It’s time for another indie game roundup with our latest installment of Lightly Toasted for June 2018. Lightly Toasted is our way of highlighting some of the games we didn’t get a chance to properly review during the prior month. It’s also a way to give some well deserved feedback from our first few hours with each of these games.
We can only experience so much of a game in such a short amount of time, so please don’t take these impressions as a final review! These are just our thoughts on the opening moments and the general gameplay.
Noodlecake Studios Inc. delivers a compelling and easy to pick up platformer in its new title, Suzy Cube. With its simplistic art-style, strong platforming, and collectibles, secret locations, challenges, and puzzles, Suzy Cube is an easy game to recommend to those fond of the Super Mario titles.
Like its inspirations, Suzy Cube relies on its mechanics over a cohesive or compelling story. An evil creature steals treasure from a palace and our protagonist goes after it. You will jump, slide, fly, and bounce across the levels to collect the fallen coins and ultimately complete each section. While there is a timer, I never felt in any peril of not completing a mission.
Overall, Suzy Cube offers a few hours of tight gameplay and level design in a world crammed with secrets and puzzles. It’s well worth its price of 7.99 USD on Steam.
Artii Games LLC’s TimeTekker is an arcade shoot em’up featuring a space ninja who can speed up and slow down time. It is also incredibly difficult and often rewarding in its simplicity. However, I found its controls to be overtly frustrating, at least on a controller.
As the unnamed ninja, you are pitted against hoards of deadly creatures, most of which spit projectiles. When you stand still, the game slows, but when you move, it rapidly speeds up. The ninja is able to parry projectiles, throw shurikens, and attack with a melee weapon. The combat is fast and fluid, and every defeated enemy brings a wave of satisfaction
The issue that arises from this satisfaction, is that much of it stems from beating the control scheme and not the enemies themselves. Neither joystick turns your character, instead that is relegated to the shoulder buttons. When you are also trying to parry and attack with the triggers, this becomes needlessly complicated.
I did enjoy my time with TimeTekker and I’ll likely return for the fast-paced combat, but I’d love to see the developer iterate on the movement so that it is less cumbersome.
Honor Cry: Aftermath
I try not to judge indie games too harshly on their writing, but I have to make the exception for top-down RPGs, a genre that is rife with fantastic storytelling both in the AAA and indie markets. SimProse Studios’ Honor Cry: Aftermath is not one of these, nor does it ever come close.
The title opens with a overtly gruff voice-over: “Bloody hell, I tire of this war. The Cryum War has been waged for most of my military career, but now, finally, we are at the crossroads.” From there, it’s just more of the same and if that’s okay with you, then by all means play Honor Cry: Aftermath. However, if you want a story that will sink its teeth in and not let go, this is not the game for you.
Outside of its storytelling, Honor Cry is a decent title that never tries to do anything new. The various rogue-like elements add a fair amount of replayability, but outside of that, it doesn’t stand out.
Robothorium: Sci-fi Dungeon Crawler
Goblinz Studios’ Robothorium: Sci-fi Dungeon Crawler is exactly what it says on the box. The developers have taken the core components of the dungeon crawler genre and brought them into a science fiction setting in which robots are revolting against humanity. You create a party of robots, each with a distinctive role and design, and fight through randomly generated levels based on your choices.
The title is good fun for the first few hours, but repetitive rooms and a weak battle system cut into the gameplay experience. Unfortunately, there is little satisfaction and reward for killing a roomful of enemies as there is little choice in how you proceed. The only way forward is to fight, and after several hours, that becomes more a chore than an enjoyable gameplay loop.
Despite these critiques, Robothorium is still a fun game, and for the right person, it might be a great one. I am not that person, and despite my original joy at this title, I don’t see myself returning to it any time soon.