Archives— March 2017
March 13-18 2017:
Death Squared is a local co-op puzzle game primarily designed for two or four players, but can be played singleplayer as well. Each person controls a colorful cube robot and must get to their designated spot in the level without catastrophically blowing anyone else up. When a player moves, specific obstacles in the environment move as well—lasers, spikes, platforms, walls, etc.—so you need to be aware of how you are affecting (and possibly killing) everyone around you. I really like Death Squared, because it's one of the only co-op puzzle games I've played where one player can't really takeover and quarterback the whole game, you actually need to talk and work together.
Tacopocolypse is a driving delivery game with over the top stunts and visuals. It's basically Tony Hawk's Pro Skater except you are driving a Rocket League car instead of riding a skateboard, which is probably one of the strongest game pitches I've heard in a long time. It's an intentionally jokey game—I mean, you can literally grind neon cars on rooftop rails—but it also looks like a lot of fun, though that could be the copious amount of 90's nostalgia talking. Tacopocolypse also has local split-screen co-op for that really retro feel.
Wartile is a mini-figurine battling strategy game that just hit Early Access. Although it's hex-based and uses cards to activate different abilities, the fights actually play out in real-time instead of being turn-based. It seems like the game is definitely trying to appeal to tabletop wargamers, as unit customization is available and there's already an online multiplayer mode. That also plays into the more contained nature of the maps, which are modeled to look like they are on a table. Wartile's Steam page says the game is "close to feature complete," but that it expects to be in Early Access for 6-9 months to finish the Viking campaign, add more content, and adjust balance.
Future Unfolding is an action adventure game with a heavy focus on exploration. I seriously love the visuals, as they play with color, light, and depth in some beautiful ways. The camera is also directly overhead top-down, but everything is still 3D so there's some cool parallax effects going on, and even jumping between different heights. I'm not entirely sure what the goal or direction of Future Unfolding is, but I imagine finding that out is part of the fun—and it's already got around 20 universally positive reviews on Steam.
Cosmic Express is a simple but extremely challenging puzzle game about getting aliens home. You draw a train track path between different colored aliens and their matching colored houses, but your train has a limited number of seats and the track can't overlap itself. Cosmic Express is a deceptively hard game as there generally aren't very many objects in each level, but planning the correct path and order of pick-ups is tricky in such limited space. The developers also made one of my favorite underrated puzzle games called , so Cosmic Express is definitely one to try if you are a puzzle fan.
March 5-12 2017:
Released: March 7
Developer: High Horse Entertainment
Publisher: High Horse Entertainment
Price: $15/£11 (33% off for launch)
Have you ever wanted a good Windjammers-style game for the PC? Have you never actually heard of Windjammers? Either way, Disc Jam is something you should definitely check out. You play it from a vertical, top-down perspective, as opposed to Windjammers' horizontal view, and the whole point of the game is to throw a disc into the opponents' net.
It sounds simple, but it has quite a bit of depth, with a handful of ways to throw the disc and a bunch of different abilities. One of the great things about Disc Jam is that it has a UI that will feel very familiar to those who play Rocket League. While I don't necessarily think Disc Jam will quite reach the levels of Psyonix's soccer-with-cars game, developer High Horse Entertainment has done a good job at making something that feels like it can.
Released: March 10 (Early Access)
Developer: Matt Dabrowski
Price: $15/£11 (10% off for launch)
Last time we checked in on the Streets of Rogue alpha, you could play as a comedian who attracts followers—who are loyal to the point of violence—by wandering around telling jokes. Now out in Early Access, Streets of Rogue is a 2D smorgasbord of characters, items, and abilities. You can wander its procedurally-generated city as a violent soldier or a pacifistic doctor, befuddling or killing AI characters with whatever means you have.
The game’s description calls out a few of the items available: “Shrink rays, hypnotizing devices, boomboxes, bear traps, food processors.. Oh, and guns too.” If you want to try it out, Streets of Rogue is free to play on Steam for the rest of the weekend—and if that’s over by the time you read this, it’s $15.
