Unconventional Indie Games (Part 3) thumbnail

Unconventional Indie Games (Part 3)

Dig, golf, and swing a cherub

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Rapid Fire Reviews on

As always, I've been up to my knees in indie games so here are 8 very interesting and unconventional indies that you may enjoy. 😊

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Ground Divers! Review Switch ★★★★☆

Digging deep to find treasures is an old-school formula that you don't see much anymore but Ground Divers! is here to change that. v1d30chumz 3-235-173-74

Ground Divers! screenshot
I'll teach these underground critters for just minding their business

Ground Divers! has you control a robot named Tsuruhashi who has the ability to tunnel underground in the hopes of unearthing valuable materials. What makes it unique is its grid-like strategic gameplay where you enable waypoints that Tsuruhashi will then travel to. The goal is to reach a certain depth then at the end, snag a valuable resource. However, there are many dangers that lurk below such as plenty of enemies so the key to victory is to carefully plan your route while utilizing various abilities and gadgets from your inventory. This open-ended approach to gameplay takes quite a while to become accustomed to but once everything starts to click, you'll find it to be an incredibly rewarding experience. Plus, the charming artwork, adorable animations, and upbeat music make it a delight to play.

Guiding a robot as it tunnels underground makes for one enjoyable gameplay formula that'll keep you hooked once you learn the ropes.

Ground Divers! gameplay video → More games developed by Arc System Works

KOKORO CLOVER Season 1 Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Here we have a retro-inspired 2D action game that feels like a Saturday morning cartoon; it's the delightful KOKORO CLOVER Season 1!

KOKORO CLOVER Season 1 screenshot
No one stands a chance against good old Treffy

At its core, KOKORO CLOVER Season 1 is a basic 2D action game with mildly interesting mechanics. For example, you can change colours mid-game which dictates your rechargeable special attack and you can also swap between various ability loadouts on the fly. Being able to deploy assist characters that can heal you and stuff as well as perform an adorable dance to avoid taking damage are lovely little touches but it's still a very basic old-school action game that's quite unchallenging. Plus, the poor frame rate makes it tough to play for extended periods of time. Thankfully, the adorable sprites and bubbly atmosphere make it a special experience that'll keep you smiling and the fact that the stories are as silly as they are is the icing on the cake. Overall, I like this cute game despite its obvious shortcomings.

KOKORO CLOVER Season 1 is a delightful game that feels like an interactive Saturday morning cartoon complete with plenty of cuteness.

KOKORO CLOVER Season 1 gameplay video → More 2D Switch Games

Avenging Spirit Review PlayStation 5 ★★★☆☆

Avenging Spirit is a cult classic Game Boy game but how does its obscure arcade original hold up nowadays? Let's find out.

Avenging Spirit screenshot
Timing is going to play a big role in my fate here...

Old-school gamers like me mainly remember Avenging Spirit for its awful western box art that features a mobster shooting a Tommy gun in front of a brick wall. Meanwhile, the actual game has you control a ghost that can inhabit enemies. This nifty premise was very cool for its time and it still is. With that being said, this arcade iteration was clearly created to suck kids' quarters out of their pockets because it's one chaotic and frustrating mess that makes it exceptionally difficult to stay alive for longer than a minute. It's still a fun game, though, and its franticness actually makes it more enjoyable even if it does become maddening at times. I mean; being able to continue whenever you want is a nice bonus and hopping between enemies as you inch your way forward will always be a blast. 👻

The original arcade version of Avenging Spirit is more of a wacky curiosity than a good game but it still makes for some fun times.

Avenging Spirit gameplay video → More games published by Ratalaika

Turbo Golf Racing Review Xbox Series X ★★★★☆

If you've ever wanted to play golf by chasing the ball with a car while occasionally smacking into it then here's Turbo Golf Racing.

Please note that as of writing this, Turbo Golf Racing is in Early Access and will be for about a year. A lot more content is on the way!

Turbo Golf Racing screenshot
It's all so colourful!

I know what you're thinking; Turbo Golf Racing looks a lot like Rocket League. Well, Rocket League looks a lot like the Omake mode from 1992's Moto Roader MC so what can you do? Anyway, just like with Rocket League, playing online is the best way to enjoy Turbo Golf Racing because each match is a race to push your ball into the hole first. It also features similar controls that require practice to master as you boost, jump, and take advantage of power-ups as well as boost pads that are scattered across each course. From getting stuck in sand traps to hovering up a tractor beam to the next plane, there's a lot of variety on display and it all looks great, too. To be honest, I'm not very good at Turbo Golf Racing but I still have a lot of fun while trying my best and unlocking new gadgets along the way. ⛳

Turbo Golf Racing is yet another fun and frantic online vehicle-based sports game that offers plenty of excellent competitive action.

