Tag Archive: 2015

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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Expand

Steam Page

I never would have guessed that within the span of a single year I would be playing and writing about multiple kaleidoscopic, abstract black-and-white games released in September 2015 with gameplay centered around moving in circles while avoiding red hazards, but here we are. Circa Infinity with its mind-melting, psychedelic visuals was one of the best indie games I played in 2015 and, while it took me an entire year to stumble upon it, I love Expand with its more subdued, somber, and carefully controlled acts of mesmerization almost as much. However, the similarities between these two games largely begin and end with their basic concepts as Expand has its own brand of surprises in store for players.
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Refunct

Steam Page || Official Site

Games get labeled as various types of ‘pure experiences’ far too often, but Refunct really is about as close as a game can probably get to providing a pure platforming experience. With no enemies, hazards, nor any other source of danger, Refunct allows players to run, slide, swim, and crawl through its single play area at whichever pace they choose. Stepping on platforms transforms them from dull grey pillars into vibrant columns of grass and dirt and collectible cubes are scattered about, but the columns and cubes are entirely optional objectives. The only concrete goal within the game is to step on the large red buttons, marked by vertical lines of light, which leads to making the next set of platforms rise up from below the water’s surface. There is a great sense of smoothness to the platforming, which is created in no small part by a very generous wall jumping system and the ability to automatically slide up onto a platform when near its top. Pipes, jump pads, and elevators add some variety to the platforming, though players also have a good amount of freedom in picking out their own paths. Refunct is a short game which is fully focused on the relaxing, somewhat hypnotic, and seamlessly smooth experience of navigating an environment and I only wish there were more games like it.

DISTRAINT

Steam Page

DISTRAINT is one of the strongest examples of psychological horror done right which I have ever encountered in any medium. This modern day Faustian tale is a nightmarish ghost story without ghosts which chronicles the choices made by its protagonist, a young man named Price, and the consequences they contain for both himself and those around him.
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