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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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Hakjak Productions have essentially created a gory death simulator with their game, Guts and Glory. This Early Access effort has a long way to go if it wants to become something other than a mildly amusing joke, but there’s some promise to this game in the form of challenge, even if that challenge is currently little more than something that is purely there to be silly and provide entertainment in the form of constant ragdolling and flying body parts.
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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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Brigador is an effort from Stellar Jockey and Gausswerks that offers a retro style, real-time strategy combat experience. You are on the Human colony of Solo Nobre and your purpose is to cause destruction in the wake of the rise of a dictatorship on the colony, and aiding the rebelling faction.
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Before I get into this review, I have something of a disclaimer. The scale of this game is far too colossal for me to have managed enough playtime to do a complete appraisal, so this review is based off my initial impressions and will be devoid of any substantial speculation as to what the game ‘might’ hold later down the line. It clearly has more content that I have not yet broached. However, as I have no idea where that content may lead and may not have any idea for maybe 30-100 hours more gameplay, I will not try and fill in the blanks.
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“Earth may be dying” - with this opening salvo, you begin your journey in Offworld Trading Company. Mars has become the new frontier, and you must compete to establish your place on this new planet by collecting resources and turning those resources into much needed products like electronics and steel to sell to growing colonies that rely on your goods to thrive. But you aren’t the only one attempting to establish yourself and make a profit. Other companies have different visions of what the future will be, some are ruthless scavengers and some are scientific visionaries, while others aren’t human at all.