Empathy: Path of Whispers

Empathy: Path of Whispers

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

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley is a great update of the free visual novel released by ebi-hime in 2014. In addition to some stunning new artwork and a great soundtrack the story is still as unique as it is captivating. Don’t let the visuals fool you, this novel is not as lighthearted as it first appears and thanks to some great writing the story is a lot more memorable than expected. The game is short enough to complete in a single sitting, but still manages to have a bigger emotional impact than stories that are ten times longer.

Gameplay: Pretty much a kinetic novel with only a single choice, but the story is so good that it is hard to stop playing.

Graphics: The updated artwork looks really nice, but the option to play with the older visuals is a nice touch.

Sound: The hauntingly beautiful soundtrack is definitely a highlight

TankBlitz

TankBlitz

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

The Falconers: Moonlight

The Falconers: Moonlight

Help Cassandra Winter save a small New Zealand town from a monster in this engrossing Visual Novel by Bionic Penguin. Instead of romance or fan-service, this title places the emphasis on action and intrigue. It is a little on the short side, but the unique setting and fascinating lore ensure that there is never a dull moment. Three different endings also provide the game with some replay value, so if you are a fan of the genre then this is definitely one to add to your library.

Gameplay: The story will have you hooked from the start and never lets up.

Graphics: Great character designs and good use of color.

Sound: No voice acting and the music frequently just stops, but the sound effects are excellent

NEKO-NIN exHeart

NEKO-NIN exHeart

Join Haruki, the protagonist of NEKO-NIN exHeart, as he suddenly finds himself with two catgirls on his doorstep claiming that he is their new master. Haruki is understandably dubious about the whole situation and not entirely keen to accept responsibility for the two ninjas, but eventually warm up to their cuteness. This visual novel is a lighthearted affair with beautiful artwork, but the story isn’t’ exactly memorable and it is all over without much really happening along the way. Fans of cat girls will definitely enjoy it, but everyone else should probably try the free demo first.

Gameplay: Only two choices in the entire game and not much in the way of character development, but still enjoyable.

Graphics: The artwork is beautiful and the moving cat ears are as adorable as advertised.

Sound: Nice Japanese voice acting for all the girls, but the music isn’t exactly memorable

The Crow’s Eye

The Crow’s Eye

The Crow’s Eye might not be a jump-scare laden horror title like it first appears to be, but instead offers a compelling and interesting puzzle experience. The story is a more involved than it seems and if you stick with it you’ll also find that there is more to the university than what you might think. There is no doubt that the puzzles sometimes feel a little out of place for the setting and time period of the game, but solving them is a very rewarding experience. Ultimately this game won’t give horror junkies the frights they crave, but if you enjoy a good story and love solving puzzles then you’ve come to the right place.

Gameplay: Light on the scares, but heavy on the puzzle solving and platforming.

Graphics: Nothing cutting edge, but sets the mood nicely.

Sound: Decent voice acting and a great soundtrack

Monster Slayers

Monster Slayers

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

DESYNC

DESYNC

Assault your eyes, ears and self-confidence with this ultra-challenging first person shooter by The Foregone Syndicate. Desync is an all-out action fest that doesn’t believe in hand holding or pulling punches. This can make it an extremely frustrating game, but also very satisfying when you master the skills required to stand a chance. The visuals are stylish, but blinding while the music is outstanding. If you prefer playing your shooters on the easiest setting or easily frustrated, then this is probably not the game for you, but if you want to really put your skills to the test then this is the game to get.

Gameplay: Fast, frantic and very unforgiving.

Graphics: The Tron-style visuals are stylish, but a little headache inducing after a while.

Sound: Sound effects lack a little punch, but the music is excellent

Copoka

Copoka

Copoka is a unique sandbox experience where you get to play as a bird that is reveling in its freedom while surrounded by the oppressed citizens of a totalitarian city state. Your only object is to gather bits and pieces for your nest while listening to the conversations around you to advance the story. It is a very serene experience and the sensation of flying is quite relaxing, but after an hour or two you will have seen everything there is as the gameworld is quite small. While it is not a game for players seeking action or a big challenge, Copoka is fun while it lasts and offers something a little different without costing an arm and a leg.

Gameplay: Fly around eavesdropping on citizens while collecting shiny objects for your nest.

Graphics: The visuals are colorful and stylish, but not that detailed.

Sound: Decent audio and pretty good voice acting

The Wardrobe

The Wardrobe

The Wardrobe isn’t the easiest of point & click adventures, but it is very entertaining and clearly made by people who love the genre. As Skinny the skeleton, you must navigate a neighborhood filled with crazy characters in an effort to save your friend’s soul from eternal damnation. The game sports some some beautifully detailed visuals and every scene is filled with references and homages to pop culture. If you fondly remember titles such as Day of The Tentacle, Sam & Max, and Discworld, then The Wardrobe should not be missed.

Gameplay: Feels like a classic point & click adventure, complete with the high difficulty of the puzzles.

Graphics: Beautiful and detailed visuals that are hand illustrated and digitally colored.

Sounds: Nice tunes and decent voice acting