Curation - 2022

Important note:  Although I only post positive reviews, that doesn't mean every game automatically gets one. My biggest layer of quality control is that I only review games I think I'm likely to enjoy.  Even then, only around 75% of games reviewed (at the time of writing) have received my recommendation.  Long story short?  Just making it to this list is a mark of quality.

Black Widow: Recharged

19 December 2022

Black Widow: Recharged is an exceptional arcade-style twinstick shooter. Features slick vector graphics, super-smooth controls, three game modes and a series of challenges for extra replayability.

The Turgenev Study

18 December 2022

The Turgenev Study is one of my favourite PUNKCAKE games so far. Like a bullet hell but without the bullets! Harvest, assimilate, blast, dodge - unique mechanics for a unique experience. Tons of different cells and upgrades and experiments for added replayability.

Super Dungeon Maker

17 December 2022

Super Dungeon Maker is a superb level editor suitable for making Zelda-like adventure games. It's more powerful than you'd expect but incredibly intuitive & user friendly. Perfect for kids

Vampire Survivors DLC:
Legacy of the Moonspell

16 December 2022

Legacy of the Moonspell is superb. Honestly, this one's worth it just for the new map alone, but it also comes with a stack of  cool new characters and weapons. If you already buried yourself for hours in Vampire Survivors and it's finally starting to get stale, this DLC will give it a breath of fresh air. 

Wandering Duelist

15 December 2022

Wandering Duelist is an errand running-style game. Has a nice little romantic story, some lovely French polka, and a small but wonderfully detailed world. Could benefit from more variety in gameplay

Jitsu Squad

14 December 2022

Jitsu Squad's an exceptionally fun beat 'em up that could be best described as "Golden Axe meets Kung Fu Panda." Co-op, great for kids and adults. Short but all thriller no filler, very polished.

Warlords: Under Siege

13 December 2022

EA: Warlords is a tower defence game that successfully incorporates deck building, RTS, and roguelike elements. It makes for some innovative, addictive gameplay. WIll be amazing with the full content.

Schastye

12 December 2022

“Schastye is an experimental game that probably won't appeal to most people. It involves using the game to read a short story (not even a VN), delivered in a sim where you physically type to reveal.

My Name is You

11 December 2022

My Name is You sets a gloomy mood with its greyscale visuals. It's a very short visual novel but designed to be played through multiple times- each run gives you only a piece of the whole story

Monsters of Little Haven

10 December 2022

Monsters of Little Haven is a really nice little visual novel despite the dark themes. Short but wide, designed to be replayed to reveal the full story. Very nice monochrome visuals, quality narration.

Milk Inside a Bag of Milk

09 December 2022

Milk Inside a Bag of Milk is a strange but engaging visual novel that's as much art form as game. Explores themes of anxiety and reality. Very short. 

Lighthouse Keeper

09 December 2022

An enjoyable experience but extremely short at 10-15 minutes and more of an art piece than a game with very limited interactivity

Starlight X-2

08 December 2022

“Starlight X-2 is essentially Sudoku, but with stars and asteroids instead of numbers. Would loved to have seen new mechanics introduced. Best feature is the limitless number of puzzles included.

Wizard Chess

08 December 2022

EA Review: Wizard Chess is a quirky turn-based tactical with plenty of variety and some interesting mechanics and roguelike elements. Still needs TLC at the moment but is looking very promising.

V Tuber Connect

07 December 2022

A sweet little VN that portrays awkward teen romance well, while covering the theme of anxiety and also revealing a little about v tuber life. No player agency. Nice art to go with a nice story.

Space Wreck

06 December 2022

Space Wreck is something of a spiritual successor to the original Fallout games but set in a dystopian space future. Love the unique aesthetics, freestyle approach to roleplaying, and organic quests.

Cyberpunk 2077

05 December 2022

Cyberpunk isn't an RPG, it's cyberpunk-themed GTA - luckily, that's just as awesome. Has a solid story but sub-par delivery, detailed but dated graphics. Not without flaws but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Deepest Chamber: Resurrection

04 December 2022

EA Review: Deepest Chamber still needs a little tweaking and could benefit from some QoL features but it's extremely promising with a great concept, interesting card mechanics & terrific graphics.

