If you want a quick gaming hit, nothing beats an easy to pick-up-and-play indie so here are 7 recent uncomplicated experiences.
Piczle Cross Adventure Review Switch ★★★★☆
I love Picross games and placing the classic puzzle gameplay in an adventure surely sounds awesome so let's play Piczle Cross Adventure.
Let me start by saying that I'm very impressed with Piczle Cross Adventure. For starters, the dialogue is downright hilarious and I absolutely love the main character Score-chan and her little critter friend Gig. From what I understand, they also starred in Piczle Lines DX and Piczle Colors but I haven't played those games yet. Anyway, the delightful humour goes hand-in-hand with the colourful pixel-filled world and catchy soundtrack that'll have you tapping your toes as you play. The campaign has you basically try and materialize missing items in the game world by solving nonograms and as you play, you'll level up and acquire gadgets that help add some replay value such as a book that lets you keep track of all the puzzles and a map. It's simple stuff and I wish there were more modes and variety of puzzles but what you get is a charming and funny game that's very difficult to put down once you start playing.
Piczle Cross Adventure is perhaps my favourite Picross-style game. From its rewarding campaign to its charm; what's not to love?Piczle Cross Adventure gameplay video → More games that play like Picross
Task Force Kampas Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆
I've been playing a lot of shoot 'em ups on Xbox One lately and Task Force Kampas is definitely a fun one so let's check it out!
Task Force Kampas is a simple vertical shmup where you basically hold a button to shoot while dodging projectiles, hazards, and enemies. One nifty mechanic is that you can recharge your health whenever you don't shoot which is handy but it also makes the screen fill up with enemies faster. Speaking of enemies, this is one of those shoot 'em ups where you merely face an onslaught of random foes then fight a boss from time to time. Although this makes the gameplay feel fresh for each run, it also doesn't feel as fine-tuned as many of the classic shmups which feature carefully-crafted stages and memorable scenarios. It's still a great deal of fun to try and achieve a high score, though, and I do enjoy the soundtrack which is just awesome and probably worth the price of the game on its own.
If Task Force Kampas featured a more structured campaign then it would easily be a must-have shoot 'em up. It's still very fun, though.Task Force Kampas gameplay video → More shoot 'em ups
Flatland Vol.1 Review Switch ★★★☆☆
Here's a 2D platformer where you can jump off walls while avoiding hazards! Yes, it's a lot like Super Meat Boy but is it fun?
Flatland Vol.1 has you control a yellow square as you traverse a grueling 2D laser-filled world while listening to a cool '80s-style synthesizer-heavy soundtrack. As you progress, you'll discover new hazards that make segments super-tricky to overcome and once you perish, you merely start at the beginning of the room where you bit the dust. Whether you're jumping quickly from disappearing platforms, evading pesky enemies, or trying to reach a difficult collectible, you'll realise that you're in for quite a steep challenge. With that being said, there have been tons of games with a similar formula created within the past decade and Flatland Vol.1 simply doesn't do enough to separate itself from the crowd. The minimal visuals and cool soundtrack only go so far before the feeling of "been there, done that" sinks in.
With so many similar games out there, Flatland Vol.1 doesn't quite stand out from the crowd but it does provide a satisfying challenge.Flatland Vol.1 gameplay video → More games that play like Super Meat Boy
Slayin 2 Review Switch ★★★☆☆
Single-screen arena combat games aren't as common as they once were but Slayin 2 is here to liven up the classic genre.
Slayin 2 has you control a little warrior fellow who smashes up monsters in various locales across his pixelated game world. The gameplay involves running left and right as you automatically dispatch enemies. You can also jump, change the plane that you're on, and perform a powerful attack known as a slay spark whenever it's charged. In addition to the goofy story mode, you can challenge an arcade mode as well as play cooperatively with a friend which are nice additions. Plus, there are unlockable heroes and weapons to discover. Even though I had some fun with Slayin 2 and the graphics are lovely, there's no denying that the core gameplay gets extremely repetitive after a short while due to its simplistic nature. The enemy variety helps with this but you'll still end up going through the same motions.
If you want some mindless arcade-style fun then Slayin 2 is definitely worth playing for its immediately gratifying gameplay.Slayin 2 gameplay video →
Antigraviator Review Xbox One ★★★★☆
Racing games featuring anti-gravity vehicles have been popular since the mid-'90s but does Antigraviator elevate futuristic racing?
I know what you're thinking and yes; Antigraviator is an obvious WipEout clone. It not only looks very similar but it plays a lot like it, too. Of course, it's not as refined as the classic franchise but it's impressive in its own right. You essentially race by steering and gliding around tight corners and one element that makes it stand out is its boost system. As you race, you'll collect pick-ups that can be converted to boost and you'll regularly gather enough of them that you can consistently boost through most tracks which makes for an exhilarating experience. Between races, you can upgrade your vehicle and purchase new ones which makes a substantial difference and there's local and online multiplayer as well. Oh, and you can trigger traps like you can in Split/Second although doing so here isn't as epic.
It's not as fantastic as WipEout but Antigraviator is certainly a capable and enjoyable racer that'll keep you on the edge of your seat.Antigraviator gameplay video → Similar game: WipEout Omega Collection
Super Toy Cars 2 Review Xbox One ★★★★☆
I love racers where you control toy cars and I'm happy to say that Super Toy Cars 2 is one of the best games in this specific genre.
Back in 2016, I reviewed the original Super Toy Cars and wasn't all that impressed with it. When I started playing Super Toy Cars 2, I wasn't impressed with it either. For whatever reason, the gameplay didn't click with me and it took me a long time to be able to play it effectively but once I did, I realised how simple and enjoyable it is. You basically have to skillfully drift around corners if you want a chance at succeeding as doing so grants a significant boost in speed. When you combine this with the silly power-ups, vehicle damage, variety of race types, local and online multiplayer, and the upgrade system between races where you can purchase new vehicles, too; you're left with one rewarding and fully featured racing game. There's also a great soundtrack featuring indie pop and rock bands.
It may not look like a top-notch racing game but Super Toy Cars 2 surely provides a great deal of racing fun that's hard to put down.Super Toy Cars 2 gameplay video → Super Toy Cars Review
Where Angels Cry Review Switch ★★★☆☆
A point and click adventure game with hidden objects and mini-games sounds pretty cool so let's check out Where Angels Cry.
This is actually the fourth adventure game by Cateia Games that I've played and reviewed yet Where Angels Cry initially released on PC back in 2012 which was before the other 3. It's kind of weird that its sequel (Where Angels Cry: Tears of the Fallen) released before it on Switch, isn't it? Anyway, Where Angels Cry offers a similar formula to the other games which has you exploring complicated screens while trying to piece things together, solving mini-games, and talking to NPCs. I actually found Where Angels Cry to be the most engaging out of the 4 as its dialogue and puzzles felt more immersive. With that said, similar issues persist such as its low quality assets and videos, occasional abstruse solutions, and such yet it remains a mostly compelling journey for fans of old-school adventure games.
If you played any of Cateia Games' adventures then you'll know exactly what to expect with Where Angels Cry. However, that isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially if you can forgive the dated assets and occasional frustrating moments.Where Angels Cry gameplay video → Where Angels Cry: Tears of the Fallen Collector's Edition Review The Man With The Ivory Cane Review Black Rainbow Review Myths of Orion: Light from the North Review