Pictured above: Phantom Trigger
I'm back with another batch of recent indie releases that may have slipped under your radar. I'm not personally endorsing any of these games, just highlighting some titles that stood out among Steam's weekly releases. Make sure you read user reviews and search YouTube to find more information on each game.
Sudden Strike 4
It's not quite indie, but obscure enough that some people may have missed it. The Sudden Strike series finally returns after a seven year hiatus, though the reception so far has been pretty mixed. Fight through over 20 famous WWII battles as the Allies, Germany, or the USSR using an arsenal of historical units. The most notable new mechanic is the Commander system, which allows you to play as one of nine historic figures that have their own play style and unique abilities. Unfortunately, long-time Sudden Strike fans seem divided over this new installment, mostly due to its more simplified mechanics, poor unit pathfinding, and high price point for the amount of content at launch. Sudden Strike 4 is also on GOG, Humble Store, and the PS4.
The developers of Crimsonland and Neon Chrome are back with another top-down shooter that features an interesting take on bullet time. Instead of just having a "press X to bullet time" button, in Time Recoil you must score kills to activate your slow motion powers. Subsequent kills extend your slow motion murder spree, and unlock the use of special powers, like a dash move that allows you to phase through walls. Time Recoil can also be found on the Humble Store.
RPG fans looking for a cute and casual way to entertain yourself over a weekend might want to check out Cat Quest. This open world action RPG is set in a whimsical fantasy realm full of cat people and feline puns. Set out on a quest to rescue your kidnapped sister from a dark lord threatening this peaceful kingdom. Combat is in real time and consists of hacking, slashing, dodge rolling, and the odd magic spell or two. Character customization mostly comes in the form of gear sets that amplify particular combat styles. You can also find Cat Quest on iOS.
Graceful Explosion Machine
Graceful Explosion Machine is a colorful 2D shooter that originally made its debut a few months back on the Switch, to positive critical reception. You pilot the GEM, the most advanced and ridiculously overpowered fighter in the galaxy as you wage a one-ship war against an alien armada. Combo together your ship's four distinct weapons to maximize your score in each of the game's 30 levels. Also available on PS4.
Phantom Trigger is the latest indie game to be picked up and published by tinyBuild. It has drawn a lot of comparisons to Hyper Light Drifter for being a stylish top-down brawler with pixel art graphics, though based on the Steam reviews the public reaction has been a bit more mixed. The combo-driven combat system places a heavy emphasis on stuns, freezes, interrupts, and traps, all of which can be cast mid-combo to avoid enemy counterattacks. You can also find Phantom Trigger on GOG, the Humble Store, and the Switch.
Crystal Depths Studio
Another recent stylish brawler to find its way onto Steam is Evil Genome. It bills itself as a Metroidvania loaded with gear and special abilities to discover, but based on the reviews I've seen, Evil Genome is much more linear than most games in the genre. The Steam reviews are a bit mixed as well, with commonly cited issues being bugs and poor translation, but Evil Genome still looks promising enough to keep an eye on.
Domino Digital Limited
Peregrin is a narrative puzzle adventure published by Green Man Gaming's new publishing arm. You play as Abi, a scavenger living in the wastelands of a ruined civilization. She embarks on a journey to find a better life in the unknown world beyond the wastes. She has the unique gift to temporarily possess the bodies of the creatures around her, and will need to use their abilities to solve environmental puzzles and sneak past the deadly lost technology that remains scattered around the world. You can also find Peregrin on the Humble Store and Green Man Gaming.
Finally we come to Lost Technology, a strategy game that is essentially a mod of a mod that got expanded into its own game with the help of the original mod's creator. Players choose from around a dozen factions vying for control in a fantasy world experiencing a resurgence in technological development. The overworld map where you develop your kingdom, negotiate with other races, and move your troops is turn-based, but battles play out in real time. There are also story events, though only three of the factions are currently translated. You can still play as the others, but they don't have story events just yet due to the limited time and budget of the game's small Japanese dev team. Even though the game is technically still unfinished, it's hard to argue with a $3 price tag.
That's all for now. I'll return soon with more overlooked indie game release highlights.