creates quite a challenging formula because if you collect a wrong colour, you might screw up your chances of deploying the desired spell. Your attack projectiles are also coloured and they must match the colour of the enemy that they hit. I found the resulting gameplay to rely heavily on communication although you can play solo but it's not nearly as enjoyable. Considering co-op games are generally easy, my gaming chum and I enjoyed the challenge of Magic Twins.
As far as co-op games go, Magic Twins is one of the best as it's bursting with charm, fun content, and impressively challenging gameplay.Magic Twins gameplay video → More Switch Co-op Indie Games
Drive Buy Review Switch ★★★☆☆
When it comes to competitive vehicular arena combat games, Drive Buy delivers a fun online throwback to the genre. Let's check it out!
Drive Buy is a strange indie in that it requires an account to play so after entering a gibberish password that I would never use anywhere else, I dived into a few online matches and was kind of surprised that I could easily find opponents even though the game wasn't out yet. Were these AI players or people playing on another system? I'm still not sure but suspicious setup and online aside, Drive Buy is a fun little competitive game where you compete in various events. My favourite one is where you collect packages then deliver them to clients on a Pac-Man-style map. As you do so, you can unleash a variety of weapon pick-ups on your adversaries which may allow you to steal their hard-earned cash. Overall, I had some fun despite its subpar visuals and I especially appreciated the arcade-like controls.
If you want to play a simple online vehicle-based competitive arena game then Drive Buy thankfully offers some solid entertainment.Drive Buy gameplay video →
Paradise Lost Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆
There are far too many alternate history games involving World War II but Paradise Lost is quite unique in its storytelling and premise.
Paradise Lost tells the story of a Polish boy in 1980 who discovers a bunker after wandering the wastelands of his country. You see; WWII didn't end like it did in the real world because in this story, the war continued until the bad guys launched nuclear missiles which destroyed most of Europe. Great idea, Einstein. Anyway, you're on a journey to find a man who's seen in a photo with your now-deceased mom and as you explore the massive bunker, you'll meet a girl who communicates to you via speakers. Meanwhile, the atmosphere is brimming with tension and as you traverse the bunker, you'll constantly be on the edge of your seat. From the realistic sound effects to the eerie flashbacks and the immersively drab environments to the strange technological marvels; it's nearly impossible to not be captivated throughout. Thankfully, the puzzles are easy and it's also hard to get lost so everything is paced wonderfully.
If you're in the mood for a tense first-person narrative, turn the lights down and play Paradise Lost; it's a true atmospheric gem.Paradise Lost gameplay video →