King Oddball is an incredibly competent puzzler. While it's certainly not going to blow your mind, it will provide you with a couple of hours of rock solid, if slightly uninteresting, physics-based gameplay. Comparisons to its high-flying contemporary are inevitable, but a gleefully absurd premise combined with equally bizarre presentation go a long way in differentiating it from the competition. Hail to the king, baby.
Transistor is an absolute triumph: a stunning sensory experience that buoys its lofty ambitions on a rock solid strategic core. It spins a tale of love, technology, and political and social unrest that speeds confidently towards a magnificent crescendo. What's more, the razor sharp combat remains thrilling throughout, and the visuals and music display an almost superhuman level of polish. While niggling complaints can certainly be levelled at the gorgeous indie, a trip to Cloudbank comes highly recommended.
Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a poignant and powerful reminder of the significant human toll borne of the wars that we so often act out in our favourite video games. It doesn't exaggerate or embellish its subject matter, but rather tells a story rooted in historical accuracy and human emotion. And while the puzzler's gameplay isn't revolutionary by any means, its awe-inspiring visual design, clever soundtrack, and thoughtful plot will break your heart in the best possible way.
Crimsonland is exactly one video game: a perfectly competent twin-stick shooter, and nothing else. Unfortunately, the title's quests feel a bit half-baked, and the whole thing could do with a facelift. However, with an addictive survival mode, a proliferation of interesting perks, and a host of guns to collect, those in the market for some mindless action are likely to find a lot to like here.
The Swapper is an indie puzzle platformer with a gameplay hook which is cleverly married to a grand operatic narrative. Its strange visuals and atmospheric soundtrack augment this vision, creating a wholly unique and cohesive experience. While some of its later puzzles are a bit too fiddly for their own good, and the overall pacing sometimes feels a little off kilter, this is still a space voyage that comes highly recommended.
Despite its seemingly vanilla exterior, CounterSpy is a remarkably ambitious title. It makes an admirable attempt at creating a new kind of 2D stealth game, but unfortunately the results just aren't particularly compelling. While its presentation is dapper and divine, its gameplay is clunky, and the whole experience gets tiresome very quickly.
With tight gameplay, sharp shooting, and a remarkable sense of style, Futuridium EP Deluxe is a delightful 3D shooter. While there are certainly moments of frustration to be had here – predominantly stemming from misjudged aiming – the gorgeous graphics and stellar soundtrack more than make up for any misgivings. Oh, and if you do decide to play it, be sure to use headphones.
Stating that 'you'll enjoy this game if you're a fan of the genre' is arguably the most meaningless and overused video game review cliché of all time. But in the case of Pier Solar HD, it's startlingly accurate. This is a retro RPG down to its very core, and if you aren't prepared to accept its charmingly archaic quirks, you probably won't relish your time with it. However, if you are willing to embrace its idiosyncrasies – some amiable, some aggravating - you'll find a veritable wealth of content to explore.
Pix the Cat is a fiendishly addictive arcade experience. Featuring a bevy of different modes, rock solid core mechanics, and a ludicrous level of polish, it has the potential to devour gaping chunks of your time. Unfortunately, slightly shonky controls let the title down, but if you can look past this misstep, you'll find hours of leaderboard climbing action.
Someone considerably more famous and intelligent than us once said that simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication, and Race the Sun is the interactive embodiment of that idea. This is an incredibly humble game, both in gameplay and presentation, but one that is tense, satisfying, and totally hypnotic.
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is a fast-paced and fun twin-stick shooter. Its strengths lie in its tight gameplay, and the almost infinite replayability created by its endlessly inventive special abilities. Similarly, its darkly humorous story and visuals are nothing if not memorable. However, if you aren't prepared to truck with this deranged premise, then you probably won't enjoy your time in the basement.
With stunning presentation, and a clever core mechanic, Teslagrad does a lot to impress. Unfortunately, its occasionally unwieldy controls, inconsistent difficulty, and needlessly challenging boss fights mar the experience. However, if you can look past these infidelities, you'll find an incredibly unique and often satisfying puzzle platformer.
Trine: Enchanted Edition is a nice visual update of a classic puzzle platformer. Featuring consistently clever challenges, jaw-droppingly gorgeous visuals, and a smart script, it'll likely charm your pants right off. A lack of variety and slightly shonky combat certainly mars the experience, but not enough to ruin the game's solid core mechanics.
Don Bradman Cricket is an incredibly competent cricket simulation game. With a slew of modes, countless customisation options, and numerous clever design choices, it provides an accurate and fun digital version of the popular sport. Shoddy menus, poorly implemented tutorials, and an overall lack of visual and audio polish certainly diminish the experience, but not enough to stop this sporting sojourn from being worth taking out for a spin.
In simple terms, Hatoful Boyfriend is an infectiously bizarre dating simulator about choosing a partner from a particularly fanciful flock of pigeons. But when all the birds come home to roost, your enjoyment of this comical curio is almost entirely dependent on your ability to truck with its utterly insane premise. Indeed, if you don't take umbrage with a bit of pigeon-on-human romance, you're likely to be taken on a riotous and remarkable romp.
The title's biggest downfall, then, is not any one single thing, but rather its overwhelming ambition. And in the grand scheme of things, perhaps that's not the worst problem to have. Indeed, despite its admittedly frequent rough patches, it's very hard to not admire the way this humble indie game so earnestly reaches for the stars.
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is a masterwork – a gorgeous and subtle experience, which treats you as an adult, without ever indulging in pretence. It cares about its characters enough to give them interesting and meaningful things to say, while also playing host to some truly breathtaking art direction and music.
Grow Home is a gorgeous title which acts as yet another example that not all games need to be hours upon hours long. Its unique climbing mechanics make for a tense and often terrifying time, while its endearing story grounds the entire experience. There are some niggling control issues, but the stunning presentation and subtle soundtrack round things out, ultimately making for a satisfying and adorable game.
Beyond Eyes is an incredibly admirable game. Its aim of simulating the experience of being blind is buoyed by a clever central conceit, and genuinely breathtaking presentation. Unfortunately, an exceedingly frustrating pace combined with a lackluster story means that the title ultimately buckles under the weight of its own ambition.
Action Henk is a slick and addictive platformer. Its mechanics and controls are perfectly tuned, and its momentum-based gameplay is somewhat original and fun, but a couple of visual hiccups, some slightly bland level design, and a few wonky power-ups mean that it never reaches its full potential. However, as an exercise in running and jumping, few titles match its physics-based prowess.