Innovative Indie Games (Part 2)

Innovative Indie Games (Part 2)

Play something unique for once

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Rapid Fire Reviews on

With so many copycats crowding the indie gaming scene, here are 7 innovative indies that stand out proudly from the crowd.

Arise: A Simple Story Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆

If you love 3D platformers as much as I do then you'll have a lot to sink your teeth into with the reality-altering Arise: A Simple Story.

Arise: A Simple Story screenshot
How did that old man get so tiny anyway?

Arise: A Simple Story tells the tale of an old man who's reliving his memories via visiting abstract locales. While there, you can manipulate time by tilting the right stick. Depending on your current environment, this can have different effects such as melting snow and making cobwebs appear. When I first started playing it, I didn't actually enjoy it as the core platforming can be a bit finicky as it causes you to regularly not make carefully-planned jumps. However, after getting used to the controls and mastering a few stages, I began to absolutely love my time with Arise: A Simple Story. Plus, the gorgeous visuals and rewarding hidden collectibles add a ton of value to the overall package. This is quite simply a beautiful indie that you should definitely play at some point if you're a fan of unique games.

Those who enjoy 3D platformers with a twist will love their time with Arise: A Simple Story and its gorgeous world.

Arise: A Simple Story gameplay video →

Tools Up! Review Xbox One ★★★★☆

Here's an excellent indie for fans of fun local co-op games so call up a friend or 3 and let's fix up this joint!

Tools Up! screenshot
Home repairs may seem like a pain but Tools Up! makes them fun

On the surface, Tools Up! appears to be merely an Overcooked clone. However, it's far from it. You basically try and fix up an apartment as efficiently as possible with up to 4 players. The basic gameplay has you replace wall and floor decor as well as performing other simple renovation tasks yet everything becomes quite complex as you'll find yourself maximizing the usage of your only bucket, fishing stuff out of a river, and even setting traps for delivery people so they fall on their bums thus giving you a bit more time to claim their construction materials. It's such an open-ended formula that you can even throw your friends over walls in order to give them a little boost. In the end, I had a blast with this as it really pushes your imagination as you try and think up new clever ways to master each level.

Tools Up! may be a bit unpolished but it's fun enough to receive the couch co-op torch from genre greats like Overcooked.

Tools Up! gameplay video →

Immortal Planet Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆

If you're a fan of Dark Souls like I am then here's a very impressive retro-style spin on the modern action RPG formula.

Immortal Planet screenshot
Isometric Dark Souls? Sign me up!

Immortal Planet is another game that I didn't think much of when I started playing it. The combat seemed clunky and odd but once it all started to click, I took great pleasure in dispatching the many foes lurking within its world's corridors. In fact, the combat is so visceral that it reminded me a great deal of Bloodborne, especially considering you have both melee and long-range weapons. There's nothing quite like evading enemy attacks so their stamina depletes then dashing into them to stun them only to finish them off with a killer combo. Plus, using your gun for a few extra cheap shots and briefly stunning foes with your magic lightning attack adds a fun layer to combat. Even after you master taking out regular foes, the bosses are brutal and each area features brand new enemy types which take a long time to get used to. As a result, mastering each locale is a highly enjoyable and rewarding feat.

The combat in Immortal Planet is so satisfying that it's a must-have for any Souls fan, especially if you want a retro take on the formula.

Immortal Planet gameplay video →

Gang Beasts Review PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆

Gang Beasts is one strange brawler where you control odd gelatinous human-like beings but is it any fun? Let's take it to the streets!

Gang Beasts screenshot
Playing as jelly-like humans is much more frustrating than it sounds

Gang Beasts came out a couple years back but it has a brand new physical release so I figured I'd finally try it out. Although it looks like a crazy game and watching others play it makes it seem exciting, it's literally one of the most irritating games that I've ever played. That being said, this is clearly by design as the fun factor relies on sloppy controls and characters that stubbornly move like they're hopped up on morphine or something. Anyway, you basically run around, jump, and control your arms to hit or carry your opponents. Doing so in order to throw them into a stage hazard and watch them meet their demise is actually pretty satisfying and there are even extra modes such as soccer which is quite enjoyable, too. That being said, you likely won't play it for much longer than half an hour at a time.

Gang Beasts comes across more like a novelty than a fully fleshed out game but that doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't fun.

Gang Beasts gameplay video →

We Were Here Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆

Local co-op games may be all the rage but We Were Here is made for online cooperative gameplay so let's see how that worked out.

We Were Here screenshot
Try describing this odd painting to a friend...

We Were Here can best be described as an escape room game where each participant is separated yet can talk into a walkie-talkie in order to work together to solve puzzles. Almost all of these puzzles involve describing things to the other player then they must use that information to work something out that will unlock the doors to the next area. However, the things that you describe are frequently ambiguous as 2 symbols or paintings may only be slightly different so it can be an exceptionally challenging game. Throw in puzzles that have timers and you're left with a co-op game that'll make you want to rip your hair out at times. Thankfully, it's quite short and can easily be completed within 1 gaming session. Once you do, the sense of satisfaction is indeed worth the journey.

There aren't many online-only first-person co-op puzzle adventure games so if you want something truly innovative, play this.

We Were Here trailer →

We Were Here Too Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆

Shortly after We Were Here made its console debut, this sequel released but does it do enough to break from its predecessor's mold?

We Were Here Too screenshot
How about describing 3 weird stained glass windows?

We Were Here Too is essentially a more refined iteration of the original We Were Here and it's much longer, too. Overall, I found the puzzles to be less abstruse yet more complicated, if that makes any sense. In other words, figuring out what you have to do generally takes less time but actually working on each puzzle requires more time. This is because the puzzles are much more elaborate and regularly involve doing the same sort of task multiple times in a row. This is actually my main complaint with this sequel as I'd much rather do something once as opposed to repeating similar tasks over and over again. For example, one part has a player try and guide the other player through a timed maze and you have to do so about 5 times in a row and if you fail at any step, you have to start the whole thing all over again. Don't get me wrong; it's a solid game that's very rewarding to master but these parts drove me nuts.

If you and your online pal liked We Were Here then playing this sequel should be a no-brainer. Just be cautious of its repetitive nature.

We Were Here Too trailer →

Bridge Constructor Portal: Portal Proficiency Review Xbox One ★★★★☆

Bridge Constructor Portal is a fantastic practical physics-based construction puzzler and this new DLC brings it to a whole new level.

Bridge Constructor Portal: Portal Proficiency screenshot
As if Bridge Constructor Portal wasn't fun enough already!

I've been a huge fan of Bridge Constructor since it made its console debut and I loved my time with Bridge Constructor Portal. So, I just had to try out this DLC pack and I'm very glad that I did. It basically consists of 30 brand new stages that incorporate a new mechanic; the ability to place your very own portals! This adds a super-fun dimension to solving the elaborate puzzles and contrasts perfectly with constructing bridges and ramps. Keep in mind, you'll have to do both to complete these tricky levels so hardcore Bridge Constructor fans will be thoroughly challenged. Plus, watching a convoy of vehicles fly through carefully-placed portals is quite the sight.

Portal Proficiency is an excellent piece of DLC so if you want more Bridge Constructor Portal, you'll have a blast with this new content.

Bridge Constructor Portal: Portal Proficiency gameplay video → Bridge Constructor Portal Review
Gameplay video playlist for Innovative Indie Games (Part 2) 31:57
Stardew Valley Trivia

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