Pictured above: Dungetris
I’m back with another batch of new indie releases from the past week. As usual, I can’t guarantee that these games are good, just that they stood out among Steam’s usual tidal wave of new releases. Be sure to skim through the user reviews to learn more about each game.
Red River Studio LLC
Lets kick things off with Vector 36, one of the rare VR games to make it on these weekly lists. Vector 36 is a high speed, physics-based racing game where players pilot fully customizable skimmers across the barren deserts of Mars. The skimmers are a bit like the space ships in Kerbal Space Program, and are built from scratch with almost every aspect of their construction affecting their performance. While Vector 36 was built with VR in mind, it can be played via more traditional means as well.
Mainlining is a mix of light hacking sim, puzzle, and adventure game, and is played entirely from a fictional computer’s desktop. MI7 has been brought to its knees following a massive security breach, and it’s up to you to investigate leads and bring these cyber terrorists to justice. The game is broken into 13 cases in all, with the first two being free as part of the official demo. Cases 8-13 are due sometime later this week.
A Normal Lost Phone
Speaking of adventure games played through a fictional device’s interface, A Normal Lost Phone is about exploring a stranger’s phone. Navigate the smart phone’s interface and dig through the former owner’s text messages, pictures, and apps to learn more about them and their eventual fate. Fittingly enough, A Normal Lost Phone is also available on mobile devices.
CAYNE is a free spin-off to 2015’s critically-acclaimed isometric horror game STASIS. You play as Hadley, a pregnant woman who wakes up in a grimy facility with no recollection of how she got there. Explore the facility, solve puzzles, and unravel the horrifying mystery surrounding your unborn child. The game is totally free, but you can support the developers by purchasing a $7 bundle that includes the soundtrack, artwork, and various other behind the scenes material.
Memoranda is a surreal 2D point ‘n click adventure game inspired by the short stories of Haruki Murakami. You play as a young woman who is gradually losing her memory. Or is she? Explore a quiet town full of colorful characters, all of whom need your help regaining what they have lost.
Nefarious is a unique puzzle platformer that puts you in the shoes of a mustache-twirling villain kidnapping princesses to fulfill your evil master plan. Each level involves you kidnapping a princess in a different world inspired by classic video games. Where Nefarious really gets unique is with its “reverse boss fights.” Each fight places you in control of a giant death machine that you must use to squish the heroes, including a turn-based RPG level where you are essentially a Final Fantasy boss.
As the name implies, Dungetris is a truly bizarre mash-up of dungeon crawling and Tetris. The monster-infested dungeons you’ll be exploring in Dungetris are built by placing Tetris-style room blocks each time you go into a new area. Loot and items come in the form of playing cards, adding a resource management element to the game. The goal of each dungeon is to build it up to a certain height and defeat the boss that spawns in the final room tile.
Finally we come to Hellencia, a strategy RPG set in a steampunk version of Ancient Greece. You play as a bear warrior summoned by Artemis to bring order to the Greek city-states following a magic-infused industrial revolution. The combat mechanics revolve around strategic unit positioning, which can be altered by the use of pushes and throws. Hellencia also promises a lengthy, branching storyline set across multiple lifetimes as you are continuously reincarnated.
That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with more overlooked indie releases.