Curation - 2021
I don't write a full review or First Impressions article for every game - most only receive curation, which are 200 character stubs designed for Steam, itch.io or other platforms. Below is a collection of curated reviews but if you like what you see I would encourage you to visit (and follow) my Steam Curation page instead as it is updated more frequently and includes a sorting function. Click the image on the right to visit my curator page.
30 November 2022
Smoothcade is an arcade platformer that looks and sounds like it’s made for small children but – and I can’t stress this enough – is really a super game for all ages. It's very modern, highly polished, and super sleek.
Festive Finds: Happy Holidays Calendar
27 December 2021
The legends at Imaginary Friends Games sent me a copy of Festive Finds as a nice Christmas gesture. I was out of town at the time so a little late getting this post up but it's a spot the difference game built on an advent calendar. Very nicely made. The kids and I love it, thank you!
Scavenger of Dunomini
27 December 2021
Scavenger is an incredible reimagining of the Match-3 genre. First, there's two clocks - you have to keep your stacks low but you also have to stop the raiders. To make it even more challenging, each resource has its own match pattern. That would be enough to make a fresh game but that's not enough for PUNKCAKE, who have made a name for themselves for adding subtle complexity. To succeed you will need to use all the controls - grab sideways, not just underneath, throw blocks, and work in both planes. As always, I'm in love with PUNKCAKE's pixel art and Pentadrangle's soundtrack. And it's their first 2P game!
22 December 2021
Crackpet Show's a lot of fun. Gentle learning curve but gets hectic quickly. Features Binding of Isaac-style combat but with plenty of mechanical differences and its own quirky personality. Great fun.
The Legend of Tianding
29 November 2021
Tian Ding is a brilliant run and gun. The platformer elements require creative use of martial artists to uncover secret areas. Fun fight, memorable bosses, great story, incredible graphics. Top shelf.
23 November 2021
I can only describe HyperRogue as "surprisingly fun" - I happily burned a whole hour just messing around in the tutorial! The non-euclidian geometry is just the surface. A real diamond in the rough.
Won't be for everyone but it's one of my all-time favourite games.
Tetris Effect: Connected
30 August 2021
This isn't just a modernised version of Tetris, it's an audio-visual *experience*. It's loaded with fresh new game modes and mechanics for both solo and multiplayer. Absolutely mind-blowingly good.
27 August 2021
A fast-paced, unforgiving roguelite platformer with an awesome range of weapons, enemies, and bosses. The graphics are nicely polished and the gameplay is both super slick and super replayable.
29 October 2021
Pixel art and music are both glorious. Controls are simple but nuanced, based around controlling a formation rather than a single fighter. You've got nine pilots to beat three levels and three bosses. The levels are the same every time but the trick is to try to work out the best combination of pilots on each level to maximise your sustainability and efficiency. As each pilot has totally distinct strengths, weaknesses, weapons, and controls, this leads to far more replayability than you might expect, and there's also a pile of handicap-based challenges you can tack on. Might have liked another level or two but there's hours of entertainment here as-is.
5 October 2021
PUNKCAKE have quickly made a name for themselves for reinventing the shooter genre and they've done it again. This one's a roguelite where you get stronger by unlocking new cards. The tricky part: The cards only unlock through gameplay, but they also affect your current game. And while every card may give you some powerful bonus, they also come with an equally powerful penalty. To succeed, you need to find synergy between the cards so that the penalties actually make you more powerful. And of course there's always more than meets the eye with any PUNKCAKE game. Dig deep! PS: How cool is the 1-bit pixel art!
If on a Winter's Night, Four Travellers
5 October 2021
Four Travellers is as beautiful as it is dark. It's a point and click game but it's an interactive story, not an adventure game. A tragic tale, wonderfully told and presented in gorgeous pixel art.
19 August 2021
PUNKCAKE keep reinventing the shooter genre. This time they've crossed it with Minesweeper, and it's awesome. Loads of different baddies and upgrades, and there's a bit of a management sim going on in the background - it's not as simple as beating each level.. you have to pick your upgrades carefully and beat the system. The ability to unlock new factions makes this incredibly replayable.
06 August 2021
Holy crap, Antecrypt is awesome. Features some really unique mechanics involving a bouncing aim point you can't control, it's like nothing else. If you're a fan of twinsticks or bullet hells, you need to check it out - this is really something special.
Mouse & Cheese Tactics
18 January 2021
If you love rage-inducing arcade games as much as I do, give it a go. Awesome soundtrack too.