Summer is on the horizon and with it come the long sleepless nights and that heavy summer air. Nothing can comfort one in times such as these more than a good indie game or two. Sometimes you get what you wish for, and you can never have too much of a good thing, so here are the leftover games from May 2018, Lightly Toasted.
A hyper-stylized neon version Breakout, that perfectly combines fun power-ups and detailed stat tracking to create a very addictive experience. Hot Pinks simplicity is part of what makes it so addictive. While on the surface it may seem like “just another Breakout game”, unlocking multiple balls turns it into a juggling act that requires skill.
Not only will you notice yourself progressively improving at juggling, but you will also see the ample stat tracking. From most balls juggled to longest game, Hot Pink tracks everything. There’s even a post-game chart with your average score. While high scores are essential, there’s also an incentive never to score low as not to ruin your median score. This makes no game feel wasted.
Climbing the online leaderboards will become your new addiction. Hot Pink is easily recommendable to any self-motivated neon lover.
Animal Super Squad
In Animal Super Squad when you’re not rolling and bouncing around, you’re taking off in a kart, rocketing through the sky. Animal Super Squad has a very creative control scheme, using the shoulder buttons to tilt your character back and forth, pressing a to hop, and using the analog stick to balance your animal.
Levels are generally split between platforming segments where you play solely as an animal of your choosing and segments where that animal pilots a vehicle in a similar fashion to Trials. The former has you hopping from platform to platform and is generally really responsive and fun, and these were some of my favorite segments. The hopping felt accurate, and the physics seem to make sense. The latter while fun in its own right felt more unwieldy and chaotic due to the vehicles boost function. Boosting will usually only cause you to rocket off in the wrong direction and seldom works or feels cool. That’s not to say that the vehicle levels were terrible, they carried with them a great sense of momentum, speed, and creativity.
While on the slightly shorter side, Animal Super Squad has a large variety of user-created levels. Great controls, fun platforming, humorous art style, Animal Super Squad is a game with few negatives.
Lords of Strife
A beautifully simplistic platformer, Lords of Strife was a game I foolishly thought wouldn’t be good. This was a very wrong assumption as Lords of Strife managed to surprise and entertain. Standouts like the art style and the crisp controls are what help Lords of Strife a fantastic game.
The double jump is one of the most integral and satisfying parts of any platformer. Lords of Strife adds an exciting twist to the double jump mechanic. To activate the double jump you need to land your initial jump on a specific target, ranging from scarecrows to hearts, this enables the ability to double jump once requiring you to land another precision jump to do it again. This involves pixel-perfect platforming, can be very difficult and will require many attempts to succeed. Luckily Lords of Strife has an extremely fast load after death and checkpoints on every screen.
The story is a simple tale of avenging a lost brother. The combat is straightforward, melee system of pressing B to execute a melee attack, there seems to be very little combat in Lords of Strife. Mostly there are platforming puzzles that you will attempt over and over dying multiple times. There is a death track in the corner of the screen at all times for your convenience.
Lords of Strife is easily one of the most underrated games that I have played all year.
Ancient Rush 2
I blindly went into Ancient rush 2, and everything from the style to the opening cutscene told me this was going to be a first-person RPG. I was ready and excited to search for the lost kingdom of Ozolan and learn of king Chulua, but no, this is another Breakout style game. A Breakout style game with role-playing aspects such as stat allocation and skill trees.
While a little disappointed, there’s a lot of potential for a game like this to be incredibly entertaining. Sadly Ancient Rush 2 seems to lack in the fun department. While I found my progress halted every time, I attempted to play due to a bug which allows you to hit the ball parallel to the paddle making it impossible to get the ball back. This wouldn’t be too bad if you were allowed to restart levels but your only option, once you’re playing, is to either exit to the main menu, desktop, or continue playing.
Despite game halting bugs Kingdom Rush 2 is rather mundane even for a Breakout game. Gone are the quick matches that test your reflects and aiming, you will instead attempt to hit logs and boxes with an extremely slow-moving ball. I missed hitting the ball half of the times because I was too bored to notice it crawling to me at a glacier’s pace.