It’s a new month, so that means a new list of some cool games that may have flown under your radar this past February. I have seven such games to tell you all about today from all sorts of genres, so thanks to the publishers who sent them to me in order to make this list possible and let’s go ahead and get started.
GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon
A sequel to a Japanese exclusive 1987 Famicom game is not something we see all that often, but Konami decided to do just that with GetsuFumaDen. At its core, the game is a roguelike. You will die a lot, but you will also make upgrades along the way to improve with the next run and so on. That style of gameplay is then combined with Castlevania exploration and some straightforward, yet satisfying hack and slash combat.
It’s a nice little blend that I wasn’t sure if I would like that much going into it (the reviews were mixed while it was in Early Access), but I kinda like the finished product here. The aesthetic slaps, the boss fights are cool, and the different weapons are fun to use even if the movement may be a bit rough around the edges. As someone that is big into Japanese folklore, I had a great time here and would recommend it.
GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon retails for $25 USD and is available on Steam and Switch.
I don’t even know where to start with this one. It’s a point-and-click, but it’s also psychological horror. It’s a detective story, but it’s done in reverse. And yes, one of the core mechanics is the ability to adjust your facial expression to match a given situation (or maybe the reverse and you want to get a different result). It’s surreal, it’s sometimes confusing, but I cannot deny that it kinda grabbed me and reminded me a lot of a game I reviewed last year – Critters for Sale.
You basically unravel the story through different “endings”, with each run putting you back at the beginning of the game, but something new being learned in the previous that allows you to get further in the next. After one ending, for example, a shortcut is placed on your desktop that opens up a “desktop demon” to translate some of the things you are seeing in game – that was really cool. It’s kinda hard to go further without spoiling things, but if you’re into more… “weird” games, this is definitely one to give a look – it’s quite unlike anything I’ve played in many months.
Who’s Lila? retails for $12 USD and is available on Steam and itch.io.
Rise of the Third Power
From the same studio that brought us Ara Fell comes another fantasy RPG done in the style of the Japanese console classics. It’s called Rise of the Third Power and the setting throws you into a fantasy realm inspired by late 1930’s European politics and follows the events leading up to a great war. This is coupled with some really nice pixel art and some surprisingly good music – like the type I would expect from a AAA JRPG.
The gameplay is basically what you would expect from this genre. You get this large map to explore, characters to meet and join up as party members, and enemies to take down in traditional JRPG-style turn-based combat. There are skills, energy systems, combo attacks, items, ability trees – basically all the usuals. In a sense, this makes it very straightforward, but I have to commend the polish here – a lot of effort really went into making this feel like a classic RPG while balancing some more modern elements (especially on the quality of life side of things). Regardless, my first impressions thus far have been positive and I’d say it’s worth checking out.
Letters – a written adventure
A hand-drawn adventure game where sentences are your platforms and words are your tools. Letters is a short, yet fun little two hour indie that combines word-based puzzle-solving with a story that actually changes based on what decisions you make along the way. It looks all nice and cutesy on the surface, but the themes discussed here can get rather dark and even depressing. I mean, one of the first decisions you make is which parent to go with after their divorce – and our protagonist is only five years old when making this choice.
So yeah, some heavy stuff here, but it is pretty engaging and I gotta give credit to how creative some of the world puzzles are. It can be a bit challenging, but there is a hint feature to guide you and really, this is the type of game where you’re kinda just there to sit back, take in this story, and have some casual gameplay to match. I had a good time with it and – while it may not be for everyone – I’d give it my seal of approval.
KINGDOM of the DEAD
If you’ve ever wanted to play an indie take on DOOM with a newspaper aesthetic, KINGDOM of the DEAD is pretty close. It’s a first person shooter that has you exploring dark – and I mean the kind of dark where sometimes all you can see are an enemy’s eyes – dungeons and blasting demonic bad dudes with a small, yet effective array of weapons. You got your pistol – excellent for quick and easy headshots – your shotgun, your rifle, your machine gun, even some TNT to toss into a group or at a boss.
The base is solid, although I will admit it is a bit rough around the edges – with some lackluster AI, occasionally wonky movement, and the pace could have been faster too. Still, for an indie take on this genre, it’s a fun enough crack at it and worth a look for genre fans.
KINGDOM of the DEAD retails for $15 USD and is available on Steam.
I have been getting more and more into this genre recently and I am constantly impressed by the quality put out not just by the larger, more well-known studios, but the smaller teams as well. Sophstar is an indie shoot ‘em up that takes all that is great about the genre and slaps you with a bunch of different ships to choose from and a very cool teleport mechanic to give the gameplay its own unique spin on the usual formula.
These games were already fast enough zipping around, dodging bullets, and unleashing bullets of your own, but now you do all of that while teleporting up and down the screen and using a variety of cool power ups offered by the different ships. There’s a nice selection of different game modes to choose from and if anything, I’m impressed with how much is in this little package. My favorite thing was easily shuffling around and figuring out how each ship worked. I will admit, I have been unable to beat the arcade mode yet, but maybe with time… Good game regardless.
Sophstar retails for $10 USD and is available on Steam.
Power to the People
Power to the People is part city builder, part management, and even part puzzle game. And I say city builder, but really, the city is being built for you and you are instead tasked with building up said city’s energy infrastructure. This includes the power generation, transformation, storage, transport, and all of the challenges that come with running a successful power grid. There a bunch of options to choose from in each category and you’ll need to take into account stuff like energy fluctuations throughout the day, heaters causing energy spikes in winter, and the maximum capacity of certain lines.
The fact that cities continue to pop up on the map as you are juggling this makes it even more challenging, given that you cannot place certain objects within city boundaries. This gives the game a nice sense of pace, as you want to get your stuff up and running quickly and prep for expansion instead of just sitting there and letting it idle. There’s a lot more that goes into it, but first impressions thus far have been solid and I would recommend this to other management or city builder fans.
Power to the People retails for $15 USD and is available on Steam.
And that’s all I got for this list. Definitely a wider selection than last month, so hopefully at least one of these games caught your interest. Anyways, I’ll see you all in the next one.