Thursday, December 29, 2016

Daily Indie - Day Three : Don'Yoku


Now Available on Steam

Developed by  Dark-Spot Studio


Just a quick reminder that you should try Don'Yoku.

Remember when shoot'emups and bullet hells were actually as brutal, 'manly' and badass as their difficulty, and not exclusively about magical shoujos?

Don'Yoku is a rare breed of manly shoot'em up action with a very traditional arcade flavor, the last of its kind in an already struggling genre that seems to be dominated by formulaic Touhou knockoffs.

Seriously though, this has the visual aesthetics of a Toaplan classic like Batsugun, the heavily rockin' soundtrack of a Raizing romp like Battle Garegga (think Dimahoo), and the tight and realized scoring system of a modern cave title a la DoDonPachi. That's a seriously impressive balance to achieve, and if you have any idea what I'm talking about so far you should probably just pick up this game right now.

Don'yoku; the last of the 'manly' shooters! 


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Daily Indie - Day Two: Trigonarium


Now Available on Steam

Developed by Kimmo Lahtinen


Slick and responsive twin-stick shooter with a bright, colorful, and psychedelic visual style and a very intuitive and addictive dashing mechanic. Each dash ends with a powerful burst obliterating any nearby baddies with an extremely satisfying explosion, and is crucial in the most chaotic of moments.

The sound design kept my ears perked at all times just as any authentic arcade experience should, with distinct bleeps of power ups being collected and the tinkling of small crystalline enemies spawning from their red-glowing silhouette. Trigonarium is a twin-stick that just bleeds with awesome and nostalgic atmosphere.

The gameplay starts off slowly in usual twin-stick fashion with smaller enemies casually lurching around you from each corner, but as time goes on and score conditions are met the frequency and intensity of waves increases into a seriously chaotic clusterfuck of colorfully calculated craziness. The arenas begin to transform and screen-filling bosses show up to occasionally greet you. Things get tense to the point where you're counting down every second until your next Dash move is charged to plow your way forcefully to that crucial power-up that just spawned across the map.

Trigonarium is an incredibly charming and inventive, extremely fun to play twin-stick and is criminally underpriced given the amount of fun I've squeezed out of it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Daily Indie for the New Year - Day One: Space Hole

Hey everyone! Sorry for the radio silence, I had a series of computer problems interspersed with real life interruptions. I'm back though, and finally have a new PC so I can get back to seeking out, discovering, and then bringing your attention to more obscure and under the radar games coming out in the underworld of Steam.

To get back into the groove of things I'd like to do a Daily Indie Spotlight for the duration of the current ongoing Steam sales to help shine some needed light on underrated and underplayed indies you can grab on sale. Until the last day of Steam sales, I'll be looking back at some titles I've recently missed that I think are very under-the-radar and seriously deserve your attention for being original, creative, weird, and just plain fun. It's Holiday time and things are busy so I'll keep these nice and brief, until I get back into the motion of things!

First on the list:

Space Hole

Now Available on Steam ($0.49 on Sale, $0.99 normal)

Developed by Sam Atlas


Super Monkey Ball, or Marble Madness for the old fogeys, in a terrestrial setting drenched in stylish indie rock and geometric oddities to roll around in with your bubble-encased space ship. It's as weird as it sounds and I love it.

The control you have over the rolling is very fluid much like any of the top marble-rolling titles out there and I never felt like I was fighting with the controls especially with a gamepad. The strange and out-there galactic setting along with the engaging and weirdly outside-the-box level design, not-too-easy-but-not-quite-impossible stages of varying colors and shapes to navigate make this really satisfying to play and visually really fun to look at especially given the price. Many of the later levels become a bit frustrating displays of trial-and-error but the execution is almost always ingenious and original, full of excellent ideas that sometimes just take a few tries before really working and keep you retrying on even the oddest seeming solutions.

The soundtrack is a big plus just for following in the vein of the rest of the game and trying something new, will probably be grating on the ears for those not keen on 'indie rock'. Like so many of the indie garage bands remembered from my middle to high school days the music is an instant hook that's catchy, fast, and melodic yet heavy. It even gets pretty psychedelic and trippy at times fitting the surreal imagery of rolling your space ship through the galaxy a la Katamari Damacy.

Fun, addictive, just the right amount of challenge, super affordable (Seriously the game is a dollar, or 50 cents on sale!) and overall really weird in the best ways possible. Indie as it should be.