Caromble! (Crimson Owl Studios)

Caromble! (Crimson Owl Studios)

Fancy a rather destructive take on the brick break genre? Well, Caromble from Crimson Owl Studios has got you covered. The five members that make up this talented team of Dutch indie developers have apparently been working on the game for a few years already while also juggling other jobs, so clearly they are committed to getting it right!

Deathsmiles

Deathsmiles

Combine the gothic art style of the early Castlevania games and mix it with the frantic bullet hell gameplay CAVE is so good at and you get Deathsmiles. Although it has been many years since the game first graced arcades and the Xbox 360 its arrival on the PC is still a cause for celebration. The loss of online coop and lack of PC extras is a pity, but the game will still put a smile on any shooter fan’s face.

Gameplay: Not the hardest game in the genre, but attaining a highscore still takes skill.

Graphics: The arcade mode visuals look a bit dusty, but the rest of the game still look good considering its age.

Sound: The soundtrack is nice and energetic while the sound effects are good without being overwhelming

Shardlight

Shardlight

Guide Amy Wellard through a post-apocalyptic world where the poor try to eke out an existence under the oppressive rule of the aristocracy. Shardlight features an interesting setting, memorable characters and some great pixel art visuals. The fact that the puzzles are logical and the audio is superb also makes it easy to recommend to point & click adventure fans. Overall, this is yet another fine release from Wadjet Eye Games and is sure to please fans.

Gameplay: Not too challenging, but enjoyable throughout.

Graphics: Nice pixel art visuals depicting a variety of locations.

Sound: Great soundtrack and stellar voice acting

Plantera

Plantera

Plantera is a very straightforward game with simple, but addictive mechanics. You simply grow your garden, harvest crops and sell them to repeat the cycle. It is a casual clicker title with plenty of things to click, but you can also kick back and leave it to its own devices. If you are not a fan of clicker titles it can become repetitive, but considering its price it is hard to fault.

Gameplay: Very straightforward to play and features a bit more variety than typical clicker games.

Graphics: Bright, colorful and quite charming.

Sound: Nice, but could have benefited from a few more tunes

Blue Rider

Blue Rider

Blue Rider is a game that will make you remember the days of encountering bosses that actually served as a challenge and not just a minor speed bump on your road to finishing the game. And while the game is far from easy it is addictive enough to keep you coming back for more. Thanks to the vibrant visuals and excellent enemy designs, especially the bosses, it is also a very good looking game. If you are not scared to be challenged and in the mood for a very polished shooter then get yourself a copy of Blue Rider.

Gameplay: Tough and uncompromising, but still very entertaining and addictive.

Graphics: Vibrant and varied.

Sound: Nice music and booming explosions

Layers of Fear

Layers of Fear

With its surreal setting and constantly shifting rooms Layers of Fear is a game that is both immersive and captivating. It loves messing with your perception, but also features enough jump scares to keep you on edge all the time. Unless you take the time to explore your surroundings and uncover the clues you’ll miss out on most of the story elements, so it is not a game to rush through. Thanks to its beautiful visuals and excellent audio it is definitely a cut above similar titles in the genre.

Gameplay: Minimal puzzles, but simply exploring the surreal setting of the game is a nerve wracking experience.

Graphics: Very polished and highly detailed.

Sound: Quiet when it needs to be, but also very effective at using audio to unnerve players

NEKOPARA Vol. 2

NEKOPARA Vol. 2

NEKOPARA Vol. 2 once again demonstrates why this series has such a loyal and fanatical following. The artwork by Sayori is as beautiful as always and the animations for the characters continue to impress. The story is still quite lighthearted, but focusses on slightly more serious issues compared to Vol. 1. The Steam version is once again censored, but comes with a lower price point, while the uncensored version cost a bit more, but features plenty of animated H-scenes.

Gameplay: It is a kinetic novel, so there are no branching routes or choices to be made.

Graphics: Stunning artwork and great animations.

Sound: The voice acting is very good and so is the music although most of the tracks will be familiar

Hero Defense – Haunted Island (Happy Tuesday)

Hero Defense – Haunted Island (Happy Tuesday)

Grab your crossbow and put on your garlic aftershave because it is time to hunt things that go bump in the night again. This time the opportunity to thin out the freaks comes courtesy of Hero Defense – Haunted Island from Happy Tuesday. The most powerful vampire in the world, Count Necrosis, is making a menace of himself and his brethren, so you must gather your merry team of slayers to take him down. While this sounds like the perfect setup for some good old fashioned role playing, Hero Defense is actually a tower defense title

Pixel Puzzles 2: Space

Pixel Puzzles 2: Space

Pixel Puzzles 2: Space retains all the elements that made the previous titles so much fun, but continues to refine the successful formula. The interface is better than ever before and the ability to tackle any puzzle without unlocking is also very welcome. The space theme is yet another great match for the genre and once again there are hours of addictive fun to be had with this title. If you are a fan of jigsaw puzzles then this is not to be missed.

Gameplay: Same great jigsaw puzzle gameplay, but with an improved interface.

Graphics: Casual enough to work on virtually any hardware, but the space theme is great.

Sound: Unobtrusive and very relaxing

Dub Dash

Dub Dash

Take control of a spherical object without brakes as it rolls straight into danger with this fast-paced and colorful rhythm action game. Your job is to dodge whatever is coming at you, something which is easier said than done. We could have done without some of the modes, especially the Flappy Bird style sections, but overall this is a great game for those who relish a proper challenge. It is not perfect, but making it through all the tracks in one piece will keep you busy for a while.

Gameplay: Simple controls and straightforward objectives, but the challenge is quite steep.

Graphics: Good, but there is rarely time to gawk at your surroundings.

Sound: The soundtrack is excellent, but until you are good you will be hearing it in bits and pieces