Welcome back. We at Mash Those Buttons have once again explored the darkest recesses of the indie oceans and plucked from the depths five more amazing games you need to be playing right now. Well, after you read this of course. So get those controllers ready ladies and gents. Day 4 of INDIESCAPE begins now.
In truth, most of the time it’s nice to take a step away from gaming cliches or stereotypes, but sometimes it’s down-right fun to embrace them. Doom & Destiny, from Benjamin Ficus Productions and Heartbit Interactive, does just that. It follows a group of four friends who set out to play some Dungeons and Dragons over a friend’s house. Upon entering the house, however, they are attacked and mystically transported into a fantasy world where they must save an entire kingdom from darkness.
The tongue-and-cheek humor and purposely stereotypical concept of the world itself is truly fun. It never takes itself too seriously; in fact, it rarely takes itself seriously at all. It creates a very unique and comical world you truly want to explore. All of that, on top of wonderfully crafted pixel art and a fantastic battle system reminiscent of Grandia and Final Fantasy, Doom & Destiny is a great break from the standard gaming conventions and a truly great RPG.
These days, rogue-like D&D dungeon-crawlers are a lost art and a genre known to a select few gamers. Many game concepts created by these classic titles can be found alive-and-well in other games, yet good modern examples of the genre can be impossible to find at times. Akin to the glory days of Dungeons and Dragons, Epic Dungeon by Eyehook Games, takes players into a dangerous labyrinth of dungeons filled with traps, monsters, and all manner of illusions. After choosing between four classes, the player will enter randomly generated dungeons and travel deeper and deeper into danger as they level-up, unlock new abilities, and face dangerous choices at every turn. The pixel graphics may be a turn-off for some, but the deep gameplay and fantastic concepts found within the monster-filled labyrinths of Epic Dungeon are amazing.
Few indie game developers are as well known as Radian Games, but it is a renown they’ve earned time and time again with great titles on the Indie marketplace. More often than not, they tend to specialize in classic Geometry Wars-esque shooters, but Inferno is a great change of pace and a fantastic concept unto itself. While, at a glance, the gameplay could be described as just another twin stick shooter, it would be a poor description at best.
As players journey through the gorgeous labyrinths of Inferno they will need to collect keys and other power-ups in order to progress from one level to the next, all while surviving enemy attacks and dangerous hazards. As in any other game, the player will need upgrades or enhancements if they are to survive increasingly difficult enemies and environmental traps. In Inferno, these come in the way of ship upgrades like additional guns, homing shots, and increased shields that the player can upgrade and rearrange RPG style as they progress. If you love twin-stick shooters but want a little something different from them, Inferno is definitely your game.
Some of you, being a fans of the classic days of handheld gaming, may wish they still made great titles like the classic Mario Land and Kirby’s Adventure. Sadly, games created like that are few and far between in the modern gaming age. Yet, for all of you searching for a great old-school platformer with classic charm, take a look at Pixel! from Arkedo and Pastagames. This charming little platformer is done in the visual style of classic Game Boy titles, right down to the simplistic two-toned pixels.
You control a small cartoon cat on its journey through this crazy cartoon land of pixels. It’s a simple game to pick up but has truly professional quality gameplay not usually found in games of this type. Everything in Pixel!, from the musical score and sound effects, to the fantastic level designs and quirky story elements, has a truly nostalgic feel to it that brings you right back to the golden age of gaming.
When it comes to puzzle games, sometimes simple ideas are better than advanced game concepts or crazy new convoluted multiplayer modes. Starzzle by Bionic Thumbs is a truly perfect example of this. Starzzle is a light-hearted and fun puzzle game that will give your brain, and thumbs (of course), a bit of a workout.
At its core, Starzzle is a block sliding puzzle game. Your two little characters must work together to collect all of the stars in each area in order to progress to the next level by sliding in such a way as to create new paths for each other. They do not stop until hitting a solid object, so the correct usage of the two characters in tandem is crucial to completing many of the puzzles found within the game. It’s simple, casual-friendly, and just plain fun.
With five more sweet games under our belt, we end Day Four and get ourselves ready for tomorrow; Day Five, the final day of INDIESCAPE. So far, we’ve shown some truly kickass games and developers you should definitely be keeping your collective eyes on in the future, but there’s still more to go. So hold on to your hats and keep your thumbs ready — it’s not over yet. Mash Those Buttons will be back with the last five awesome games of INDIESCAPE tomorrow.
(Titles Covered Today)
Doom & Destiny: Benjamin Ficus Productions & Heartbit Interactive
Epic Dungeon: Eyehook Games
Inferno: Radian Games
Pixel!: Arkedo and Pastagames
Starzzle: Bionic Thumbs
[Images via respective developers]