You know an indie game has made it big when other indie developers start making fangames based on it and the Touhou series has a ton of fangames. I’ve played my fair share of Touhou fangames over the years and at the end of the day Touhou – Wandering Souls remains not only my favorite Touhou fangame, but one of my favorite freeware indie games. This sidescrolling action RPG perfectly translates the gameplay of a bullet hell shmup series into an entirely different genre alongside some surprisingly deep mechanics and an outright obscene amount of content all while being made in the utterly unlikely RPG Maker VX engine. (more…)
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. (more…)
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. (more…)
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.
The two games in the Anyman series are incredibly short and slightly too easy for their own good while still being entertaining enough to be worth spending the roughly five minutes it takes to finish them. Despite some obvious references to the Mega Man series with a cast of robotic ‘mans’ and an evil scientist for an antagonist, the gameplay in this series is rather different. You play using only the mouse and right click to jump and left click to shoot. Each game consists of nothing but back-to-back boss fights and you get about a third of your maximum health back after defeating each boss. These fights all take place with Anyman on the left side of the screen and the boss on the right side, but the big twist here is that neither Anyman nor the bosses can move horizontally since they’re both technically running to the right at all times. With no horizontal movement, you need to rely entirely upon your jump to dodge attacks. Thankfully, you can jump indefinitely while in the air so you have quite a bit of vertical control, though bosses can jump just as much as you can and many of their attacks force players to balance their height near the middle of the screen rather than sticking to the ground or the very top. As for your attack, this is the one area where the gameplay more closely matches that of the Mega Man series as you have a gun which can shoot small bullets each time you click or you can charge it up for a stronger shot, though even here it’s not quite the same as your attacks can be freely aimed with the mouse and your weapon charges up in about a second with no middle step along the way.
Both games feature four fights against other robots followed by two fights against the antagonist, Dr. Alien. There are some interesting ideas for these robots, such as Pulse Man, who sends out red circles of various sizes which combine together and can be destroyed if you shoot them enough, while other robots are decidedly less original, such as in the case of Blade Man, who is virtually identical to Metal Man from Mega Man 2 aside from the lack of horizontal movement. You only have a single life to get through all six fights, but with the rather generous healing between fights and the low difficulty of the fights themselves the only real danger of death comes from the Dr. Alien fights. Though the second game is listed as being in an alpha state and will almost certainly never be finished, it seems to be free of bugs and all it is missing is a tutorial and the final, seventh fight so it basically has just as much content as the first game. In fact, the second game even has a bit more in the way of content because you can choose to play as Anygirl, who sacrifices the charge shot in exchange for a rapid-fire machine gun and the ability to hover in place whenever the left mouse button is held down. A higher difficulty setting would have been nice to have and a potential playtime of less than five minutes for each game makes them rather light on content, especially since they were not made as contest entries with time constraints to the best of my knowledge, but the gameplay is creative enough that both games are nevertheless fun little diversions.