Video Game Fables DLC: Nightmare Arena 

03 December 2022

If you enjoyed the combat in Video Game Fables you'll want this DLC. It provides you with a set of challenges and an XP limit (totally separate to your main game status). Come up with your best build and try your luck! Same great sense of humour as the main game.

Canfield Solitaire Collection

02 December 2022

Solitaire fanatics will enjoy this one; Canfield is a lesser-known that never came bundled with Windows. As always with eSolutions, a minimalist but very user friendly collection with good variety.

Donut Dodo

30 November 2022

Donut Dodo absolutely nails the 80s arcade experience. If you weren't alive, give this gem a go. It'll invoke the same feelings we enjoyed back in the day. Prepare to die, a lot! Amazing soundtrack!

Vampire Survivors

29 November 2022

Vampire Survivors is a hectic bullet hell / horde shooter that may not look like much at first glance but there's a heap going on under the hood. Tons of characters, maps, weapons. Awesome gameplay.

For a Vast Future

28 November 2022

A very nice modern JRPG with a range of innovative mechanics that have you actively watching ammo, using items, and crafting. Also has a great futuristic post-apoc story and top shelf pixel art!

Abridge

27 November 2022

Abridge is a sokoban variant that has you control multiple pieces each with direction limitations. It allows for interesting, layered puzzles. Huge game with 90 levels. No frills but cleanly presented.

Frog Detective 3

26 November 2022

I'm new to the series and almost didn't review Frog Detective as I thought it would be for little kids. Maybe it is but I thoroughly enjoyed the sense of humour! Keen to check out 1 & 2 now.

Lighten Up

25 November 2022

Lighten Up is a nice little puzzle game that's based around the "missing square" paradox but with added on/off modes and a range of shapes. 51 puzzles so only 30-60 mins gameplay. Nice way to relax.

Shadow of the Guild

24 November 2022

Shadow of the Guild is a decent 2d sidescroller that could be great but it needs a lot more love. Has some nice artwork but its best feature is its creative and unusual missions. Needs more polish.

Candle Prick

23 November 2022

Candle Prick's an interesting sokoban game in that it doesn't feel like sokoban because you're pricking as well as pushing and really interacting with the environment in unusual ways. Refreshing

Pokaban

22 November 2022

Pokaban's a poker-themed sokoban game with gorgeous retro style. Range of mechanics is limited but levels are well-designed and challenging. Plenty of game with 60+ levels and a built-in level editor.

FreeCell Solitaire Collection

21 November 2022

“A substantial collection of quality FreeCell variants. My top picks are Bastille, Prison, and Milligan. Minamlistic but nice UI and very user friendly. Hours of entertainment.

Impaler

20 November 2022

Impaler's a fast-paced, action-packed arena shooter with a lot of strange features (3d game with 3d sprites, spikes, overheating weapons) that somehow work. It's a lot of fun, just wish it was longer!

Lonesome Village

19 November 2022

Lonesome Village is a puzzle/adventure game featuring cute cartoon graphics, friendly puzzles, and an assortment of activities (fishing, farming) for a break between levels. Smaller kids will love it.

Dashpong

18 November 2022

Dashpong is bloody terrific. It's exactly what it looks like: A fresh take on Pong with slick modern arcade graphics, a bunch of maps to play on and an impressive array of creative game modes. Awesome.

Necroboy: Path to Evilship

17 November 2022

Necroboy is a fun puzzle game with cute low poly graphics, a nice little story, and a terrific sense of humour. Puzzles are easy (although they do get more complex). A perfect title for young gamers!

We Who Are About To Die

16 November 2022

We Who Are About To Die is a fantastic little battler. It's like a twinstick arena fighter except with a complex combat system. Lots of weapons, lots of arenas and battle variety, lots of fun.

Sokosignal

15 November 2022

Sokosignal's a challenging sokoban puzzler with unique "magnetic" mechanics. Huge game with 83 levels broken into 6 "worlds" with increasingly complex mechanics. Graphics are minimalist but look nice.

