Draiva’s chunky low poly cars are pretty retro, but since that wasn’t quite retro enough, it also features cars from your favourite 80s shows. Racing against Ferraris and the Delorean with your feet in that car from The Flintstones? Sure, why not. Speaking of that, I never quite understood how Fred could turn corners, by the way. I mean, have you seen those “wheels”?
Draiva is a strictly arcade fare, with more in common to Micro Machines than Gran Turismo, and even though it’s a pretty simple little alpha, it’s endless random generated tracks are fun to play with.
A minimalistic effort befitting the jam it spawned from, City Clicker is a clicker-style take on the classic Sim City formula. It some ways it works, and it some it doesn’t, but as an experimental gameplay concept it’s worth spin for those interested in innovation.
I found this article sitting in my draft box for an onscenely long time, so in the spirit of modern city management sims, let us reduce, reuse and recycle by publishing this historical post.
Nogalious is yet another game that promises to bring back the golden era of 8-bit gaming. Hear, hear, I say. Unfortunately, they were referring less to something like The Legend of Zelda and more something akin to Elf. I enjoyed playing around with it, but in its current state, it felt as confusing to play as it is to spell.
I fully expected an alpha or short demo when opening up Bronze Age. A good 4-5 hours later, when I should have been sleeping, yet another horde of rat riders was gnawing at my gate while my citizens decided to rebel against me and destroy that essential happiness-giving brewery. I knew I was in this for the long-haul.
Bronze Age is a work-in-progress civ style game, but there’s already a lengthy, challenging game here (admittedly helped in part by the steep learning curve).
Mortal Manor bids itself as a Metroidvania, but also wants to stand out with a different approach to gameplay. Fortunately, this includes a vast sprawling world and tons of weapons to collect. Unfortunately, the approach also includes instadeaths and enemies that are as annoying as %*#&.
Any indie gem has rough edges and I’m not going to sugarcoat it – Mortal Manor‘s edges are about as smooth as rock golem’s butt. For those with the same sort of patience as an eternal being, though, there’s a massive game here, crammed with varied areas and bursting with weapons, relics and secrets to find.
We cover a lot of demos and alphas and the like here, and while the demos provide decent entertainment, pretty much none of them over the last three years have since seen the light of day as a full release. So here’s a demo for a metroidvania that is due for release in just one month. Oh, but it’s been in development for six years.
Chasm promises the usual metroidvania fare, and while it certainly is polished with all the right founding ingredients in place, the demo, which turns out to be from the dark ages of 2013, left me feeling a little uninspired.
Treasure Adventure Game has been around for at least five years and is by and large an excellent metroidvania adventure. So it’s a bit of a crime that we haven’t covered it yet.
With a full-blown commercial redo now released, I thought it was high tide to don my paper pirate hat and mention the original freeware gem that inspired it.
The remarkable thing about zero-budget indie RPGs made by guys in their basement is that can compel us to still play them under the shadow of top quality million dollar triple-A ventures. Case in point: I recently acquired The Witcher III, and yet here I am, playing Sigma-Finite Dungeon. That’s not to say the Witcher isn’t great, because it is, but there’s always room to indulge in that sense of old-school satisfaction that pushing yet another pixelated goblin to its death in a spike trap elicits.
Sigma-Finite Dungeon is an intoxicating mashup of Final Fantasy Tactics party-based battles with roguelike dungeon crawling, with a party to equip, skills to leverage, and monsters to slush. It’s not quite as deep as FFT or Nethack, but its tactical combat provides some solid satisfaction.
I have a confession to make: I don’t really miss JRPGs all that much. After gluttonously gorging on Final Fantasy‘s heyday (6 and 7 in particular), Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana and more, I’m incredibly blessed. But I don’t really want more.
Yet… If it’s one thing I really do miss from those days where trifling matters like paying taxes were not on my radar, it is the FF5/Tactics style job system. That shit was awesome. JRPG derivations are a dime-a-dozen now, but this one enticing element is never authentically replicated.
Magna Driver heard my call, though, emerging at my darkest hour. It may be a prototype-level demo, sure, but that same addictive crack-like quality of the job system is still there, and I devoured it gleefully for about an hour until I had unlocked every job and ability for each character.
You have to win the game… Again! Minimalist indie classic You Have to Win the Game was a sweet little hit back in 2012. If there were an alternative universe with a DOS-based 286 metroidvania, this game would have been it. It was one of the first games I posted about, and I loved what it managed to pull off with the otherwise eye-gouging CGA graphics limitation.
At some unknown point, YHtWtG moved onto Steam, and then added a bunch of new features including an equally lovely EGA mode, boasting a whopping 16 colours! It also includes more difficult remixed campaign and a playable cat character, you know, for people who are into that sort of thing. And best of all, it’s still 100% free (note: there’s a $1 option on Itch.io if you want a permanent Steam key, which is otherwise not available for free games.)