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This early access title from Onevision Games is an extremely atmospheric, philosophical experience. You find yourself in a mysterious land with no memory or explanation of why you
are there. As you begin your journey you encounter various items in the world that start to provide you with a vague understanding of your purpose and the journey you have ahead of you. There is no clearly defined direction for you to take as you wander through the fantastical architecture of Essence, with the game providing you with a linear path surrounded by nooks and crannies that allow for some exploration and deviation from the general direction you find your self being drawn towards.
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Zordix AB have successfully created a solid base for a good snocross racing game. Competently put together, Snow Moto Racing Freedom provides a fun racing game with decent variation in maps and a variety of challenge in the courses. The player is provided with more than one race mode to partake in as well as having plenty of courses to unlock through progression. The game provides an enjoyable experience that mostly falls flat when it comes to overall visual presentation and options for customisation, meaning that Snow Moto lacks the additional flair and extra excitement that many other racing games manage to achieve.
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This gorgeous title from indie developer Mad Fellows brings the player a wonderful rhythm game experience. Aaero is a challenging game in which the player finds themselves tracing ribbons of light, fending off hostile machines, avoiding elements of the environment and even engaging in boss fights. A rich experience filled with a variety of gameplay elements, creating something that is both relaxing and appropriately difficult, blending calmer sections of the levels seamlessly with the slightly more frantic segments.
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Indie studio Betelgeuse Zero have created a potentially interesting 2D title in their game Orange Moon. A relatively basic premise that presents the player with a story set on a distant planet. You are tasked with exploring a strange, dark world while information is gradually fed to you by a mysterious character who appears to be the leader of whichever organisation sent you there. The world you find yourself traversing is littered with harmful plants, strange dangerous orbs and unfriendly machinery. As you manage your ammo, health and fuel while dodging these various dangers you must undertake tasks for the organisation. Orange Moon is certainly a decent concept, if a little basic, but in it’s current stage of Early Access there are a few things holding the game back.
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This early access title from Indie developer oddByte is their first foray into the gaming industry as a studio. Rogues Like Us is a perfectly good entry into the rogue-lite genre pool. An admirable first offering that doesn’t strike outside the young studios experience and as a result creates a competently put together experience that although lacking in innovation or anything particularly new or original, provides the player with an enjoyable experience that can easily be dipped in and out of with minimal stress. Rogues Like Us does feel like a finished game that perhaps merely needs additional tweaks.
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Graphite Lab have created a rather frustrating 2D platform shooter that clearly benefits from multiplayer. Hive Jump is fun. The mechanics are all solid and the game itself is good in many ways but it feels like multiplayer is required, because when playing alone it quickly becomes somewhat irritating and repetitive. A promising experience that is probably fun to play with friends if you’re short on other multiplayer experiences to enjoy with them.
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LIT is an excellent pure puzzle solving game from Indie developer, WayForward. It is a re-imagining of a 3D horror action puzzle game of the same name that was originally released in 2009. You guide Jake, who is a sullen, brooding teenager, through the rooms of a dark, haunted school in search of his girlfriend Rachael. In each room you face a puzzle that involves creating light to travel through the dark, using various gameplay mechanics to create paths and avoid monsters. After each room you are provided with the time and number of steps it took you to complete the room and a complete time at the end. The puzzles seem simple enough but become increasingly more challenging as you progress through the rooms. Coupled with the tense atmosphere, LIT provides an engaging experience for the player and is a genuinely impressive creation considering the simplicity of it’s execution.
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Unexplored is a wonderful little top down title from developer Ludomotion. On the surface it appears much like the vast majority of roguelite dungeoneering games but a little playtime begins to reveal it’s more charming elements and a lot more playtime finds you fully engaged in your quest. In a game where death comes suddenly and easily, you still feel a desire to push on and continue to delve deeper into the dungeon, exploring the different dungeon layouts that are generated each run and experiencing the different enemies that game may choose to throw at you during one run but hide from you the next. Your little character obtains new items, gains strength and encounters ever more enemies and traps as you progress in this deceptive little dungeoneering experience.
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Wuppo is an adorable game from Indie developer Knuist and Perzik offers the player a well constructed 2D platforming adventure. You are a Wum, a strange race of creatures on an equally strange planet and you are expelled from your home by the angry Wum that runs the Wum House for smearing ice cream all over the hallway for the last time. You are cast out into the wide world and left to fend for yourself as you try and find a way back into the Wum House. Your adventure brings you into contact with many different creatures, some more friendly than others, as well as various items you find along the way that will aid you in your travels.
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An interesting title from Warm Lamp Games, Beholder has a similar feel to Papers, Please. However, whereas the set events in Papers, Please have a more random feel to them, Beholder feels much more scripted due to the writing being more rigid. Each playthrough essentially features the same events, with some subtle differences in how you can potentially go about things, but those choices don’t really start to make a difference until later in the game when your moral decisions either begin to cause you problems in-game or start to make you feel like a terrible human being. You play the new landlord of a block of flats in a country under a dictatorship. You are under orders to watch everyone in your building and report anyone breaking government sanctions, even if the people you need to report seem good or the reasons for reporting them seem trivial. A nasty end awaits anyone you choose to report, but if you are unsuccessful in carrying out your orders you find yourself short on the money required to do your job.