Unique Indie Games (Part 2)

Unique Indie Games (Part 2)

Stand-out indies for Switch and PS4

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Rapid Fire Reviews on

Indie games come in all sorts of varieties but very few are truly unique so here are 7 recent titles that definitely stand out.

RemiLore Review Switch ★★★☆☆

If an action RPG roguelike dungeon crawler sounds like your kind of game then here's a nifty new anime-inspired adventure just for you.

RemiLore screenshot
When Remi said she wanted to play tennis, I didn't think this is what she meant!

RemiLore has you play as a girl named Remi who has a goofy book named Lore constantly float around her. You play it by traversing through procedurally generated dungeons while hacking and slashing at enemies, unleashing magic spells, and dashing out of harm's way and over gaps. As you progress, you'll amass a wealth of sweet treats which act as RemiLore's currency that you can exchange for either temporary items at shops or permanent boosts via the menu. Considering it's a roguelike, you'll have to start from the beginning when you perish but your unlockables remain intact. Although all of this seems cool and the game looks and sounds great, its gameplay is extremely repetitive and becomes uninteresting after playing it for an hour or so. Thankfully, you can play cooperatively with a friend but it's still best enjoyed in short bursts.

Although it features a unique premise and a solid blend of genres, RemiLore's core gameplay is simply too monotonous to remain fun.

RemiLore gameplay video → More roguelikes

Degrees of Separation Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆

Here we have an open-ended co-op 2D platformer that'll test your practical problem solving abilities but is it any fun?

Degrees of Separation screenshot
If we work together, we'll eventually snag that scarf

Degrees of Separation has you and a friend play as Ember and Rime who represent heat and cold, respectively. As you run and jump around, the screen splits at a point between you and the other player. As this happens, the stage may morph in some way such as by having water freeze or melt. As a result, you'll have to work with your partner to figure out how to solve tricky situations and it's so clever that it creates an impressively rewarding dynamic. As you play, a narrator will describe the story which is a fantastic touch. However, my favourite aspect is that Degrees of Separation gives you the freedom to solve whichever puzzles you wish and doing so grants you magic scarves which unlock further stages. In other words, if you're ever stuck, you can just run to the next puzzle.

Cooperative games don't get much better than Degrees of Separation. Its ingenious puzzle design and open-ended campaign are perfect for co-op fun while the gorgeous visuals and storybook narrative make it all the more engaging.

Degrees of Separation gameplay video → More orange and blue games

Aragami: Shadow Edition Review Switch ★★★★☆

Sneaking around while stealthily taking out enemy guards is nothing new but Aragami manages to make the genre feel fresh.

Aragami: Shadow Edition screenshot
Aragami should take advantage of this moment and thoroughly scan the area below

Aragami: Shadow Edition puts you in control of the titular assassin who's on a mission to rescue an imprisoned girl. You play it by carefully sneaking around enemy guards while killing them whenever you feel like you need to. Although this sounds straightforward, Aragami has the ability to manipulate shadows which allows him to warp short distances and draw temporary shadows in his path. The gameplay is super-tight and makes for some truly tense situations with a surprising amount of guards. Plus, Aragami has beautiful stylish visuals and spot-on audio which make the gameplay consistently immersive and the abstract animated cutscenes will keep you guessing throughout. Finally, this Shadow Edition even includes a second campaign in the form of Aragami: Nightfall that features 2 new characters.

Stealth game fans will find a lot to love in the stylish and rewarding Aragami, especially within this fully featured Shadow Edition.

Aragami: Shadow Edition gameplay video →

Rym 9000 Review PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆

When it comes to shoot 'em ups, it's all been done before but I've never played one quite as abstract as Rym 9000.

Rym 9000 screenshot 4Rym 9000 screenshot 5
If you can't tell what's going on in these screenshots then try playing it!

