Another month, another bunch of games released. Here’s seven games that you may have missed in October 2019. As usual, this list is in no particular order, so let’s get started.
Cathedral is a fun little action-adventure platformer in the style of the NES games of old. In fact it even makes use of the NES color palette and sound capabilities to achieve this effect. However, Cathedral doesn’t restrict itself this way, adding in some changes of its own to establish its own unique identity, yet staying true to the core of what makes an NES game fun.
You play as a nameless knight thrown into another world with no recollection of how you got there. You’re then tasked with exploring this world and its inhabitants. The world itself is a vast hand-crafted 2D series of rooms. In fact, there’s over 600 of these interconnected rooms. These rooms hold enemies, puzzles, bosses, and plenty of secrets and treasure to find. In traditional NES style, the game does not hold your hand, making some areas very difficult to get through.
It is also full of backtracking in that same NES style, which can be an annoyance at times, but not enough to completely kill the experience. I personally had fun exploring, picking up new abilities, and dispatching the various enemies and bosses the game threw at me. The fact that the controls are so fluid and intuitive definitely helps too. For those into these classic-style action-platformers, it’s definitely worth the look.
We got quite a few sandbox strategy games this past month, with Autonauts being one of the more notable ones. In it, you are tasked with colonizing uninhabited planets from scratch. You land on said planet, harvest some resources, and begin building farms, forestries, mines, etc. At first, you do all of this by yourself. However, with time, you can slowly automate all of it, hence the title of the game.
You’re able to build bots that can accomplish all of these tasks for you, programming them to suit your needs. The programming aspect is actually quite complex and has a ton of different options. You’re able to set individual actions (like move here, pick up item, use item over here) and even loop these actions according to certain conditions (like until the area is depleted, the storage is full, or until held item is destroyed). You can even set loops within other loops, just like actual programming. The game may have a kiddie art style to it, but it’s definitely more complex than it seems. In fact, it could even be a good learning tool for kids.
Although you do start out by crafting, building, and harvesting by yourself, the bulk of the game ends up being the automation of these tasks through programming robots, so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re expecting a more traditional base building game, which Autonauts definitely is not. However, I found it to be quite fun, reminiscent of modded Minecraft in a way.
So here we have a rogue-lite in the same vein as The Binding of Isaac, but instead of you shooting the projectiles, it’s your two pet cats doing all the work. Cat lady is the second PC release from Rose City Games, the same studio that made The World Next Door, a neat little indie game I reviewed earlier this year. With Cat Lady, they’ve made the jump to rogue-lite twin-stick shooter, complete with randomly generated levels, weapon upgrades, and bosses to fight.
The combat works via your two cats: your primary cat that shoots projectiles from your position, and your secondary cat that moves to where your cursor is before unleashing its own attack. Throughout the game, you’re given the chance to swap to and from these cats, with some cats shooting in straight lines, another that shoots multiple projectiles that follow enemies, and even one that does a ground pound attack at your cursor. All of these can also be upgraded during each run, including the usual range and damage upgrades on top of more special ones like piercing attacks and enemy debuffs.
The game is currently available as an Early Access title, with a full release expected sometime in Spring 2020. As it stands, the enemy and upgrade variety are a bit limited, but I’m looking forward to seeing what the full version will add.
Pine is a full-fledged open-world action-adventure game reminiscent of Breath of the Wild. You play as a human whose home has been destroyed and must set out on an adventure to find a new place for your tribe to settle. Along the way you’ll run into a multitude of animal tribes, some of which are friendly and some of which that are not so much.
A big part of the game is communicating with these tribes and building relationships with them. You can donate food, materials, and other objects to them in order to do so, which then allows you to enter the tribe and trade with them. As this is a survival game, food also plays a big role. Not only is it required for the player to be able to keep moving, but other tribes also require it to continue their existence. Given this, you can expand allied tribes by giving them food or destroy others by stealing it. That or you can just leave the tribes be and let them fend for themselves, as they will still seek out food on their own and form relationships with other tribes without any player input. It’s a very dynamic game world and it makes exploration quite rewarding as a result.
And of course, the graphics are also worth a mention. The game takes on a more stylized cartoony art style, with a bright color palette and great use of lighting. That, combined with the great background music, provide for a very visually-striking experience.
