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

Hidden Folks

Hidden Folks

Hidden Folks is a game where you get to search large, detailed, hand drawn landscapes for people and items. This is repeated across four different landscapes made up of 14 levels. The gameplay is simple, but addictive, while the monochrome visuals and mouth-originated sound effects further add to the charm. If you are looking for something that is easy to pick up and play, but challenging enough to keep you busy for a while, then we recommend you give Hidden Folks a chance.

Gameplay: Very simple, but finding all the hidden folks is quite a challenge.

Graphics: The art style looks great and some of the larger scenes are really impressive.

Sound: Instead of traditional audio the game uses mouth-originated sound effects for everything

Sweetest Monster

Sweetest Monster

Sweetest Monster is the latest release from ebi-hime, which means interesting characters and memorable situations. It is defintely a much darker title than what you might think, but one that kept us hooked right to the very end. At only about 40,000 words it is slightly shorter than the average visual novel, but the story is good and the price very reasonable. Anyone looking for something with a bit more substance than the typical lighthearted cat-girl visual novels should definitely give this kinetic novel a try.

Gameplay: Beautifully written and definitely very memorable despite the lack of choices or story branches.

Graphics: The game only features a limited amount of character sprites and backgrounds, but they are all great.

Sound: There is no voice acting, but the background music and sound effects are of a very high standard

Ellipsis

Ellipsis

Don’t be fooled by the beautiful minimalist visuals that Ellipses sports. It isn’t just another Geometry Wars clone, but a polished and very addictive title where your avoidance skills and puzzle solving abilities are needed instead of an itchy trigger finger. Ellipses features tons of great levels, spread across eight worlds and in addition to plenty of replay value it also ships with a level editor and Steam Workshop support. If you are looking for something fresh and unique this is definitely not a title you want to miss.

Gameplay: Simple, but very polished and highly addictive.

Graphics: Makes great use of minimalist, but striking visuals.

Sound: Complements the on-screen action perfectly