Oakenfold

14 November 2022

Oakenfold's an excellent roguelike tactical featuring turn-based and wave-spawning mechanics. Loads of enemy and mission variety, every run is different. Also features weekly challenges and scoring.

Step by Step Hero

13 November 2022

Step by Step Hero's an interesting entry in the roguelite genre that's more about exploration than combat. It's relaxing, will keep you entertained for a couple of hours, and is kid-friendly.

Lucy Dreaming

11 November 2022

Lucy Dreaming is an exceptional modern point and click with clever writing, a good sense of humour, logical & layered puzzles, quality detailed pixel art, an interesting story, & huge range of scenes.

The Wandering Village

10 November 2022

Wandering Village is a superb city builder that stands out from the crowd with its gorgeous paper-style art, survival components, and focus on mutual sustainability as well as expansion.

Klondike Solitaire Collection

09 November 2022

Enjoy Klondike solitaire (the "normal" one that comes with Windows) and want more? Here's a hefty collection with loads of variety. Minimalist UI, smooth play, works well on tablets.

Push the Box

08 November 2022

Push the Box is a no-frills, minimalist sokoban game. The puzzles are great and there are tons of them but a tad more variety might be nice.

Aquillanto

04 November 2022

Aquillanto is a 2d platformer that definitely needs some more polish but the underlying game is actually very solid. Range of enemies with interesting mechanics, strong focus on traps, tons of secrets.

Spider Solitaire Collection

01 November 2022

Who knew there were so many Spider Solitaire variants? This is a great bundle for those who have mastered the version on Windows and are looking for more (they're much harder!). Looks nice too.

Infection

30 October 2022

I really love Infection as a game, I really feel it's the equal of Chess, Checkers/Draughts, and the like. This is a faithful digital rendition with some nice music, 1 or 2 player mode, and fun maps.

Joker Poker Video Poker

29 October 2022

Joker Poker is a well-presented and user friendly offline Caribbean-style video poker experience. Relaxing way to spend some downtime, great to kill some time in transit.

Deuces Wild Video Poker

27 October 2022

Deuces Wild is an interesting Carribean-style poker variant I'd never played before. Friendly UI, very easy to just pick up and play (hard to beat though!). No frills but well-executed.

Hexxagon

20 October 2022

Hexxagon's a simple but interesting variant on Ataxx using, you guessed it, hexagons instead of squares. It doesn't sound like much but has a significant impact on gameplay. Great for 1 or 2 players!

Pigments

19 October 2022

Another brilliant PUNKCAKE game. Interesting combination of time- and turn-based enemies with different movement patterns, good range of fruits (and levels), and the meta-system for unlocking keeps in interesting so you can go back to try levels again later when you're a bit better at the game.

DnD Adventure: Rogue's Choice

17 October 2022

Rogue's Choice is a very different experience to Wizard's Choice. It's a much more modern, cliche dungeon crawl experience. Which isn't bad, just different. Still has a great story but lighter-hearted.

Trifox

15 October 2022

Trifox is a refreshing addition to the 3d platformer genre. Features twinstick combat, lots of cool abilities, range of interesting enemies, puzzles and secrets, awesome boss fights. Fun for all ages!


Jacks or Better Video Poker

14 October 2022

Jacks or Better does what it says on the box. It's no frills but a nice friendly UI and let's you play Caribbean-style poker. Might have benefitted from AI company or being bundled but no complaints.


Mazezam

13 October 2022

Mazezam is a Sokoban variant where you need to get to the exit but also includes unusual row and linked block mechanics. Also limited number of retries to reach the end. Minimalist, challenging, fun.


Snow Problem

10 October 2022

Snow Problem's UI and presentation could use a bit more love but the game itself is excellent. Best way I can describe it is "Lemmings but snow." Fast-paced and puzzles are dynamic, it's a lot of fun.


Triple Take

07 October 2022

Triple Take's an excellent modern precision platformer with very clean retro graphics, an interesting story, and surprisingly friendly gameplay. Super smooth controls, 50 levels, great variety.

