When it comes to indie gaming, there's always a wide selection of fresh titles to enjoy. I recently played through a bunch of indies myself so here are my thoughts about 6 undeniably unique experiences.
Chiki-Chiki Boxy Racers Review Switch ★★★☆☆
Although Chiki-Chiki Boxy Racers looks like an average overhead racing game, there's a lot more to it than meets the eye.
Chiki-Chiki Boxy Racers is a colourful and voxel-filled racer with an impressive amount of ways to play. For starters, you can play by yourself against AI opponents, in local multiplayer either on the same or multiple linked Switch consoles, and online for up to 8 players. However, you can't play with a mix of local and online players which is a huge missed opportunity as far as I'm concerned. Anyway, the basic gameplay has you race around tracks using your vehicle and control style of choice. The gameplay is very forgiving as you quickly warp to the front of the pack whenever you lag too far behind which is a bit too forgiving but I guess it allows anyone to have a good time.
In addition to the basic core racing gameplay that features a fun boost system, there are a few battle party modes that'll have you collecting coins, trying to knock blocks off a platform, painting stages as efficiently as you can, and even competing in a game of car soccer yet it's far less fun than Rocket League. These mini-games are neat but none of them have much longevity so you'll likely stop playing after giving each game a couple tries. Also, there certainly aren't many people online. I couldn't find a single player.
In the end, Chiki-Chiki Boxy Racers is a cute little racer that features a few nifty mini-games but its lack of replay value means that you'll likely play it for a little while then never pick it up again.Chiki-Chiki Boxy Racers gameplay video →
Spectrum Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆
Here's a game for folks who love to challenge themselves. Spectrum contains plenty of stylish stages so get ready to float!
Spectrum looks like a 2D platformer but it's a very unique and challenging game. You basically control a strange dark entity by tapping buttons to infinitely jump in the air or dive down. It's really that simple. Completing each stage is fairly easy but when you try to master them; that's when things become difficult! Trying to beat every stage's time limit and collect every item while not taking damage can be downright brutal, especially in the super-tough minus worlds. Some hazards kill you instantly while others merely take some health away and you'll come across many memorable and tricky situations along the journey. Spectrum features beautiful and stylish visuals as well as a mind-blowing low-frequency soundtrack that complements the gameplay perfectly. It's a bit short, though, with only 8 worlds.
I loved playing Spectrum's challenging scenarios and highly recommend it to any gamer who enjoys replaying and mastering stages.Spectrum gameplay video →
ADIOS Amigos Review Xbox One ★★★★☆
Previously known as Amazing Discoveries In Outer Space, ADIOS Amigos is a quirky 2D space exploration game. Let's check it out!
Considering I already reviewed Amazing Discoveries In Outer Space a couple years back, I won't go into too much depth here as you can simply read my original review to know what it's all about. However, many things have changed since it initially released so allow me to describe how this version is much better. First, there's a lot more variety and content so you'll constantly discover new collectibles even after playing for hours on end. Aside from this, the most substantial addition is co-op for up to four simultaneous local players. The screen splits in an intuitive way so if you and your friends are close together, everyone will be a part of the big picture. If you want to play with less skilled gamers, they can choose rookie mode which offers simplified gameplay that even a kid can enjoy.
Other substantial additions include explorable space stations, NPC ships, black holes, worm holes, sun flares, robots, more creatures, and extra astronaut classes, ships, hats, and secrets. Considering I was slightly disappointed with the original game and thoroughly enjoyed my time with this new version, I can easily say that it's far superior and the developers really nailed it this time around. That being said, the luck factor remains significant and replaying multiple times in a row can quickly become tiresome but it's still a very fun game.
ADIOS Amigos took what made Amazing Discoveries In Outer Space unique and turned it into something extremely enjoyable. If you're in the mood to play a quirky 2D cooperative space exploration game then you need to add this to your gaming library.ADIOS Amigos gameplay video → Amazing Discoveries In Outer Space Review
CastleStorm Review Switch ★★★★☆
Here's a game that's been around since 2013. The question is: should you play CastleStorm on your Switch?
This is the third time that I played through CastleStorm. I first enjoyed it on Xbox 360 years back then reviewed the PlayStation VR version just last year. Considering this is yet another game that I already reviewed, I won't discuss it for too long. Basically, you control a ballista and command a small army in order to battle enemies who are trying to invade your castle. You also have to destroy enemy castles along the way, too. It's a fantastic blend of genres such as real-time strategy, Angry Birds, and even beat 'em up when you summon a hero to smash your adversaries' heads in. Unlike the cumbersome VR iteration, CastleStorm feels right at home on Switch complete with intuitive touch controls and gameplay that's well-suited for on-the-go fun. I'd say this is the best way to enjoy this classic indie.
CastleStorm has been entertaining gamers for over 5 years and this Switch version is the most enjoyable iteration to date. So, if you never had the opportunity to play it yet or simply want a portable version, it's definitely worth picking up a copy for Switch.CastleStorm gameplay video → CastleStorm: Virtual Reality Review
Vroom Kaboom Review PlayStation 4 ★★☆☆☆
If you've ever wanted to play an online competitive vehicle-based card battle game with VR support then here's a game for you.
Vroom Kaboom is a weird game. You essentially select cards from your hand in order to send corresponding vehicles down the road so they can blow up your opponent's structures. You can also place road blocks and such in the way, too, as well as choose to control the vehicles which include everything from drones to scooters to bulldozers. Each vehicle has a special skill that can be quite helpful, especially when you're low on resources that you need to use cards. However, the gameplay is just a mess and manages to feel both chaotic and mindless at the same time. When you factor in frustrating moments like spawning a vehicle only to have it instantly crash into a road block or having a vehicle unexpectedly slow down right before a jump, you're looking at one irritating game.
Thankfully, the VR support actually makes the gameplay more immersive as you have to hold one hand up that has a menu on it in order to choose cards with the other hand. When you control the vehicles, it looks much more exciting as opposed to the bland non-VR visuals. All of that being said, the fact that you have to use PlayStation Move controllers is a significant pain in the ass.
Mixing genres usually results in interesting gaming experiences yet Vroom Kaboom is a bit too mixed up to be enjoyable.Vroom Kaboom gameplay video →
Haunted Dungeons: Hyakki Castle Review PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆
First-person dungeon games have been around for decades yet few are as unique as Haunted Dungeons: Hyakki Castle.
Haunted Dungeons: Hyakki Castle has you control a party of four brave folks who got imprisoned in a demonic castle and it's your job to escape. To do so, you'll have to solve puzzles and fight monsters in this survival-based first-person dungeon crawler RPG. Its most notable mechanic is being able to split your party up into 2 groups of 2. Doing this allows you to surround tough foes and cause more damage from behind as well as solve puzzles where both teams need to stand on pressure pads, etc. The survival element is implemented in hunger meters for each party member. You can rest at any time and recover HP but only food will satiate hunger so you have to ensure that you find enough to stay alive. You'll also discover tons of equipment and secrets so it's a rather rewarding game.
Although Haunted Dungeons: Hyakki Castle has some very clever mechanics in play, its ambiguous and bland visuals paint an incredibly monotonous world. The enemy designs are quite generic, too, and it has some very lame sound effects which make playing it kind of embarrassing. That said; if you enjoy these kinds of games then it's unique enough to warrant a purchase, that's for sure.
Haunted Dungeons: Hyakki Castle may have interesting and satisfying dungeon crawling survival gameplay but its presentational aspects definitely take a lot of fun out of the equation.Haunted Dungeons: Hyakki Castle gameplay video →