Interesting Indie Games (Part 3)

Interesting Indie Games (Part 3)

Indies to lose your head over

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Rapid Fire Reviews on

If you play as many games as I do then you probably come across a lot of interesting indies so here are 8 rather intriguing recent games.

Helheim Hassle Review Xbox One ★★★★☆

Vikings are silly. Well, at least they are in Helheim Hassle so get ready to remove your head and limbs and go on a crazy adventure.

Helheim Hassle screenshot
That's one way to cheat, I guess

Helheim Hassle is a genuinely funny game. Before starting it, I knew it would be funny because the basic premise involves solving practical puzzles by removing your head and limbs which you can then control separately as well as throw around. However, the character dialogue had me cracking up more than the gameplay as the campaign is full of hilarious characters that are bursting with goofy personalities. The funniest part by far is watching people react when you remove your extremities as they're usually understandably disgusted. Anyway, the core gameplay allows for many unique puzzling situations as you use your head to squeeze through tight spaces and climb around with your arm. The amount of variety is excellent and on top of that, I didn't find any puzzle to be too perplexing or abstruse. That being said, some segments are rather tedious as you slowly inch your way towards a solution. Thankfully, these moments don't happen often.

The humour in Helheim Hassle is spot-on for a laugh-out-loud adventure and it provides many impressively rewarding puzzles as well.

Helheim Hassle gameplay video →

Darkestville Castle Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Old-school point-and-click adventure games are always a fun retro throwback but is the delightfully evil Darkestville Castle worthwhile?

Darkestville Castle screenshot
I don't get it... Is that supposed to be funny?

Right off the bat, I just want to say that I didn't find Darkestville Castle funny at all. However, considering I thought Helheim Hassle was hilarious and I don't enjoy Deadpool-style humour, perhaps you should take my opinion with a grain of salt. All of the jokes in Darkestville Castle just seemed so obvious and cookie-cutter to me and I cringed hard when the protagonist just said, "Haha, lube..." How is that funny? Lube is funny? Peepee. Did you laugh at that? If you did then you might like the humour in Darkestville Castle. With that out of the way, you play as an evil guy who lives in a castle and you find out that heroes are coming to deal with you. The resulting adventure is extremely typical of the genre and feels like it belongs in the '90s. That's not necessarily a bad thing but it doesn't really offer anything fresh and exciting. It's just a simple and solid point and click adventure game with some clever puzzles. That's about it.

Darkestville Castle is a standard point and click adventure that genre fans who are thirsty for more may enjoy but it's nothing special.

Darkestville Castle gameplay video →

Peaky Blinders: Mastermind Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Peaky Blinders: Mastermind is a game adaptation of the acclaimed Netflix show starring the handsome Cillian Murphy so let's check it out.

Peaky Blinders: Mastermind screenshot
Good thing we built all these sneaky overhead walkways

For the unfamiliar, Peaky Blinders tells the story of a bunch of criminals in 1919 Birmingham. Mastermind follows their antics as they steal and seek revenge on their rivals. When I started playing it, I was impressed by the amount of personality that it has although the lack of voice acting is kind of strange. Anyway, you control characters that you can swap between at any time and the goal is to complete each stage in as little time as possible. That's where the main gimmick comes in because you can rewind and fast-forward time as you wish so the key to mastering stages is to set up a chain of events as efficiently as possible. Using characters to distract guards, hold open doors, fetch keys, and crawl through passageways makes for an interesting blend of scenarios, especially when you factor in the stealth. On the other hand, it all doesn't quite add up to much and ends up feeling a bit flat as a result. It's still a nifty game, though.

Even with its clever premise, Peaky Blinders: Mastermind's campaign doesn't feel all that consequential yet it remains somewhat enjoyable.

Peaky Blinders: Mastermind gameplay video → Let's Play Peaky Blinders: Mastermind video →

The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆

Here's a twin-stick action game where you can control time. That sounds cool but does The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines deliver?

The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines screenshot
Warning: don't actually throw broadswords at folks

The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines has you traverse areas while trying to defeat all of the enemies in order to progress to the next area. You do so by aiming and shooting arrows, casting magic, or throwing boomerang-like weapons. You can also pause time around you by holding a button which you can utilize in both combat and puzzles. For example, if you pause an enemy when it's vulnerable and unleash blows on it then you'll inflict much more damage. You can also manipulate time to dash across falling bridges and destroy boulders. Although all of this works, the core gameplay is very basic and it doesn't really evolve much throughout. You get more weapons and armour and there's a nifty food-based heal system yet the gameplay manages to still be disappointingly one-note.

