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.

Curation focuses on niche games that often get overlooked - primarily kickstarter and indie games, rpgs (including AAA) and a few odd bits and pieces that aren't within the genre but stood out.

Smoothcade

30 November 2022

Read my full review here.

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!

Crackpet Show

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.

HyperRogue

23 November 2021

Read my full review here.

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.


Spirits Abyss

14 September 2021

Spirits Abyss is a ridiculously good roguelike platformer with 8 game modes and a slew of levels and characters to unlock. Highly reccomend - as long as you don't mind dying constantly (it's hard!).

Hack Grid

13 September 2021

An excellent (and challenging!) puzzle game with a well-delivered retro theme. Every ten levels a new mechanic is added, forcing you to adapt and keeping it fresh. Features 100+ well-designed levels.

Solasta: Crown of the Magister

10 September 2021

A very decent entry in the CRPG genre. Story's good but not amazing; characters are well-developed though. Lacks equipment. Features some of the best tactical combat and spell use I've seen in an RPG.

Thukothea Defender

8 September 2021

The graphics might not look like much but it's a lot of fun to play. Only 6 levels and 2 difficulties so it's short but it's sweet. Resettable skill tree let's you experiment with playstyles. Fun.

The Frosts: First Ones

6 September 2021

A short but intense narrative journey; a beautiful story set in a beautiful world with some truly memorable experiences along the way. The climax is something I'll be thinking about for a long while.

Blake: The Visual Novel

6 September 2021

A fun little whodunnit with the sort of light-hearted, OTT plot and characters expected in a VN. Has nice art and a couple of neat interactive challenges and an enjoyable if predictable story.

Tetris Effect: Connected

30 August 2021

Read my First Impressions here.

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.

Fury Unleashed

27 August 2021

Read my First Impressions here.

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.

Spectrum Forces

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.

Damocles Gaze

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.

Metavaxx

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.

Antecrypt

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.