RAD INDIE GAMES I’VE BEEN PLAYING: “NOT REALLY REVIEWS” REVIEWS.

RAD INDIE GAMES I’VE BEEN PLAYING: “NOT REALLY REVIEWS” REVIEWS.

I love writing about video games, and even more than writing about them- I love PLAYING them. Switch is my weapon of choice and 99% of the time indie games are center stage. While I really do love writing about video games, I’d be lying if I said the typical review format didn’t just fucking bore me to tears. Reading them? Super OK with me, I love a good review. But, when I sit down to write I just don’t enjoy writing them like everyone else does.

Wait, why do you HAVE to write them a certain way?

Oh yeah! I don’t! What a revelation, wow. All jokes aside, the great thing about being a writer not in the employ of a big-ass company is that I can write however the fuck I want, and that’s what I intend to do. Besides, I definitely have my own super-weird opinions and experiences with games so why the hell NOT write them in the same manner too?! Screw it, I doubt I’ll be polishing a Pulitzer anytime soon so who’s keeping score anyway?

So there you have it folks, and now we can get to the chocolatey center of this Tootsie Pop! I play a ton of rad indie games and the past couple months have been no exception to that fact. Some of the things I’ve come across recently have become all-time faves, so it’s actually been a pretty awesome time for my Switch lately. Plus, the folks at Glass Bottom Games were kind enough to hook me up with a code for SkateBIRD so I figured I’d get off my ass and finally put this article together.

SkateBIRD? That game looked super-rad!

It sure did, unfortunately it didn’t end up being a game I liked very much- we’ll get into that in a bit but I wanted to mention it specifically because regardless of my experience I applaud Megan and her team for fucking giving it their all. They’re a rad dev team and I always keep an eye on what they’re up to, even if it isn’t 100% my deal. These are the kind of game devs we need out there working, so I hate that I didn’t like SkateBIRD but I also don’t want to diminish the years of hard work they put into it. You don’t have to devalue something just cause you don’t personally like it, art is subjective but all art IS still art and should be treated with respect aside from our personal opinions of it.

Anywho, let’s get into it! Here’s a handful of games that have wormed their way into this nerd’s black little heart, and that you should allow to symbiotically live inside of you as well. That was gross, sorry.

ULTRA AGE

When I first saw Ultra Age I did NOT expect it to end up becoming my favorite hack-n-slash game of all-time, but here we are. Ultra Age (DANGEN Entertainment/Visual Dart/Next Stage) seemed, upon a quick glance, like one of those budget-ish games that you’d buy cause it looked kinda cool but wouldn’t end up playing for more than a couple hours before it joined the ranks of your backlog. HOLY SHIT was I wrong! I’m always happy to be proven wrong when it’s for a rad reason and this definitely qualifies. The story? I didn’t honestly pay a ton of attention to it, and the voice acting is admittedly a little on the “not so great” side, but essentially it involves crystals, cloning, robots, and a whole hell of a lot of swords. There’s a really rad blade system going on in Ultra Age, you’ve got multiple swords at your disposal and you keep a stash of degradable blades for each and they all serve their own purpose. You’re never really pressed for blades either cause everything is in pretty ample supply, so all you need to know is this- this fucking game plays like a dream. I could snooze you to death with more details about the game, but you’ll figure it out when you’re playing it because you should 100% DEFINITELY PLAY THIS GAME.

That’s why I don’t really care about the slightly-cringey voice acting, or the fairly by-the-numbers sci-fi story- this is some of the best action/hack-n-slash gameplay I’ve ever come across and my only REAL complaint with Ultra Age is the length- as in, I wanted it to be LONGER. Like, a LOT longer. It’s a pretty meaty game, all things considered. It’s just that I enjoyed it SO much that I didn’t want it to end. Give me a sequel, make it twice as long, hell make it THREE times as long and I’ll be a happy guy. Need to know anything else? Nah, you’re good. Just go buy it now and thank me in the comments. ;)- $29.99/eShop

ROGUE STAR RESCUE

I really don’t know how in the hell I missed Rogue Star Rescue. I mean, I hadn’t heard of it until a month or so ago which was odd because I usually know about almost EVERY roguelike/twin-stick shooter thats bound for Switch but somehow, this one eluded me. I think it popped up on sale on the eShop and I bought it with Gold Points, and I’m incredibly glad I did because it’s become one of my favorite twin-stick roguelikes of all-time. That says a lot given that my personal upper echelon includes games like NeuroVoider, The Binding of Isaac, and Nuclear Throne. Yes, I DO have excellent taste in video games. Rogue Star Rescue (Chute Apps) is another “fuck the story” kind of game for me, you’re out to rescue your teammates before the Rogue Star destroys everything- that’s the extent to which I care about the story for this one and that’s 100% not a bad thing. I’m in games like this for the gameplay, pure and simple, and this one comes up aces across the board.

