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

Defragmented

Defragmented

Defragmented makes the most of its Cyberpunk setting and while the visuals are not exactly cutting edge the gameplay is very addictive. It is a game that is not afraid to challenge players, but prevailing against the overwhelming odds is extremely satisfying. The game also features a synthwave soundtrack so good it is almost worth the price of admission on its own.

Gameplay: Fast paced and very challenging, but also very addictive and rewarding.

Graphics: Simple, but fitting and the destructible environments are a great touch.

Sound: The soundtrack is pure synthwave epicness

BeatBlasters III

BeatBlasters III

BeatBlasters III shows a lot of imagination but has the gameplay to back up the wacky plot. The developers have gone for a quality over quantity approach with each level looking totally unique. It takes a while to get used to the controls but using a controller makes a big difference. If you are looking for an interesting fusion of platforming, puzzle solving and rhythm based action then grab yourself a copy.

Gameplay: A very interesting fusion of genres.

Graphics: The 2D visuals are packed with detail and imagination.

Sound: The music is not my favorite genre but it matches the theme of the game

Papers, Please

Papers, Please

Papers, Please is one of those titles that you have to play in order to truly appreciate. It is hard to try to explain the concept to someone else without making it sound dull, but believe me the game will suck you in. With some thought provoking moral dilemmas and multiple endings you might find yourself coming back to this one again and again.

Gameplay: A truly unique and engrossing experience.

Graphics: The unique visual style matches the mood and setting of the game perfectly.

Sound: Sparse but very fitting

Cubixx HD

Cubixx HD

Cubixx HD takes the addictive formula of the old arcade hit, Qix, and drags it into the modern era. The 3D playing field increases the challenge, but the basics can be mastered in no time. Putting up a decent highscore and completing the Challenge levels takes a bit more practice though, not to mention taking on the online leaderboards. Even when failing repeatedly, the addictive gameplay, stylish visuals and thumping soundtrack will keep you coming back for more.

Gameplay: Easy to learn, but tough to master just like a good arcade/puzzle game should be.

Graphics: Nothing too flashy, but very nice overall.

Sound: Definitely a game where you will want to crank the volume up loud

AIPD – Artificial Intelligence Police Department

AIPD – Artificial Intelligence Police Department

For an action packed, neon fueled arcade shooter look no further than AIPD. Despite the intriguing title the game does not have a story driven campaign mode, but it does have tons of action. The amount of enemy and arena permutations on offer also gives it a bit more replay value than typical arcade shooters. Best of all it features a four player local coop mode, which is as fun as it is chaotic.

Gameplay: Plenty of old school shooting action.

Graphics: The 80s style neon glow art style have been done before, but still looks great.

Sound: Features a nice electronic soundtrack and solid sound effects