Commercial

Kero Blaster


Playism Page || Steam Page || Developer’s Site

Any major commercial release by Studio Pixel will inevitably be compared to Cave Story and Kero Blaster is certainly no exception. With its run-and-gun 2D platforming, its light RPG elements, and its retro aesthetics Kero Blaster seems to have much in common with the legendary indie game. However, these similarities are largely superficial because this is not a spiritual sequel to Cave Story, it’s not trying to be a spiritual sequel, and, to be as clear as possible, that is absolutely, perfectly fine. Kero Blaster is a linear platforming experience divided into several levels, the multiple unlockable difficulties are different enough to definitely warrant going through the game more than once, and the combat system incorporates some of the best elements from Cave Story while refining them into an incredibly polished state.
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Cubetractor 1

Cubetractor


Developer’s Site || Steam Page

Is it an RTS, is it a tower defense game, or is it something entirely different? Cubetractor is a very odd game about moving cubes to smash enemies and make buildings. You must figure out the best ways to use the cubes at your disposal to quickly build up defenses and defeat your enemies with stationary turrets all while dodging around whatever dangers the game throws your way. This is a fairly challenging game, it’s a one-of-a-kind experience, and best of all it is thoroughly entertaining.
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Odallus Thorns

Odallus: The Dark Call


Official Site || Steam Page

Odallus: The Dark Call is what you would get if you tossed a classic Castlevania game into a blender along with Berserk and added a dash of modern game design sensibilities. With its somewhat methodical approach to platforming and combat and a world divided into levels filled with branching paths and secrets, Odallus takes many of the best ideas the action platformer genre has to offer and combines them with fantastic aesthetics and a dark fantasy setting to create an incredible experience which outclasses much of the competition.
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Flywrench


Official Site || Steam Page

The original Flywrench was released nearly a decade ago and became something of a cult classic within the Game Maker community, but we’ll be looking at the far sleeker, much longer, and just all-around better 2015 version. As a brutally difficult action game which isn’t quite a platformer, Flywrench tasks you with flapping and spinning your way through color-coded gates at lightning speeds in well over 150 levels. It’s unforgiving, it’s refreshingly original, and it’s a whole lot of fun.

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Hollow Knight Title

Hollow Knight


Official Site || Steam Page

I knew I would probably like Hollow Knight from the start, but I was not at all prepared for it to resonate with me as much as it did. With the release of Bleed 2 last month and with virtually guaranteed heavy hitters like Iconoclasts and La-Mulana 2 on the horizon, 2017 is an incredibly exciting year for indie games, yet Hollow Knight may very well end up as my favorite game of the year. With a massive world to explore, an outright ridiculous number of secrets, a combat system which manages to feel extremely fluid while giving each and every attack a sense of weight, and an atmosphere which seamlessly combines some good old-fashioned Dark Souls gloom with lighthearted humor, this is one experience which is far from empty.
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