Rym 9000 is essentially a standard vertical shmup where you hold a button to shoot. What makes it unique is that it features constantly flashing and shaking visuals which make the game almost unplayable it's so disorienting. Thankfully, you can turn the shaking off in the strangely hidden options menu which I gladly did as soon as I discovered it. However, even after turning it off, Rym 9000 is still tough to look at with its purposely glitchy visuals and chaotic action. It's a good thing that the gameplay is as simple as it is because if it featured any more elements, it would simply be too much to take in. Anyway, slowly working your way through the campaign while retrying each stage over and over again is somewhat enjoyable but what's even more fun is unlocking the bits of lore by accomplishing certain feats which also awards you with trophies. It may initially be a difficult game to enjoy but it's fairly fun once you get over the hump.

If you're looking for a mind-blowing albeit simplistic shmup then Rym 9000 will make a solid addition to your collection.

Rym 9000 gameplay video → More shoot 'em ups

Minesweeper Genius Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆

Those looking for an unconventional puzzle game in the same vein as Picross will surely get a kick out of this clever puzzler.

Minesweeper Genius screenshot
It may not be Minesweeper but it definitely requires a certain level of genius

Minesweeper Genius has you play as Aristotle who must solve a succession of stages. In order to do so, you simply guide him along a grid in order to reach the exit. However, the grid contains plenty of scattered mines so avoiding them is the key to success. In order to deduce where the mines are, you have to observe clues such as the numbers that line 2 sides of the playfield as well as mid-field numbers that denote how many surrounding mines there are. With cute and quirky visuals, loads of gimmicks that slowly get introduced, and randomly generated levels, it's difficult not to enjoy every second of gameplay. It's really quite impressive that the developers managed to make such a fun game out of elements from Picross and Minesweeper and I hope they make more unique puzzlers down the road.

Puzzle fans will find a lot to love in Minesweeper Genius. The amount of enjoyable gameplay and replay value is downright fantastic.

Minesweeper Genius gameplay video → 3 Recent Games That Play like Picross

Cinders Review Switch ★★★☆☆

If you're tired of playing challenging games and just want to read a book then Cinders can provide a worthwhile experience.

Cinders screenshot
Prepare to meet plenty of memorable characters throughout Cinders' tale

Cinders is a visual novel that's basically a modern retelling of Cinderella. While it doesn't feature any sort of substantial gameplay, you can shape the tale as you wish with plenty of onscreen decision prompts. This may sound lame but I actually found the story to be surprisingly gripping, especially with its modern attitude, distinct art style, and lovely orchestral score. Every time you play, you can try to shape the story in a different extreme direction and doing so results in some surprising moments that you'd never think you'd see in the world of Cinderella. Even though this is great, I would have liked to see some sort of gameplay. Even a few RPG elements would do the trick.

As a Choose Your Own Adventure style narrative, Cinders is a wonderful experience but it doesn't quite feel like a full video game.

Cinders gameplay video →

Bard's Gold Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Here's an indie roguelike for gamers who enjoy 2D action games set in retro-style fantasy worlds.

Bard's Gold screenshot
Bard's Gold looks simple enough but it sure is tough!

Bard's Gold has you play as a little fellow who throws various weapons as his main attack. He can also double-jump so he's certainly a capable little guy. You basically try to progress through randomly generated stages while taking out any monster that stands in your way. Meanwhile, plenty of hazards can end your life in an instant such as spikes that can either fall from the ceiling or protrude from the floor and darts that get shot out of walls. The most rewarding part of gameplay is that you can find equipment pieces like a shield, magic glasses that reveal secrets, shoes, various weapons, and even a protective bubble. Once, I revealed a hidden door that sent me to a Halloween-themed bonus stage. This is all thoroughly enjoyable stuff but the amount of surprise deaths can be very frustrating.

Gamers who relish old-school experiences complete with unfair deaths will certainly find a lot to like about Bard's Gold. Unfortunately, modern gamers who prefer more streamlined games will likely get too annoyed with this one.

Bard's Gold gameplay video →
Gameplay video playlist for Unique Indie Games (Part 2) 41:23
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