Little Big Workshop
And here we have another sandbox strategy game, this time built around making your own dream factory. Little Big Workshop is a game that combines resource management, economics, and sandbox building all into one small package. It is a surprisingly complex strategy game, with the player having to manage everything from ordering parts, to modifying said parts, to keeping employees satisfied and on-task, and finally delivering a finished product, oftentimes by a certain deadline.
This is a game that greatly emphasizes efficiency, the kind of efficiency achieved by keeping clear pathways for workers, using machines and physical labor simultaneously in the production process, and picking out the most cost-effective material to use in that process. You start small with stuff like tables, shelves, rubber ducks, and sandbox kits, but can eventually make more complex stuff like catapults, guitars, and even drones. And of course, this is all dependent on what the market currently demands, so if you’re producing something no one wants, you’re not going to get a high price for it. The market is constantly shifting too, so you’ll be changing up what the factory is working on on almost a daily basis.
It can be a bit hectic at times, but it’s a solid strategy game regardless and I had a lot of fun tinkering with my little factory. I did find it a bit annoying how often workers got exhausted and how often machines and workbenches broke down, but if anything, it does give the game at least some sense of realism.
MISTOVER is basically what you would get if you took Darkest Dungeon and combined it with an anime aesthetic. The same brutally difficult gameplay is there, but this time it’s a bunch of stylized anime character dying. It’s quite the contrast, but it makes for a pretty cool aesthetic.
The game takes place in a world where humanity is on the brink of extinction due to the sudden appearance of the Pillar of Despair, a vortex that unleashed monsters into the world. Survivors got together and formed the Corps, a group tasked with journeying into the Vortex and revealing its secrets. You take up the role of one of these groups, managing everything from its members, to its formation, and, of course, its equipment.
The gameplay has you going around various dungeons and picking up loot hidden in debris and in chests, defeating enemies in turn-based battles, and filling out a map along the way. Food and light play an important role, with every step you take reducing both gradually, eventually completely limiting your visibility and slowly starving your party to death. You’ll need to constantly keep both in check in order to keep exploring, lest you die and tick down the doomsday clock further. Once the clock hits midnight, the world comes to an end, your party included.
It is a very stressful game in this sense, but it makes the exploration and combat that much more rewarding. I had a lot of fun playing around with different characters, gathering a bunch of loot, and really just taking in the game’s excellent dark fantasy aesthetic. Fans of dungeon crawlers should definitely give this one a look, especially since some of its launch problems have already been sorted out.
Inspired by the likes of Castlevania, Celeste, and Mega Man, OUTBUDDIES is a metroidvania developed entirely by a one-man team over the past six years. It takes on a retro aesthetic, with a limited color palette of mostly brights. This color palette can even be changed to just 8-bit in the settings, to give the game a more MS-DOS feel.
The retro theme doesn’t just apply to the aesthetic though, it also makes its way into the gameplay. Everything from the maze of rooms that make up the game world, to the precise platforming, and even the four-directional aiming all give the game a very retro feel. Of course, this is all done at modern standards, with the game running at a smooth 60fps and even utilizing its own physics engine.
The game also has a heavy emphasis on co-op play, allowing you to journey into the depths with a buddy. This second player takes up the controls of a floating robot that follows the first player around. This robot can do several things that the main player cannot, including manipulation of the game world by picking up and throwing around objects. However, if you’re going solo, you can just as easily take control of the robot at any time. The controls do take some getting used to, but it can be done.
Overall though, OUTBUDDIES is a solid take on the metroidvania genre. It’s got a good aesthetic going for it, an interesting dual-character system, and a massive game world that can be explored at your leisure, as the game is pretty non-linear. For being a one-man production, it’s pretty impressive.
And that will wrap up this month’s list. This one actually ended up being longer than the past two months, so I opted to drop the TOP 5 and TOP 6 from the video title that I used in those because the number is going to vary a lot in each month, so it doesn’t make much sense to keep it in there. Anyways, if you’re not already subscribed, be sure to do so, it really helps out. And if I perhaps missed a game that you really liked this past month, do let me know in the comments down below. Thanks for watching and see you guys in the next one.