Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet

Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet

With its quirky sense of humor, interesting cast of characters and plucky protagonist, it is hard not to be charmed by Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet. While the puzzles are somewhat easy, the game had us smiling all the time and even has a few laugh out loud moments. It has obviously been influenced by the Monkey Island series, but without being a carbon copy. If you are a fan of the genre, then The Fowl Fleet should definitely be on your wishlist.

Gameplay: Easy enough for newcomers, but even experienced players will enjoy the quirky setting and characters.

Graphics: The blend of 3D characters and 2D backgrounds work well and the overall art style is very good.

Sound: The soundtrack is nice, but the voice acting steals the show thanks to some great performances

Pharaoh Rebirth+

Pharaoh Rebirth+

Pharaoh Rebirth+ is a Metroidvania style platformer that oozes charm and playability. Even with the low resolution visuals the pixel art remains brilliant and each location is packed with detail. The story is another surprising highlight and you’ll encounter plenty of humor along with interesting twists. You really can’t go wrong with this title if you are a fan of the genre and it manages to shine despite some technical limitations.

Gameplay: The game has a surprising amount of depth for a platformer and plenty of replay value as well.

Graphics: The resolution is rather low, but this doesn’t diminish the brilliance of the pixel art visuals.

Sound: Catchy tunes and decent sound effects

Beat Da Beat

Beat Da Beat

Blast away aliens that move and attack to the beat of some great Dubstep tracks in this addictive bullet hell shooter. The game is no walk in the park and with four difficulty settings as well as ten ships to unlock it will keep you busy for a while. Being a fan of EDM obviously helps, but the charming pixel art style visuals and relentless action is what kept us coming back for more.

Gameplay: As simple as dodging bullets and grabbing coins.

Graphics: Retina searing colors and flashes, but very nice overall.

Sound: Your personal music taste will determine whether you like the Dubstep soundtrack or not

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