Turbo Golf Racing gameplay video →

Logic Pic Review Switch ★★★★☆

Picross games are always a good time but Logic Pic goes above and beyond the norm to provide a very fulfilling nonogram package.

Logic Pic screenshot
Puppies like to cosplay, too

Generally speaking, Logic Pic is what you'd expect from a Picross-style game as you fill in grids of pixels in order to reveal a picture and there are a ton of puzzles to solve. What sets it apart is that it features a multiplayer mode where up to 4 players take timed turns in order to fill in as many tiles as possible and the player with the highest score wins. Of course, you can play it solo as well and even that is a unique experience because as you complete puzzles of various types, you'll unlock more puzzles that actually tell a story via pictures. There are oodles of content to enjoy and you can also purchase inexpensive DLC for more puzzles if you manage to master everything. 🧩

Logic Pic is one of the biggest and most fully-featured Picross games you can play so if you enjoy nonograms then definitely give it a go.

Logic Pic gameplay video → More games that play like Picross

Hell Pie Review PlayStation 5 ★★★☆☆

Uh-oh; it's time for a naughty game that definitely isn't for kids so let's see what this gross and irreverent 3D platformer is all about.

Hell Pie screenshot
Welcome to the fiery depths of... the grocery store?

Hell Pie is a 3D platformer that takes heavy inspiration from both Conker's Bad Fur Day and Crystal Dynamics' hidden gem Whiplash. Like the former, it's gross and contains a great deal of "mature" content and it's like the latter because you swing around a secondary character (Nugget the cherub) who's chained to you just like Spanx does with Redmond in Whiplash. Also, Nugget is as chatty as Redmond while the protagonist Nate is silent like Spanx is. The similarities are undeniably conspicuous. 🤔

As a game, Hell Pie is decent as it controls well, features a fantastic amount of variety, and its open environments are quite rewarding to explore. You'll definitely need to have a strong stomach before diving in, though, because the vast majority of the campaign is downright disgusting but I'm sure some folks will appreciate the change of scenery. The downside is that there are a ton of bugs and glaring issues. For example, a boss didn't spawn once which made me have to restart the level. Another time, some enemies were 2D sprites that warped around for a while before their 3D models popped in. It's also frequently difficult to gauge jumps and the fact that some surfaces make you slip off to your doom only makes this more frustrating. It can be fun when you're not experiencing these bugs, though.

Hell Pie does a decent job of combining Conker's Bad Fur Day and Whiplash but it's certainly not as enjoyable as either of them.

Hell Pie gameplay video → More 3D platformers

ANIQUILATION Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Twin-stick shooter fans always have a ton of options available and ANIQUILATION is here to offer even more arcade-like action.

ANIQUILATION screenshot
Don't come any closer, you mindless killing machine

If I had to compare ANIQUILATION with any game, it would be Housemarque's Super Stardust as both games have you traverse looping 3D planets while dashing and shooting at relentless hordes of enemies. What makes ANIQUILATION special is that you have a sword that you can wave around you to take care of minor enemies as well as reflect projectiles back at bigger ones. There are also helpful power-ups that will change your weapon which are cool and you can enjoy it with a chum via split-screen multiplayer with some clever versus modes thrown in, too. There's also a nifty tube mini-game between levels where you collect things and avoid walls. Overall, it's a fun little game although playing it can sometimes be annoying thanks to the poor hit detection and often overly chaotic stages.

I enjoyed my time with ANIQUILATION as it's a solid twin-stick shooter that will have you mastering planets filled with dastardly foes.

ANIQUILATION gameplay video → More twin-stick shooters

Encounters: Music Stories Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Rhythm games come in many different varieties but I've never played anything quite like the charming Encounters: Music Stories.

Encounters: Music Stories screenshot
Music brings people together and also erects barriers between them

Encounters: Music Stories is a simple game to play as all you do is tap the shoulder triggers or shake the Joy-Con controllers to the onscreen prompts. The aspect that sets it apart is that you'll have to use both sides of your brain because you observe 2 characters that run towards the center of the screen and your goal is to bring down the walls that stand in their way. If you miss one, they'll smack into it or you'll create a hole that stops them in their tracks. Needless to say, it's super-rewarding once you get them to meet. The soundtrack consists of classical music which is lovely and the simple visuals are cute. My only complaint is that it's all very simple and the gameplay doesn't do anything to offer variety besides the fact that some songs are exceptionally long and act as endurance tests.

It may be a simple rhythm game but Encounters: Music Stories is definitely clever and challenging thanks to its unique spin on the genre.

Encounters: Music Stories gameplay video →
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Gameplay video playlist for Unconventional Indie Games (Part 3)
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