Super, super delayed, but hey, better late than never (although I did consider combining this one with next month’s). Regardless, the year started with some solid offerings and I have five such games to talk about. So without further ado, thanks to the publishers who sent these games to me in order to make this list possible and let’s get started.
Graze Counter GM
Graze Counter GM is a bullet hell with a twist. Normally in this genre, you want to stay as far away from bullets as possible to preserve your own life. Here though? Well, you want to stay as close to them as possible, as doing so builds up your graze counter meter – basically the game’s special attack that differs depending on the ship you selected. This gives the gameplay a high-risk, high-reward style to it and I am absolutely here for it.
Other than that mechanic, this is just a well-done shoot ‘em up all around. Nice 2D spritework, great color choices that make it easy to see bullets over the background, fun and snappy movement, cool boss designs, plenty of content to play through over the original Graze Counter released in 2017 – it even has a multitude of difficulty options that honestly make the game a great choice for those that want to try out the genre without getting absolutely shredded by bullets. Definitely worth a look.
Graze Counter GM retails for $15 USD and is available on Steam. It is also available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Switch.
UnderDungeon is a neat little action RPG dungeon crawler done in classic black and white 1-bit style. You play as Kimuto on the first day of his new job and must travel around different dungeons solving puzzles, taking down enemies, and helping out clients for the betterment of the company. The gameplay is simple, but effective and feels a lot like a 2D Zelda game or even Undertale with its use of comedy and its absurd plotline. You’re given several weapons for the combat too, giving you options other than just your standard sword attack – which is still very effective depending on the area.
The levels themselves are on the smaller end, but offer up some nice variety, taking you from a forested cave area to a haunted graveyard with ghosts about. The entire experience lasts roughly 3-4 hours and is worth a look if you’re into indie Zelda-likes.
UnderDungeon retails for $12 USD and is available on Steam. It is also available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Switch.
Farlanders is a turn-based colony sim where you must terraform, strategize, and construct a colony on Mars. It’s honestly part of the reason why this list was so delayed – I kinda got addicted to this little city builder. You get to set up farming, housing, factories, wiring, piping, transportation, and even do research, alien artifact hunting, exploring – the full slate. And all of this is done with some absolutely gorgeous sprite-based graphics that give the entire experience a retro feel.
I had a great time cruising through the campaign, which introduces mechanics at a steady pace all the way up to the end. It basically served as a long tutorial before hopping into free play mode – equally as fun as the former. If you are a colony sim fan in the slightest, then Farlanders is definitely worth it.
Farlanders retails for $15 USD and is available on Steam.
Breakers Collection is a collection of the two original Breakers games, Breakers and Breakers Revenge, released for the arcade in 1996 and 1998 respectively. On top of the games themselves, the collection comes with several new features, including crossplay online mode, rollback netcode, team battle, training mode, and a gallery too. Having never played the game though, I was having a great time just duking it out with a friend in versus mode locally.
The characters are unique, the animations actually look really good given the time period, the movement flows well, and the inputs feel intuitive and are quite easy to pick up if you are familiar with other fighting games. A bit disappointed that the only apparent difference between the original game and Revenge seems to be the addition of a new character and a bunch of balance changes, but it’s a fun collection regardless and worth a shot if you’re into the genre.
Breakers Collection retails for $20 USD and is available on Steam. It is also available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Switch.
A Space For The Unbound
A Space For The Unbound is a whimsical adventure game where you follow the journey of two high school sweethearts during the end of their school days and also the end of the world. It’s a very bittersweet tale, blending slice of life scenes where you really get to learn the characters with the occasional drama to keep the story moving. And the fantasy elements too, it kinda reminded me of the feeling you get when playing through a Key visual novel. It’s bittersweet, engaging, but also oddly relaxing to play.
Gameplay-wise, it’s not too difficult, mainly consisting of the usual back and forth adventure game style puzzles, but it’s not bad. The music, the clean pixel graphics, the setting – it all just combines into one nice little indie adventure game that also leans heavily into the psychological and emotional side of things and if that sounds like your thing, give it a look.
A Space For The Unbound retails for $20 USD and is available on Steam. It is also available through GOG and on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Switch.
And that’s all I got for the start of this year. Some nice indie offerings this time around, and hopefully many more to come.