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Visceral Indie Games

Test your gaming reflexes

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Rapid Fire Reviews on

Some games put you on the edge of your seat as your palms sweat while you try to master a level or get a high score so here are 8 such recent titles that I've particularly enjoyed. Perhaps you'll see a game or 2 that piques your interest!

A.J. has been obsessively gaming since the late '80s and is just as passionate about video games in 2023. 🐻

Curse of the Dead Gods Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆

Here's a game that combines many unique elements to create a clever roguelike concoction but is Curse of the Dead Gods worthwhile? v1d30chumz 3-235-186-94

Curse of the Dead Gods screenshot
Only the most powerful attacks cause white streaks

As I mentioned, Curse of the Dead Gods is chock-full of gameplay ingredients. For starters, there's a light mechanic where enemies are weaker when exposed to a light source so lighting torches as you fight is often a good idea. Thankfully, the core combat is tight complete with responsive evasion moves. Anyway, there's also a curse system in place as a gauge increases while you make various decisions and progress. These curses aren't 100% bad as some may give you surprising power but there are definitely disadvantages such as spawning extra enemies so you really have to pay attention to what new mechanics will be in place. The overall structure of attempting dungeons while gathering various currencies in order to unlock permanent features and boosts is very rewarding, too, and it all comes together to form one cohesive and impressively challenging formula but it's definitely not for the faint of heart.

Curse of the Dead Gods is one of the most varied and gripping roguelikes that I've ever played so if you enjoy challenging combat with a wide variety of melee and ranged weaponry set in a dark and eerie game world then you'll love what it has in store.

Curse of the Dead Gods gameplay video → More roguelikes

Speed Limit Review PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆

If you've ever wanted to star in a crazy 2D action movie then Speed Limit might just be a game that you'll want to check out.

Speed Limit screenshot
Don't bring a handgun to a turret fight

Speed Limit is an action-packed fast-paced game where you try to master various scenarios that'll have you do things like try to escape a train that's full of people trying to kill you, steer a car through a highway while shooting at adversaries, ride a motorcycle, and even pilot a helicopter. Each scenario is incredibly difficult and progress often relies on your ability to memorize dangers before retrying at the previous checkpoint. Your reflexes also come into play but to be frank, I can't imagine even the most skilled gamer completing Speed Limit on their first attempt without biting the dust at least a dozen times. Because of this, it will likely test your patience occasionally as you slowly inch your way to the next stage. It's definitely a fun game but the frustration factor is high so keep that in mind before diving in.

If you don't mind restarting tricky segments over and over again then Speed Limit can be a very fun game with its action movie setup.

Speed Limit gameplay video →

Heaven Dust Review Xbox One ★★★★☆

Here's an isometric take on Resident Evil so if you love classic survival horror games, you should definitely play the very cool Heaven Dust.

Heaven Dust screenshot
I'm about to make you dead... again!

I remember playing the first couple of Resident Evil games back in the day on the original PlayStation and as soon as I booted Heaven Dust up, it immediately brought me back to those good old days. However, Heaven Dust is an original game that does some rather impressive things on its own. First of all, the sense of being alone as you figure out your surroundings is done exceptionally well here. As soon as you manage to come to grips with how to play by solving a few somewhat tricky puzzles, you'll get a gun and probably find some ammo and that's where the fun begins. Walking by corpses only to see them reanimate then shooting them down so you can collect some loot is great fun although it's a bit easy. I also appreciated the work that went into the puzzles and bits of story that you find.

Progressing through Heaven Dust's zombie-filled world is highly enjoyable thanks to its rewarding puzzles and sense of exploration.

Heaven Dust gameplay video → Heaven Dust 2 Review More games with zombies

Barbearian Review Switch ★★★★☆

Hacking and slashing away at hordes of enemies offers simple and immediately gratifying gameplay so here's the delightful Barbearian.

Barbearian screenshot
That little fellow sure is one tough cookie

Right off the bat, let me just say that Barbearian features some incredibly charming visuals within its detailed and colourful environments and everything in its game world is beautifully-animated which makes the miniature enemy and player sprites really come to life. More importantly, its gameplay has you hack and slash through oodles of levels as you amass a wealth of currency and unlockables that make progressing a treat. When you first get a gun, you'll have a literal blast shooting at enemies from a distance and charging into them with a special attack is satisfying stuff, too. Along the journey, you'll also rescue prisoners who help you out and take down hulking bosses which is very rewarding as well. So, if you want a satisfying combat-heavy indie with tons of replay value, I highly recommend it.

