Stylish Indie Games (Part 2)

Stylish Indie Games (Part 2)

Contemporary indies for modern gamers

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Rapid Fire Reviews on

Choosing your next indie game purchase can be tricky so let's see if these 7 stylish indies are worth adding to your gaming collection.

Songbird Symphony Review Switch ★★★★☆

Gamers looking for a laidback and adorable adventure will surely enjoy this cute bird-filled indie so let's boogie down!

Songbird Symphony screenshot
Birb makes everyone he meets happy!

Songbird Symphony stars a bird with a large posterior named Birb who doesn't know his real parents so he goes on an adventure to discover who he truly is. Firstly, he meets the wise old owl of the forest who notices Birb's natural ability to learn different bird's musical notes so he sets him off to learn each of the land's distinct notes. On your journey throughout each area, you'll meet plenty of NPCs who range from delightful to grumpy, perform simple platforming, master side-quests, and partake in fun rhythm game segments. Sometimes, you'll even have to sing certain notes while platforming to shift platforms and such. Anyway, Songbird Symphony may not feature any real sense of challenge but its adorable and colourful world, touching story, and easy breezy gameplay make it quite a joy to play.

If you're not turned off by Songbird Symphony's lack of challenge then it's sure to provide plenty of lighthearted entertainment.

Songbird Symphony gameplay video → Let's Play Songbird Symphony video →

Wargroove Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆

Turn-based strategy RPGs inspired by Advance Wars seem to be popping up frequently lately so does Wargroove stand out?

Wargroove screenshot
That's a good boy, Caesar!

Having just reviewed modern takes on Advance Wars in the form of Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble and War Theatre, I must admit that I'm a little burned out on the genre. That being said, Wargroove is certainly enjoyable complete with a large cast of colourful personalities, plenty of clever scenarios, and oodles of options to customize your experience. Playing through its campaign will take a long time but once you get into creating and sharing stages, challenging your friends in the multiplayer component, and mastering the arcade and puzzle modes, you're left with one huge game. Finally, I appreciate its appealing 2D visuals and innovative Groove system that allows hero characters to perform powerful boost abilities. I'd say out of the 3 games, Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble is still my favourite, though.

Wargroove definitely took a while to grow on me since it starts so slow but once it did, I was very happy with what it has to offer.

Wargroove gameplay video → Let's Play Wargroove video →

Robbie Swifthand and the Orb of Mysteries Review Switch ★★★★☆

If you've ever wanted to play a 2D platformer Tomb Raider with loads of deadly traps then here's a nifty new indie that's worth playing.

Robbie Swifthand and the Orb of Mysteries screenshot
Robbie Swifthand doesn't look very confident about jumping down that hole...

Before playing Robbie Swifthand and the Orb of Mysteries, I was expecting yet another generic 2D platformer but now that I've played it, I'm very impressed. For starters, controlling Robbie requires a great deal of careful planning and precision. He can run, jump, crouch, and throw an orb at a contraption that opens each stage's exit. While crouched, Robbie can move around and whenever you jump from this position, he leaps a tad higher. Each stage is filled with traps like swinging axes, spike strips, falling blocks, and swords that protrude from walls and as soon as you touch one, you have to start the stage all over again. Thankfully, each stage is quite short but they do feature hidden coins that act as the game's collectibles. There is a slight element of trial and error but if you carefully observe your surroundings and plan each move then you shouldn't experience much frustration. Overall, it's a tough and supremely satisfying formula.

Robbie Swifthand and the Orb of Mysteries is one of my favourite indies of the year with its rewarding gameplay and wealth of content.

Robbie Swifthand and the Orb of Mysteries gameplay video →

Solo: Islands of the Heart Review Xbox One ★★★★☆

Sometimes, it's fun to simply wind down with a laidback game featuring basic puzzles and Solo: Islands of the Heart is great for that.

Solo: Islands of the Heart screenshot
What? Do I have to answer or can I just keep playing?