Released: March 10
Publisher: Bigben Interactive
Price: $25/£19 (20% off for launch)
With Resident Evil 7 slowly falling into my rearview mirror, I'm looking frantically for a new horror game like I just drank an entire Big Gulp and need a bathroom on a long, dark highway. While stealth-horror game 2Dark doesn't have the visuals and pedigree of something like Resident Evil, it does sound interesting, especially coming from Alone in the Dark (1992) designer Frederick Raynal. The game has you scouring levels, avoiding serial killers, and sneaking your way past monsters as you search for missing children in an attempt to save them. Like many survival-horror games, you don't have an abundance of supplies. Oh, and those kids that you're leading to safety? They may just start crying and give away your position.
Released: March 10
Developer: nextReality Games
Publisher: nextReality Games
Price: $7/£5 (30% off for launch)
Close your eyes for a second. It's not entirely dark: you can still see splashes of light, afterimages of whatever you were just looking at. Blink, a 2D puzzle game, lets you use those afterimages as platforms as you navigate through hand-drawn environments.
Carry lanterns, flip switches, and move lights around, dynamically manipulating the mysterious and atmospheric world as you explore. Even your enemies can be used to solve Blink's levels, which include underground ruins and floating cities.
Released: March 10
Developer: Discovering VR
Publisher: Discovering VR
Price: $10/£7 (VR Exclusive)
When you travel into space you don't always need to engage in fierce battles, blow up enemy ships, or seduce sexy aliens. Sometimes, just exploring and sightseeing is plenty. This VR game, compatible with Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and OSVR, lets you tour and explore our solar system seamlessly, visiting planets and moons which are rendered in true scale. Leap from planet to planet through hyperspace gates or plunge through a planet's atmosphere to zoom along the surface. You can follow a tour, or explore on your own using a controller or HTC Vive wands.
February 26 - March 4 2017:
Desync is a singleplayer, score-based FPS set in a vibrant neon world. The whole game looks a bit like if Doom or Painkiller were dropped into the Tron universe. The enemy and gun variety is interesting as well, which is good considering the art style could otherwise make everything feel a bit same-y. There's also a dodge system that some Steam reviewers are predictably comparing to Dark Souls movement, but the reviews have been very positive so far.
Morphblade is a hex-based strategy game where you fend off waves of little bugs. As the game progresses, you expand the area you can move into new hexes, each with a different symbol that will change what your character looks like and what it can do. In the video above, developer Tom Francis (who made Gunpoint and is currently making ) explains that you'll need to plan ahead when deciding which tiles you choose to expand to, as upgrading tiles involve combining them with adjacent ones. It's a small game, but a pretty cool looking one.
Full disclosure, Tom Francis was formerly an editor for PC Gamer, though he left years before I arrived. I actually added Morphblade to this list before I had even looked at the developer, so its inclusion has nothing to do with who made it.
The Wendigo is a first person exploration horror game set in a spooky Victorian mansion. I see a lot of indie horror games in my research for this list, but The Wendigo stood out to me as one which does low-light better than others. The environments shown look really lovely, and the game uses light sources well so you can actually see that detail instead of just making every room pitch black. Whether good graphics means it's actually a scary game or not I can't say, but it's only received positive Steam reviews so far.
For The King is an RPG that can be played either alone or with two and three player local/online co-op. The world is procedurally generated for each adventure, and you explore a hex-based overworld map that reminds me a lot of Civilization. The actual battles are more like a traditional turn-based RPG with three characters in your party at a time, each of which can be controlled by a real player. For The King just entered Early Access and plans to be there for roughly six months, but the developer says "the core adventure is complete from beginning to end."
Furious Angels is a wave-based aerial arcade shooter where you pilot a small ship taking on much larger enemies. It's got an attractive polygonal art style with bright orange and purple colors, and the particle effects when ships are destroyed is a nice touch. You can even shoot specific parts off of the larger ships to disable them in different ways. Furious Angels is not that big of a game, but most of the user reviews so far say it's a frantic and fun wave survival game.