Where it breaks with roguelike tradition, is that there are tower defense sections at the end of every level, and occasional TD challenges during the levels too. It breaks the usual “shoot stuff til you die” formula just enough to feel bold but not so much as to make it feel like a totally different style of game. It’s just a really rad natural evolution that pays off hugely, and believe me when I say that Rogue Star Rescue is gonna be in rotation for a LONG time to come. I can’t forget about the music either, cause WOW- there’s this trend of deceptively-emotional, incredibly well-written synthwave in video games and I’m 100% here for it. Rogue Start Rescue KILLS it in the soundtrack department, so much so that one night I died and then proceeded to stay in the “between runs” hub area just so I could listen to the music- yeah, it’s THAT good. Rogue Star Rescue deserves a spot in your indie library, I promise- don’t let it become another one that passes you by, it almost did for me!- $14.99/eShop

METALLIC CHILD

You know what? I’m not even really gonna say anything about Metallic Child (Studio HG/Crest). Im going to do the following instead: I’m going to tell you that it’s one of my absolute FAVORITE roguelite/action games of all-time, and I’m going to drop the trailer below. I’m also going to tell you that it looks, feels, and plays EXACTLY like it looks in the trailer, and by the time you’re done watching the trailer you’ll probably be buying the game for yourself. THAT’S how awesome Metallic Child is, and if you’d like to imagine me dropping a mic right now feel free. I am. :)- $29.99/eShop

DUNGREED

MAN, Dungreed is WAY better than I thought it was going to be. This one’s been out for a while now, since 2018 in fact, but I had skipped it over until a few weeks ago. I’d heard of it, I’d heard some good things, but I guess it was just one of those games that missed me. I really don’t know why, and I’m glad that changed, cause it’s fucking FANTASTIC and even just talking about it makes me want to play the damn thing. It’s an action/platformer roguelite with twin-stick controls (think Neon Abyss but more fantasy, less 80’s) and it is utterly addictive, it’s fast and fluid, and that’s about all you need to know. You’re a dude trying to rescue people from a dungeon that ate a village so you can help them rebuild the village, and the game is as ridiculous and awesome as it sounds. Yeah, it’s published by Nicalis, and I know there’s gnarly stuff associated with them, but don’t hold that against TEAM HORAY because they developed a SUPER fun game that deserves a spot on your almost-full SD card.- $14.99/eShop

SKATEBIRD

Fuck. Double-fuck. I was stoked about SkateBIRD for a LONG time. It was one of those games that I obsessively kept up with, followed on Twitter, the whole nine yards. A game that takes Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and mixes it with ACTUAL birds? And, they’re SUPER ADORABLE birds? Sign me up! Here’s the problem though, and I’m just gonna come out and say it- bird physics plus skateboarding does NOT equal fun. Like, at all- at least for this guy. 100% honesty? I played about three hours of SkateBIRD before I had to call it. After I had to repeatedly try to maneuver my adorable little bird up a ramp only to immediately fall off and feel like biting my couch cushion out of sheer rage I decided enough was enough.

So why the fuck am I writing about it? I’ll tell you why, because Glass Bottom Games are the kind of game devs that I respect very deeply. They are an inclusive, forward-thinking, progressive-minded dev team that cares about making unique and innovative games and even if I don’t like a game they out out it is 100% true that we NEED devs like them out in the world pushing things forward and in different directions too. SkateBIRD was kind of a misfire, but I see where their hearts were at. And, at the end of the day, at least they fucking TRIED something. I’d rather someone TRY to make something different than to sleepwalk through development of “Battle Royale Shooter #476”, so whether or not I end up LIKING the finished product is almost beside the point.

I’m always torn on whether or not I should write about the games I don’t end up liking, but this is one of those times when I really feel like this perspective should be presented. A lot of the times, reviewers don’t acknowledge another point of view outside of “I don’t like it” or “this is trash”, and I think that’s bullshit. I think our job as people who review things should be to present our honest (and hopefully educated) opinions about games, films, etc. but I also think we should exhibit a HELL of a lot more kindness and respect than I ever see in the media. We don’t always like stuff, but we don’t have to fuckin’ smear people’s work either.

Fine, I’ll get off my soapbox. Just know this, keep your eyes on Megan and her team at Glass Bottom Games because they’re going to be a big part of the future of indie games, I promise. SkateBIRD didn’t end up being for me, but I can’t wait to see what they do next.- $19.99/eShop

HONORABLE MENTION

I’ve been playing games with my kids a lot more recently, and a week or so ago I picked up Boomerang Fu (Cranky Watermelon) and we’ve been having a TON of fun with it. It’s a multiplayer, arena-type thing where you play as adorable fruits, vegetables, etc., and you throw boomerangs at each other to win. There’s a deceptive amount of depth going on and it can get almost tactical at times, but nevermind that- it’s super fun to play as a piece of toast throwing boomerangs at a cheeseburger and that’s all you need to know. I present the trailer as evidence, and if you’re looking for something super-fun with kids/friends/strangers in a bar but TOTALLY not overly serious this is PERFECT.- $14.99/eShop

Well, that’s it for now Ghosties! I hope you enjoyed that and maybe found yourself a couple new favorites like I did. Rest assured, there will be more of these articles soon, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments! Have a lovely Wednesday and after you’re finished on the eShop check out this shop too.

AFH

BE YOURSELF DEFIANTLY

be yourself defiantly

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