The Plague Doctor of Wippra

06 October 2022

The Plague Doctor of Wippra; a short point and click that takes itself seriously. Impressive detail given the retro art style, nice problem-solving, emotional story set in an authentic-feeling world.

Forty Thieves Solitaire Collection

05 October 2022

Forty Thieves is what it sounds like - a collection of solitaire card games. Includes 20 variants on the classic, most much harder than the classic. Well-presented UI, smooth controls. Challenging!

Paper Nebula

04 October 2022

Paper Nebula is a nifty little scrolling shooter. Plays arcade-style but features roguelike elements based on cumulative kills which unlock new weapons. On the easy side, great for younger players.

Marauders

03 October 2022

Read my review here.

EA Review: Still has a few kinks to work out but this is a very satisfying stealth-based fps with exceptional level design. Solo play is available but it's designed for squads so bring some friends.

Color Jumper

02 October 2022

Don't let the minimalism fool you, Color Jumper is a real gem. Aside from the core colour matching mechanic, Color Jumper is a fantastic precision platformer with excellent variety and level design.

Unders_Core

01 October 2022

Unders_core is a roguelike deckbuilder that has you building combat & exploration decks simultaneously. It's well thought out, easy to play but tough to master, replayable and rewards experimentation.

Shutter 2

30 September 2022

Shutter 2's one of the best horror games I've played. Has its shortfalls, sure, but it's very original in its execution. Instead of jump scares it features an interesting setting, story, and puzzles.

Death Drives a Bus

29 September 2022

Death Drives a Bus is a clever sequence-based puzzle game with a quirky theme, a good sense of humour, and some delightful 1-bit art. Features 50 massive levels of increasing complexity.

Dominate

28 September 2022

Dominate's simple and a lot of fun. It's based on Ataxx, a classic board game on par with checkers, chess, etc. This variant has 8 tiles instead of 7 and a range of layouts for variety. Solo or 2 play.

Grid Force: Mask of the Goddess

27 September 2022

Read my review here.

Nine Noir Lives is a very decent point and click. Great graphics, decent story & puzzles but a little inconsistent in its execution. Don't go in expecting noir. A fun light-hearted detective adventure.

Grid Force: Mask of the Goddess

25 September 2022

Read my review here.

Grid Force is an interesting tactical/RPG/shooter hybrid. It's surprisingly fast-paced and intense combining squad combat with a range of cool super abilities, a neat levelling system and a fun story.

Terra Invicta

24 September 2022

Read my review here.

Terra Invicta is an impressive 4X with huge scope, AAA quality graphics, and an engaging underpinning story. The gameplay is mostly passive, which is unusual but means the focus is on decision making.

Overloop

21 September 2022

Read my review here.

Overloop's a puzzle platformer with super cute mini pixels, super detailed backgrounds, a good selection of puzzles based on their unique cloning mechanic, a nice story and a great sense of humour.21 September 2022

Dreamlands: Cotton Candy Hunt

20 September 2022

Dreamlands has the bones of a fun platformer - clearly themed, good level design, interesting timer and lever mechanics. But it's very small (30-60mins) and lacks polish. Very easy - kids will enjoy.

Jack Move

19 September 2022

Read my review here.

Jack Move is a Final Fantasy-inspired cyberpunk JRPG with a solid vigilante story, fun hacking-themed combat, great artwork and UI. Short and sweet, no grind, it's a solid modern JRPG experience.

Roadwarden

16 September 2022

Read my review here.

An impressive, detailed text-based roleplaying game set in a gritty and unique world. Has a great dialogue system, maps and illustrations that update as you explore, resource management & good story.

Tails of Iron

15 September 2022

Read my First Impressions here.

Tails of Iron is a top quality RPG / platformer hybrid. Artistic detail is exquisite and I love the theme. Can be a little slow but the combat's challenging and requires strategy and timing to beat.

Camped Out!

14 September 2022

Read my review here.