If The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines featured more gameplay variety besides its basic gimmick then it would've been much more fun.

The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines gameplay video →

Bite the Bullet Review Switch ★★★☆☆

When you eat lots of food, you'll either get super-buff or super-fat and Bite the Bullet takes that concept to the extreme.

Bite the Bullet screenshot
Don't shoot where you eat

Bite the Bullet is a run and gun 2D action game where you shoot at enemies then you can eat whatever happens to pop out of them. Eating does things like increase your health and allow you to transform into a monster so it's fun to eat everything you come across just to see what happens. With that in mind; it can be a pretty gross game as you watch your character eat a bunch of disgusting crap only to later throw it up. Besides this interesting mechanic, it's a standard run and gun game that doesn't do much to stand out in the genre and there are some rough glitches currently, too. I even noticed some input delay when I played it on my TV. It's still a lot of chaotic fun, though, so I recommend it to those looking for a quirky albeit gross take on the classic genre.

Bite the Bullet is a solid action game but not everyone will enjoy watching their character eat and barf their way through the journey.

Bite the Bullet gameplay video →

Neko Navy - Daydream Edition Review Switch ★★★☆☆

If you enjoy cute and lighthearted fun with a retro feel then Neko Navy - Daydream Edition is a feline-filled funfest for you.

Neko Navy - Daydream Edition screenshot
Neko Navy is perhaps the happiest shmup I've ever played

Neko Navy - Daydream Edition is a classic shoot 'em up game even if it doesn't look like what you'd expect from the genre. You play as cats who each have their own shooting patterns and the gameplay simply has you avoiding enemy fire as you shoot. There's a bomb button, too, for whenever you're in a sticky situation. The stages are filled with lovely visuals and adorable animations that make it hard not to smile as you play. Also, the music is surprisingly awesome. However, the gameplay is just so basic and the stages merely consist of blasting away enemy hordes that rarely have clever formations so it ends up being a rather typical shmup at its core.

It may be a cute and fun game featuring great music but Neko Navy - Daydream Edition doesn't quite break out of the genre mold.

Neko Navy - Daydream Edition gameplay video → More shoot 'em ups

Zero Strain Review Xbox One ★★★★☆

Here we have an action-packed shooter that's sure to test your reflexes within its flashy and exciting world. Let's get shooting!

Zero Strain screenshot
It may look overly chaotic but Zero Strain is a blast

Zero Strain is a shooter where you take out enemies on suspended platform arenas. Once you clear a platform's objective, it disappears and you descend to challenge the next one. The gameplay is similar to a twin-stick shooter but instead, you lock on to your target as you fly and dash out of harm's way. As you defeat enemies, you'll collect energy that's used to power up 3 special weapons and deploying those makes dealing with tricky opponents much easier. Your ultimate goal is to clear stages in order to collect power for your home base which is some sort of space station and doing so offers a rewarding gameplay loop that manages to always keep you motivated.

The shooting action in Zero Strain is frantic, fun, and challenging and its campaign setup will keep you hooked until you master it.

Zero Strain gameplay video →

The Alto Collection Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆

Endless runners aren't as popular as they once were but here's a new collection of 2 nifty ones that are literally tricky to master.

The Alto Collection screenshot
Who knew snowboards could be useful on sand, too?

The Alto Collection contains 2 games: Alto's Adventure and Alto's Odyssey. Unfortunately, both games pretty much play exactly the same with some very minor differences. All you essentially do is snowboard down a series of hills while only using 1 button to jump over chasms, hop over rocks, perform tricks, and grind on ropes. Also, the first game has you collect llamas while the second lets you smash pots and bounce on hot air balloons. Even though the gameplay is simple and enjoyable in short bursts, the visuals are impressive with their striking aesthetic. The foregrounds always manage to contrast perfectly with the backgrounds which is especially cool considering that the time of day changes as you play. Levelling up while you complete quests and get high scores is fun but it's still a simple formula.

Its mobile roots definitely show but The Alto Collection offers some enjoyable albeit simplistic gameplay with eye-popping visuals.

The Alto Collection gameplay video →
Gameplay video playlist for Interesting Indie Games (Part 3) thumbnail
Gameplay video playlist for Interesting Indie Games (Part 3) 52:22
Mega Man 8 Trivia

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