Tag Archives: indie games

Fairune: It’s Not What It Looks Like

Fairune is a game that, at first glance, could be mistaken for an homage to the original The Legend of Zelda, the early Ys games or perhaps even Hydlide if you’re a real hipster.

It’s a top-down open-world game presented in chunky pixel art, in which you defeat enemies by simply running into them. You collect items which allow you to access new areas or provide you with new abilities, and your ultimate aim is to explore the whole world thoroughly until you locate three plot-critical doohickeys, at which point you descend into the final dungeon, rescue the three equally plot-critical fairies, kick the snot out of the Big Bad and then relax, safe in the knowledge of a Job Well Done.

However, it does just a few things a little bit differently to what you might expect from that description. And those little differences are enough to make it a unique experience well worth your time.

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The MoeGamer 2019 Awards: The Most “Retro” Modern Game

The MoeGamer Awards are a series of “alternative” awards I’ve devised in collaboration with the community to celebrate the sorts of things that never get celebrated in end-of-year roundups! Find out more here — and feel free to leave a suggestion on that post if you have any good ideas!

Last week, we celebrated the Least “Retro” Retro Game, a title that, despite being quite old at this point, still remains fun and solid to this day. Today, we take a slightly different angle.

Over the course of the last few years, independent developers in particular have been very keen to adopt a retro-inspired look and feel to their games. And some pull it off better than others.

It’s a lot more than just using pixelated graphics and chiptune music, you know, so today’s award celebrates the modern game that most clearly understands, appreciates and pays homage to older titles while simultaneously being something that is downright desirable to play in 2019. If you’ve listened to a particular recent podcast, the choice here will be obvious, but let’s do the thing anyway…

And the winner is…

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Kero Blaster: Amphibious Assault

Daisuke “Pixel” Amaya is an extremely talented developer with a keen eye for what made older games truly enduring.

His most well-known work Cave Story is quite rightly held up as a shining example of the open-structure 2D platformer done right — and thanks to its numerous rereleases over the years, can be played on a wide variety of systems.

But don’t sleep on Kero Blaster, a very different but equally magnificent love letter to classic old-school gameplay that, like Cave Story, can now be enjoyed on a variety of different platforms, including Windows PC, iOS devices, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.

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House of Golf: Tabletop Tee-Off

Video games don’t have to be complicated to be enjoyable. They don’t always need to be grand, sweeping great works of art, nor do they always need to have something to “say”; sometimes they can just be fun.

Such is the thinking behind House of Golf, a Nintendo Switch release from Liverpudlian studio Atomicom, a group made up of ex-Psygnosis staffers who were last seen bringing us a game about driving JCB excavators on Mars.

This is a game designed to be nothing more than a bit of fun for 1-6 players — and it achieves this pretty admirably. Let’s take a closer look!

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Yodanji: Stabby Weasels and Licky Umbrellas

Every now and then, I like to trawl through Nintendo’s various digital marketplaces to see if anything interesting catches my eye.

The most bounteous sources of unusual and cheap Nintendo- based entertainment to date have been the 3DS eShop, which brought us games such as the highly unusual but thoroughly compelling Puzzle Labyrinth, and the Switch’s eShop, which is awash with small-scale indie projects from all over the world.

One that grabbed my attention recently — primarily due to it being on sale for less than what you’d pay for breakfast at Starbucks — was Yōdanji, a game originally released by Kemco for PC, mobile and Switch in 2017, and a self-described “coffee-break roguelike themed after Japanese folklore tales”. I’m in! Let’s take a look.

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Sonic the Hedgehog: Everything Old is New Again

This article is one chapter of a multi-part Cover Game feature!
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If one thing has become apparent over the course of exploring the complete Sonic the Hedgehog series, it’s that no-one seems to be able to agree on how to handle it “best”.

We have Sonic Team’s attempts to move the franchise forward with various gameplay styles, new narrative components and a somewhat coherent, consistent narrative that ties in with other forms of media. We have Sonic Lost World’s much-maligned but utterly joyful jaunt into Super Mario-esque territory. And we have probably the most disappointingly “mainstream” opinion: that “Sonic hasn’t been good since the Mega Drive”.

Among other things, the perhaps vain hope of shutting this latter group up is the reason Sonic Mania exists.

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OMG Zombies: In The Middle of a Chain Reaction

Prejudice is an ugly thing, but it’s important to acknowledge it when you allow it to affect you.

Consequently, dear reader, I don’t mind admitting that when I was presented with the opportunity to take a look at a new Switch game called OMG Zombies that, at its launch, cost just 99p (it’s now £3.99 after the initial discount) I was… shall we say, a little skeptical about whether or not this would be a worthwhile experience.

Internet slang in the title? Check. Use of zombies, arguably the most overused foe in all of video gaming history? Check. A distinctly “mobile-tier” price point? Check. This game would certainly have an uphill struggle to impress me.

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