Camped Out! is a hectic couch co-op that forces you to work as a team in a way I've never experienced in another game. Love the bear and the rodents, I've had a great time playing it with my kids!

Deneb: Across the Stars

13 September 2022

Don't let the cute pixel art fool you; Deneb ain't easy! The mouse-exclusive interface is its own challenge although the controls are super smooth. No frustrations here, just genuinely tough obstacles

Kraino Origins

8 September 2022

Read my review here.

Kraino Origins is a brilliant platformer - short-ish (~15 levels) but absolutely packed full of awesome. Gorgeous detailed pixel art, secrets, tons of variety of traps & monsters, awesome boss fights.

Island Berry

7 September 2022

Read my review here.

Island Berry is an enjoyable and relaxing survival/crafting game with rpg elements; particularly exploration but even a touch of combat. I'm really loving the hybrid nature of it. Very well-presented.

Shotgun King

5 September 2022

Shotgun King, a fun solo take on chess. Blast your enemies with a shotgun! Simple enough but PUNKCAKE have added a stack of randomised perks of challenges that unlock each level. Replayable & awesome.

Backpack Hero

2 September 2022

Read my review here.

Backpack Hero is a very cool roguelike with unique inventory-based combat and levelling systems. It's a lot of fun experimenting with different builds and there's a stack of game modes to play with.

Curse Crackers: For Whom the Belle Toils

1 September 2022

Read my review here.

Curse Crackers is a delightful retro platformer with all the modcons. Gorgeous pixel art and scenery, nice level design, tons of secrets and achievements to unlock. Decent story, really well-made game

Manic Archers

31 August 2022

Read my review here.

Manic Archers is an absolutely frenetic multiplayer twinstick brawler. Good range of maps and play modes for replayability. It looks and sounds great and is super intense if a little too fast for me.

Beat Stickman: Beyond

29 August 2022

Idlers aren't my go-to genre but I did enjoy Stickman. Did get a little repetitive and I think the progression could have been a tad faster but it was a fun and relaxing way to brain off for a while.

OneBit Adventure

28 August 2022

OneBit's an addictive roguelike dungeon crawler. Combat can feel repetitive but the constant dopamine hits as you find new weapons and unlock new skills keep you going. Even has cool boss monsters!

Jade Order

26 August 2022

Jade Order's a nice little puzzle game with a nice aesthetics, some great pixel art, and an enjoyable retro soundtrack. Fairly easy as puzzle games go. A touch repetitive but relaxing and enjoyable.

Zombies and Keys

25 August 2022

Does what it says on the box. Gameplay's intuitive, zombies get harder each level. Nice map design & aesthetics. Would love more weapons. Very short; only an hour or so depending on how often you die.

MoonPong

23 August 2022

MOONPONG is a superb modern (and solo) iteration of classic pong gameplay. Bendy circles, gravity, ice and cloud balls, a range of upgrades, enemies that shoot back, and even bosses. Very challenging and very fun. As always with PUNKCAKE games, the pixel graphics and retro soundtrack are perfect!

Rollerdrome

22 August 2022

Read my the review here.

Rollerdrome is AWESOME. It's a sweet skater/shooter hybrid with bullet-time and it's impossible not to look and feel cool while playing. Sweet cel-shader art & synthpop sound, just a great experience.

Gun Devil

19 August 2022

Terrific little platformer. Short (9 levels) but challenging. Writing can be juvenile at times but the controls are smooth and the pixel art and action is glorious. Great range of enemies and bosses.

Dragon Mine

17 August 2022

Dragon Mine is a hybrid puzzle / precision / speedrun platformer. Levels only take ~1 min to beat - but probably several retries! Challenging right from the first level! Very polished, great fun

Sweet Transit

16 August 2022

Read my First Impressions here.

Sweet Transit is very detailed - complex, even, so plenty for rail fans to play with but not very friendly for casual gamers. You get to build the community as well as the rail network, very cool.

Video Game Fables

15 August 2022

Video Game Fables is a delightful JRPG. It's a parody but also a great game in its own right. Has a great sense of humour, no filler or grind & innovative levelling and combat systems. A real delight.

