I don’t know about you but I find the slower summer months the perfect time to really dive into some of the smaller games out there. Without much in the way of AAA titles releasing in during this time AND with the Steam Summer Sale recently wrapping up, I managed to get my hands on a number of indie titles currently making the rounds.
In case you’re looking for something to do during these hot summer months, here are a few quick impressions of some of the indie games I’ve been dumping my hours into. ALso, if you picked up some cool games recently, let us know in the comments.
This is a game that can be best described as a Metroidvania title. It features a sprawling map that gets progressively bigger once new abilities are unlocked and gear earned. As players explore this large interconnected world, they can buy new items and maps, while working to a boss lurking in that particular zone. When you die, you do lose your gear, but you can get it back by going to the spot where you died. Unlike most games, simply touching it doesn’t work. You actually leave behind a sort of malevolent spirit that needs to be killed in order to reclaim your gear.
I’m still fairly early in, so I’m not 100% on the story outside of the fact that you play a small warrior, exploring a forgotten and cursed kingdom called Hallownest. The biggest draw for me is the fact that the entire game is hand drawn, which blows my mind. The animations are so smooth and the characters sort of pop off the screen. It’s really well done and so far, the different zones of Hallownest all feel distinct and varied. Definitely looking forward to pushing forward with this one.
While it still may be in the Early Access Program, Dead Cells already feels like a complete and fine-tuned experience. While it does share some Metroidvania style elements like Hollow Knight above, the biggest difference between the two is that Dead Cells is absolutely an action platformer roguelike title. When you die (and you will), you essentially start again without any of the gear or upgrades you previously had upon death.
While you’re still able to find these items as you play through the various dungeons once again, progression is tied to cells that are sometimes found on defeated enemies. Making it to the end of a dungeon lets you interact with a shopkeeper of sorts, spending any collected cells on permanent upgrades that persist between playthroughs or depositing blueprints for new gear that then becomes unlocked and upgradable.
With more development work and updates on the way, I’m looking forward to how developer Motion Twin continues to evolve the experience. Right now, the combat and platforming feel great, with a variety of primary and secondary weapons to really mix up each playthrough. While death in games can result in frustration or anger, Dead Cells typically makes you want to play one more run.
I’d be remiss by not mentioning Pyre which arrives later this month for the PlayStation 4 and PC. For those who don’t know, this is the third release from Supergiant Games, the team that brought us Bastion and Transistor.
As it is with each game they release, Pyre is a little different from its predecessors. IN a high fantasy style world, your character is an exile who joins with two other characters to travel the world and cleanse their souls by defeating other groups of exiles by participating in a Rite. In this combat mode, teams of three fight over a glowing orb in order to take it to their opponents pyre, causing damage to it. The team that completely destroys their opponents pyre wins.
Yes, it’s kind of like a slower paced match of Rocket League or Rift from Destiny. Since this is Supergiant, expect an interesting story to go along with the action, as well as a local multiplayer mode letting couch players place in Rite matches whenever they want. One to keep an eye on, for sure!