From Donkey Kong and Dig Dug to Gauntlet and Gradius, the 1980s were a golden era for classic video-game franchises. One of these franchises is Lode Runner, which was first released for the Apple II in 1983 and quickly moved on to other platforms. Its action-packed, yet puzzle-oriented gameplay made it an instant hit and even people like Alexey Pajitnov counted it amongst their favorite puzzle titles. Although there hasn’t been a shortage of new releases over the years, the last appearance of Lode Runner was back in 2012 on Android and iOS. Thankfully, this is about to change with the upcoming release of Lode Runner Legacy for PC
Whether you fondly remember the original 1989 Master System version or simply enjoy good platform games, Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap should not be missed. This updated version is a true labor of love and features great artwork, brilliant re-orchestrated versions of the classic tunes as well as the ability to switch to the original audio and visuals on the fly. The gameplay is also still every bit as addictive as it was back in the day and can now be taken up or down a notch depending on your skill level. It is definitely no exaggeration to say that Lizardcube has pulled off one of the most impressive remakes of a retro classic that we have seen to date.
Gameplay: Still plays great and showcases why this game is widely regarded as a classic of its time.
Graphics: The new hand-drawn visuals look great and are also beautifully animated.
Sound: The original soundtrack is catchy, but the re-orchestrated version sounds even better
From big bosses and swarms of enemies to screens filled with bullets and explosions, Drifting Lands offers everything fans expect from the side scrolling shooter genre. However, it goes one step further by also merging it with some action-RPG elements that will keep you coming back for more in a bid to customize your ship to the max. It starts out a little slow, but thanks to multiple difficulty grades, the intensity of the action quickly ramps up. Anyone with an itchy trigger finger looking for a shooter that has a bit more replay value than usual shouldn’t at the very least try out the free demo.
Gameplay: A little overwhelming at times, but at least you are eased into things quite gently.
Graphics: Detailed and colorful, especially for a side scrolling shooter, but very few truly jaw-dropping set pieces.
Sound: The sound effects lack a little punch, but the soundtrack is as varied as it is rocking
Rocking Pilot enables players to live out their Airwolf fantasies by taking control of a helicopter and laying waste to enemy armies. The game takes the form of a 2D, top down shooter with colorful visuals and arcade style gameplay. Plenty of mission variety and addictive online leaderboards make up for the relatively short campaign mode and the game is addictive enough that you’ll keep coming back until you’ve earned every collectible. Add to this the low price of the game and you have a title that is essential for fans of the genre.
Gameplay: Fast, frantic and very, very addictive.
Graphics: Bright and colorful, albeit a little cramped.
Sound: Features a suitable rocking soundtrack
Empathy: Path of Whispers might look like a typical walking simulator, but it isn’t afraid to test the boundaries of the genre. The surreal gameworld isn’t just pretty to look at, but also offers players more freedom to explore than similar titles. It is up to players to piece together the fragmented story by finding and listening to the memories of the missing people who once inhabited the lonely landscapes. This means that some players will love the act of tracking down all the memories and connecting the clues while others will find it needlessly repetitive and obtuse.
Gameplay: A mixture of exploration, listening to audio memories, solving minor puzzles and unraveling the story.
Graphics: The surreal landscapes look great from a distance, but loses some splendor when viewed up close.
Sound: The soundtrack is good and the game features a large cast of diverse character voices
If you have a hankering for jumping into a tank and blasting everything in your path to smithereens then TankBlitz has got you covered. This 2D, top down shooter looks and feels like an arcade game from the nineties, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s got nonstop action, tons of different enemies to shoot at and enough upgrades to keep you coming back for more. Three difficulty levels and plenty of achievements add to the replay value, but we would have loved to see more than 12 levels. Nevertheless, the game is entertaining from start to finish and we had a blast with it.
Gameplay: Shoot things to earn cash for upgrades so you can do it all again with even more powerful weapons.
Graphics: Not as sharp as we would have liked in high resolution, but packed with detailed.
Sound: No speech, but the effects sound like they’ve been plucked straight from an arcade
Senran Kagura Estival Versus offers an impressive amount of fanservice mixed up with some solid hack and slash combat. The game does have its fair share of questionable elements, but it certainly doesn’t skimp on content. There is a meaty story mode to complete, along with plenty of side missions, while the money you earn can be spent on clothing and accessories for the girls. Like most hack and slash games it can get a little repetitive, but despite the large cast none of the girls feel alike in personality or fighting style. If you are a fan of the series or enjoy fighting games, this comes highly recommended, as long as you realize you are going to get bombarded by fanservice around every turn.
Gameplay: Features plenty of content and a learning curve that eases you into the various combos and attacks you can pull off.
Graphics: Looks great on PC and the detail as well as animations are impressive.
Sound: Full Japanese voice acting for all the girls and a funky soundtrack that complements the action nicely
Shooting girls with a pheromone gun in order to provide them with euphoria is every bit as strange in the game as it sounds on paper, but somehow it works. Gal*Gun: Double Peace certainly doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it knows its audience very well, so you can expect plenty of squealing girls and fan service. However, if you look past the ecchi exterior, you’ll also find a very entertaining game with plenty of replay value. It is obviously not a title that is going to appeal to the easily offended, but if you are a fan of anime or manga and can appreciate some slightly lewd humor you’ll have fun with this game.
Gameplay: On-rail shooters are still a rarity on PC and this one is a lot of fun.
Graphics: Colorful and detailed, but also not without flaws.
Sound: Nice soundtrack and good voice acting
Assassin’s Creed is a great game that is hampered by a few small flaws that drag it down from greatness. Don’t let this stop you from experiencing a truly epic and unique storyline that will have you gripped right until the end.
Gameplay: A little rough around the edges at times, but with plenty of cool ideas.
Graphics: Some epic scenes.
Sound: Quite immersive
Plunder dungeons, dark forests and dank swamps in this addictive new rogue-like deck-building RPG adventure from Nerdook. Thanks to the charming visuals, stellar audio and fiendishly fun gameplay, this is a title you can easily lose yourself in for hours. It packs a ton of replay value and there is always another level of fame, a new deck strategy or better equipment waiting for you to draw you back in. While it might seem very simple at first, the game has plenty of depth without sacrificing accessibility. Fans of the genre will love every minute and even newcomers shouldn’t hesitate to grab this game.
Gameplay: Deceptively simple, but extremely addictive, this is a game that can keep you busy for a long time.
Graphics: Features the charming art-style that Nerdook titles are known for, but much more polished and detailed than previous titles.
Sound: Great soundtrack and some unexpectedly nice sound effects as well as speech