In this season of AAA games, it's easy to lose sight of the indie gaming scene so here are 7 recent indies that are worth playing.
Mistover Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆
If you're in the mood for a challenging and unique spin on classic RPGs then Mistover is just the game for you.
Mistover is a cross between classic turn-based RPGs and Mystery Dungeon games. Basically, you create a team of adventurers then head to a dungeon in the hopes of completing quests. These dungeons are set up like Mystery Dungeons in that whenever you move, your enemies do, too. Once you encounter one, you enter a turn-based battle screen where you command your army. Both your and your enemies' teams are situated on a grid and you must move allies so they can maximize the damage they can cause with their array of skills. The challenge comes in survival aspects where you must satisfy your party's hunger and ensure that you have enough light and HP. However, this is also the most frustrating part of the gameplay because you can easily run low on resources. With that said, the gorgeous art, fantastic audio, and high degree of challenge will surely delight hardcore dungeon crawling fans.
I imagine that less patient gamers will dismiss Mistover but once you let it hook you, it's a tough RPG to put down.Mistover gameplay video →
Cat Quest II Review Xbox One ★★★★☆
Playing as cats in a fantasy action RPG sounds like a good time and Cat Quest II proves that it indeed is.
A couple of years back, I played through and reviewed Cat Quest and didn't think it would receive a sequel but I'm very happy that it finally has. Cat Quest II is a very similar experience so if you'd like to learn more about it then please read my full review of the original. Here, I'd like to discuss the differences and how it has improved upon its predecessor. For starters, you're accompanied with a feline friend that you can either swap to on the fly or have a second player control. Right away, this adds a wonderful layer of comradery as well as variety considering the fact that each cat can have their own equipment and skill loadout. I made one cat good at close-range combat while the other one excelled in long-range attacks. Anyway, this sequel runs smoothly and its world is filled with goofy kitty fun.
Cat Quest II took what made the original special and amplified the fun with co-op multiplayer and a variety of enjoyable quests.Cat Quest II gameplay video → Cat Quest Review
Sparklite Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆
If a Zelda-style roguelike with pixel-perfect visuals piques your interest then you should definitely play Sparklite.
Sparklite has you play as a charming mechanic named Ada who utilizes a variety of gadgets to assist her in traversing the monster-infested world. The gameplay loop basically involves organizing your loadout at the hub area in the sky then heading down to the dungeon area below whenever you're prepared. Each time you perish, the dungeons randomize so you never know what you'll encounter next. I was pleasantly surprised by how much there is to do in these dungeons and enjoyed making new discoveries. For example, you'll end up helping out lost chums, fighting tricky bosses, solving puzzles with gadgets, and traversing challenge rooms in order to claim some sort of treasure. Back at the hub, it's incredibly satisfying to upgrade the few workshops, labs, and such while installing power-up chips in a grid, unlocking new gadgets, and equipping a bonus item. It can be a tough game but it's certainly an enjoyable one.
Those who enjoy gradually powering up while conquering procedurally generated Zelda-style dungeons will have a blast with Sparklite.Sparklite gameplay video →
Dark Devotion Review PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆
2D action RPGs that play like Dark Souls are a thing now so here's Dark Devotion from The Arcade Crew.
Having played and reviewed games such as Salt and Sanctuary and Blasphemous, I can safely say that it's going to be tough for a similar game to top those. Unfortunately, Dark Devotion does not but it's still a solid game, especially if you want a brutal challenge to overcome. The gameplay is essentially what you'd expect as you must keep stamina in mind while battling foes as you carefully dodge attacks and sneak in a few of your own. You'll inevitably fail time and time again but the more you play, the more stat boosts you receive which may just be enough to help you master a particularly tough boss or situation. Although all of this sounds great, I found the controls to be unintuitive and rather clunky and you can't even customize them. Also, managing stamina can be downright unforgiving when you're facing off with an agile foe. That being said, I felt a sense of satisfaction with every checkpoint that I made it to.
Dark Devotion is one of the most brutally challenging 2D action RPGs and the controls definitely don't complement its tough gameplay.Dark Devotion gameplay video →
Tracks: The Train Set Game Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆
Playing with wooden toy trains is a memorable pastime of many and now, you can make your own virtual ones.
I recall being obsessed with my wooden toy train set when I was a kid. Laying out an elaborate track across the living room floor then pushing my train with magnet-connected compartments through it was so much fun. As a result, playing Tracks: The Train Set Game brought back a lot of fond memories. In this game, you can either have sandbox fun or take on challenges which involve delivering passengers to their destinations. It takes quite a while to get used to the controls but once you do, you'll find yourself plotting tracks with ease while mastering fun challenges. There's a wide selection of decorative items that you can place as well so you can create your own delightful little towns and such which is great for creative types. However, the overall gameplay could use a lot of fine-tuning because it's somewhat buggy and the physics aren't very realistic whether you're placing tracks in mid-air or driving the train.
Tracks: The Train Set Game would be a great game if it were more polished. As it is, I can only recommend it to fellow train enthusiasts.Tracks: The Train Set Game gameplay video →
Close to the Sun Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆
First-person mystery horror games are plentiful in the indie scene so let's see how well Close to the Sun holds up in the genre.
Close to the Sun stars Rose Archer who's on a mission to find her sister Ada. At first, it appears to be not much more than your average first-person adventure game complete with rewarding puzzles and a good amount of exploration within surprisingly detailed environments. However, as the campaign goes on, the horror element begins to emerge as you come across corpses, cryptic messages, and eventually encounter monsters that may chase you around. Although the environmental visuals look fantastic, the gameplay is where the experience begins to falter a bit because it can get frustrating, especially when you're being chased and don't know where to run. You'll also wander around aimlessly at times but don't get me wrong; it's still an immersive and thrilling game that'll keep you on edge.
If you like first-person adventure games of the horror and mystery variety then you'll definitely enjoy Close to the Sun.Close to the Sun gameplay video →
MechaNika Review PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆
Classic point and click adventure games aren't as common as they once were but MechaNika is here and it's a neat little game.
A couple of months ago, I played and reviewed Agatha Knife which was developed by Mango Protocol. Little did I know, that was actually the second game that they created with the first being MechaNika. Both are extremely similar games in that they star deranged little girls. However, whereas I found Agatha Knife's story and imagery to be rather off-putting, MechaNika is much funnier. It's still a rather disturbing and unsettling game but the dark humour is much easier to enjoy. Anyway, you play as Nika who's a child genius. After feeling out of place and ignored at both school and at home, she decides to create an apocalyptic device to get revenge on the world that she hates so much. If you ever get stuck and don't know how to progress, you can drink a Cognac cocktail which reveals if you can do anything in the current room. Needless to say, that's pretty messed up but it's still an enjoyable albeit short adventure.
Mango Protocol's twisted sense of humour is in full force in MechaNika so if you love dark humour and adventure games, give it a go.MechaNika gameplay video → Agatha Knife Review Colossus Down Review