This week: motorcycle emptiness, dimension atop dimension atop dimension atop etc, VR shootybangs, and a puzzler with puzzling friends. Enjoy!
Riders of Rhea by Powerhoof
Though it was made for the 7-Day Roguelike competition, Riders of Rhea isn't really a roguelike, as freely admitted by developer Powerhoof. Instead it's a top-down shooter set in a barren desert and on a nifty motorbike, and it's the absolute best free thing you'll play this week. (Probably.) The controls are superb, with a nice sense of weight behind your post-apocalyptic motorcycle, and there's a particularly lovely handbrake, which you'll need to survive in Rhea's brutal vehicle combat.
More accurately, you won't survive for long in Rhea's brutal vehicle combat, as it offers a never-ending playground of motor-bound chumps to seek and destroy. There's no lock-on, and you can't shoot independently of your vehicle as in a twin-stick shooter, so successfully eliminating an enemy is a hugely difficult, and hugely satisfying affair. And, of course, you can loot downed bikes for equipment—there is still a touch of the roguelike about this one.
Overdrive by Pheonise
Created for the #MakeItSUPERHOT compo, which asked developers and modders to, well, make games inspired by SuperHot, Overdrive sure succeeds in that aim. The major difference is that this game is a VR-exclusive, so you'll need to immerse your head inside a techno-helmet before diving in. The other major difference is your ability to send the game's violent crystal men careering into the air, a bit like Mass Effect's Shepard did with that cool biotic lift power. There's something strangely elegant about a pile of glassy shooter bad guys floating in mid-air—it's almost a shame you then have to blow them to smithereens.
Phase by RetroSpecter
Phase is a puzzle game set inside one rooms—and before you reach for the comment section to correct my grammar there, it is actually multiple versions of the same room. In your quest to open a talking door (no idea), you'll find and collect glowing page thingies that give you another dimension to play with. And then another dimension, and then another dimension, before you're hopping up and down, down and up, across a sort of inter-dimensional sandwich (mmm, inter-dimensional sandwich).
Now, things are a little different in each new reality—furniture is removed, or there's suddenly an adjoining room—so collecting the trickily situated pages is a matter of careful character placement, and lots of reality shifting. Phase is a clever game, realising what could be a complex idea in an inherently visually sensible way.
Sonder by Gritfish
Here's yet another PuzzleScript gem that uses the base mechanics of the engine—it's turn-based and you need to push stuff—to create an original puzzle game, and one that also finds the time to tell a story. You're trying to reach an exit point in a mysterious city, as in so many puzzle games, and yes this involves pushing Sokoban-ish blocks out of the way. However, it also involves avoiding guards, and teaming up with (slightly less capable) chums, who will stick to you like glue when you come in contact.
Together you're stronger, but you're also a far more awkward shape, and a shape more liable to come into contact with the patrolling officers. There'll be plenty of head-scratching, and more than a bit of restarting before you finish the wonderfully (and enigmatically) named Sonder. (Via Warp Door)