Solo: Islands of the Heart is a 3D platformer where you work through archipelagos full of islands by solving basic puzzles. Its overarching theme of love is very in-your-face complete with constant pretentious scenarios and philosophical questions that you have to answer but if that's not your cup of tea then you can thankfully look past these moments and just enjoy the game. Progressing primarily relies on your ability to place blocks so you can reach lighthouses which make totems come to life. Soon into the adventure, you gain the ability to remotely lift and place blocks which makes things a lot more open-ended. Some blocks have special properties such as blowing wind out of one side or funneling water into a spout. Aside from this, you can complete side-quests to make critters happy such as by reuniting a couple of animals, watering a garden, taking pictures of certain things, and playing your guitar. It's enjoyable stuff indeed.

Although often pretentious, Solo: Islands of the Heart contains a delightful living world that's a joy to interact with.

Solo: Islands of the Heart gameplay video →

Telefrag VR Review PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆

PlayStation VR games featuring action-intense gameplay are too few and far between so let's see how fun Telefrag VR is.

Telefrag VR screenshot
Don't you hate accidentally recording a video when you meant to take a screenshot?

In Telefrag VR, you equip 2 different weapons then try and kill your opponent. This may sound simple but what makes Telefrag VR unique is that you can teleport to any traversable surface whenever you wish, even if it's on the ceiling! If you manage to warp into your opponent, you kill them instantly thus earning you a Telefrag. Whenever you perish, you must select 2 new guns and each type is limited so you can't get too comfortable with them. Anyway, playing with 2 PlayStation Move controllers is super-intuitive and the graphics and sound are spot-on for exciting arena combat. However, my main complaint is that there's little single player content and playing online only involves 1-on-1 matches. It would have been much more exciting to play with a bunch of people at once.

Telefrag VR features fast-paced gun-based combat but its content is rather limited, especially because it's for only up to 2 players.

Telefrag VR trailer →

Zombie Driver: Immortal Edition Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Zombie Driver has been around for a very long time and now that it's available for Switch, how well has it held up?

Zombie Driver: Immortal Edition screenshot
All these zombies are about to be dead... again...

Zombie Driver was made by EXOR Studios who created one of my favourite indies ever in X-Morph: Defense. Years and years before that released, they made Zombie Driver and it's already seen a few revisions on various consoles. However, the core gameplay remains the same as all you essentially do is run over and shoot zombies while carrying out missions. Doing so is rather satisfying but it also feels quite generic for today's standards. The most dated part of the gameplay is the overhead camera which makes it feel like you're controlling a helicopter that's merely observing the carnage as opposed to the car that you're actually controlling. On the plus side, there's a variety of objectives such as rescuing survivors, releasing zombie repellent, and fighting bosses as well as some fun unlockable vehicles.

With so many ways to virtually kill zombies, playing Zombie Driver in this day and age offers little more than shallow albeit satisfying fun.

Zombie Driver: Immortal Edition gameplay video →

Tetsumo Party Review PlayStation 4 ★★☆☆☆

Trying to fit through a hole in an encroaching wall has been done on game shows and even in a Kinect game so is Tetsumo Party fun?

Tetsumo Party screenshot
Yes, Tetsumo Party plays as simple as it looks

Japanese folks may know it as Brain Wall and westerners call it Hole in the Wall or Human Tetris yet the formula should be familiar by now: you strike a pose while a wall slides towards you and you have to fit through it. This formula might lend itself well to a motion-controlled game but all you do in Tetsumo Party is tap 4 buttons that correspond to each of your character's limbs in order to cycle through their various positions. You can play with up to 4 players and it does provide some short-lived entertainment but it's annoying that all of the unlockables can only be acquired while playing solo. Who the heck would want to play this simplistic game by themselves? While playing against friends, you can speed up the wall to fill more of your power-up gauge which will give you the upper-hand so there is some strategy involved. Other than that, it's mindless and overly simplistic although it is fun for 10 or so minutes.

If you're looking for a must-have local multiplayer game then Tetsumo Party isn't that but it is fun for the few minutes that it lasts.

Tetsumo Party gameplay video →
Gameplay video playlist for Stylish Indie Games (Part 2) 45:33
PS1 RPGs Trivia

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