Through its intuitive and fun-filled gameplay, Barbearian offers an excellent action-packed campaign that's surprisingly huge and varied.

Barbearian gameplay video →

NoReload Heroes Enhanced Edition Review Switch ★★★☆☆

NoReload Heroes launched a few years back for Switch and we now have a brand new Enhanced Edition so let's get ready to shoot.

NoReload Heroes Enhanced Edition screenshot
Some weapons are definitely better than others

Although I haven't played the original NoReload Heroes, I must say that I had a decent time with it via this Enhanced Edition. Basically, it's a twin-stick shooter where you pick up different guns then shoot at robotic enemies. You can also enjoy the action with up to 4 players which is excellent. The thing is; it's all extremely simplistic so genre veterans will likely get bored of its basic gameplay. Also, there's a great deal of disparity when it comes to the selection of weapons so you'll often pick up a new weapon only to realise that it's a pain to use. You also might get stuck with it as after returning to where you dropped your previous weapon, you may see that it disappeared which is a bummer. Overall, I can see it being fun for a family with little kids but not for those who want something more substantial.

Due to its simple setup, NoReload Heroes Enhanced Edition acts as a solid entry point to twin-stick shooters if you're a genre newbie.

NoReload Heroes Enhanced Edition gameplay video → More twin-stick shooters

Castle Kong Review Switch ★★★☆☆

If you have fond memories of Donkey Kong then here's Castle Kong which is an authentic indie adaptation of Nintendo's arcade classic.

Castle Kong screenshot
I gone done set my foot aflame...

Castle Kong is a simple modern interpretation of the Donkey Kong formula where you run left and right while jumping over obstacles and collecting power-ups. It also features 4 stage types: one where you climb the outside castle wall, one where you remove platform supports so the stage collapses on the boss, a kitchen with chickens and pies, and the inside castle wall which has unique hazards and enemies. Besides trying to climb the online leaderboards and participating in tournaments, there really isn't much to do so re-playing the same levels over and over again gets kind of tiresome, especially without the nostalgia factor that the original Donkey Kong has. You might enjoy playing it until you start to get good but after that, I can't imagine that many gamers will get much mileage.

As an homage to Donkey Kong, Castle Kong does a solid job with its core gameplay yet it eventually becomes quite a repetitive game.

Castle Kong gameplay video →

Yupitergrad Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆

First-person puzzle adventure games are nothing new for VR yet Yupitergrad's unique movement mechanics make it stand out.

Yupitergrad screenshot
Who knew suction cup launchers could be so incredibly useful?

Yupitergrad has you play as a cosmonaut who's on a mission to explore a space station and it has a strong sense of humour which acts as a fun driving force as you watch silly cutscenes and listen to goofy dialogue. Anyway, instead of running and jumping, you're equipped with a couple of plunger-shooting arm cannons that you attach to certain surfaces so you can ascend, swing, and fling yourself across environments. It's all handled quite brilliantly and made me feel as if I was Bionic Commando in space. When it comes to content, there's a main campaign where you try to solve puzzles and progress through the narrative and a time trial mode that tasks you with finding the most efficient way to get from point A to point B in order to climb the online rankings. It's like 2 super-fun games in one!

Playing Yupitergrad will make you feel like Bionic Commando albeit in a humorous cel-shaded puzzle-filled space station adventure.

Yupitergrad gameplay video → Gamedust on Yupitergrad: Soviets and Suction Cups More PlayStation VR games

Moving Out: Movers in Paradise DLC Review Xbox One ★★★★☆

Last year's Moving Out provided some fun co-op gameplay and now, there's a brand new expansion and I have 2 tickets to paradise.

Moving Out: Movers in Paradise DLC screenshot
It may be paradise but this is no vacation

Movers in Paradise is a substantial DLC expansion that offers a lot of extra content. Specifically, there are 14 story campaign stages and 10 arcade levels to master as well as 4 delightful new sea creature characters. The levels themselves are quite tricky and feature mechanics such as crabs who can run off with your items, having to blow items with fans, pesky vines, puzzles, ziplines, water spouts, and even puffer fish that are incredibly annoying to carry. Overall, I had so much fun with this DLC that I think I actually enjoy Moving Out more overall now than when I first reviewed it. Oh, and the environments are very colourful, bright, often intricate, and a joy to explore.

If you enjoyed Moving Out even a little then you'll love what Movers in Paradise offers with its clever take on the familiar gameplay.

Moving Out: Movers in Paradise DLC gameplay video → Let's Play Moving Out: Movers in Paradise DLC video → Moving Out Review
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Gameplay video playlist for Visceral Indie Games
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