Sokochess

12 August 2022

Sokochess is an impressive piece of work. It's almost a reverse sokoban game - rather than pushing pieces around, they attack you in true chess style. Bloody hard but my favourite Daisy game so far!

Batora: Lost Haven

10 August 2022

Read my First Impressions here.

A very engaging ARPG with puzzles & innovative twinstick combat. The writing's aimed at a slightly younger audience but the story is engaging and the choice & consequence is surprisingly good.

Scathe

08 August 2022

Read my First Impressions here.

Scathe is a fast-paced arena-style FPS. Heavily inspired by Doom but v. different gameplay - still hectic but more about dodging bullet patterns. Gorgeous shader graphics, nice and gory, great shooter.

City Limits

07 August 2022

City Limits is a minimalist puzzle game that sees you building combos to rack up a high score. Has leaderboard but ultimately you're challenging yourself. Relaxing. Fun but could use more variety.

Gigabash

06 August 2022

Read my First Impressions here.

GigaBash is awesome, one of the coolest and most fun brawlers I've ever played. It looks great, has a terrific sense of humour, a 2-3 hour campaign, plenty of variety, and great multiplayer modes.

Ren's Demons

03 August 2022

Read my First Impressions here.

Ren's Demons, a JRPG unlike any you've ever played before. Full of experimental mechanics which are integral to both the gameplay and the story. Narrative-heavy and intriguing. Strange but enjoyable

Age of Darkness: Final Stand

02 August 2022

Read my First Impressions here.

EA Review: Love the art direction, love the core day/night cycle and horde mechanics. Survival mode is fun but awaiting the campaign before final judgement but seems very promising overall.

Clanfolk

25 July 2022

Read my First Impressions here.

Clanfolk's an unusual survival game that focuses on survival over generations. Automation features makes it feel a little like an idler. Nice detailed tech tree. Casual & relaxing, hours of fun.

Bomb Bomb Boom

20 July 2022

Surprisingly gentle learning curve but gets pretty hectic from level 7 and reaches classic Skull difficulty by the final level. Gameplay's best described as Tapper meets Duck Hunt. Gorgeous 1 bit pixel art and smooth controls. Very short - nice for a casual game whenever you have a spare minute.​

Deer Journey

19 July 2022

Deer Journey's a walking sim - a genre I'm not normally a huge fan of - but I did enjoy this one. Controls were sometimes clunky but it was honestly a beautiful visual story, short but very sweet

Madshot

18 July 2022

Madshot's a brawler-style shooter whose vibrant cartoony graphics really come into their own during play. It's fast-paced, unforgiving, great range of enemies and upgrades and some awesome boss fights.

Legends of Kingdom Rush

15 July 2022

Read my First Impressions here.

Legends of Kingdom Rush is a challenging turn-based tactical game with a roguelike focus which makes for a very different experience. Also includes party building which is awesome for replayability.

Super Sportmatchen

13 July 2022

Super Sportmatchen's a modern take on classic Konami's Track & Field. Full of glorious pixel art and has a quirky sense of humour. Love the twist on traditional sports like the capybara throw.

Circadian Dice

11 July 2022

Circadian Dice is a ripper dice battler - simple to play but contains layers upon layers of complexity that builds as you play through. Well thought out, plenty of variety, challenging, addictive.

Exodemic

09 July 2022

Exodemic's a terrific and unique roguelike top-down shooter. Really love the tactical three-button approach. The random upgrade and world generation spells tons of variety and infinite replayability.

5 Stages of Pink

06 July 2022

5 Stages of Pink is a VN game with a difference; it features point and click elements and an interactive investigation journal, which I liked. Writing (Young Adult) and artwork clean and good quality.

Ecstatic

04 July 2022

Ecstatic is a brilliant tactical top-down shooter that quickly turns into a bullet hell. Unique controls - controlling both movement and targeting with the mouse - is an interesting challenge. The random nature of the upgrade drops force you to adopt different play styles every run, making it infinitely replayable.  Great music, awesome pixel art. Bloody tough!

Below the Ocean