I’ve written about all the large big-budget games I’ve been playing, but have been remiss in taking about all the small indie titles I’ve been getting through on the side. This month alone I’ve played four smaller games that I want to tell you about…
Darkest Dungeon hit PCs way back in January 2016 (even earlier if you count it’s Early Access campaign), and I gave it a good crack back then. It then somehow got washed away in the constant flood of games, and I didn’t give it much thought until this year because it’s hit the Nintendo Switch!
It’s definitely not the best version of the game, as load times are longer, and the text is tiny when playing the Switch handheld, but it’s exactly what I needed to give the game proper attention. And what a game it is…
Darkest Dungeon is a grueling turn-based strategy game where you gather a party of four champions to delve into progressively more challenging dungeons. Each dungeon ranges from 5-30 minutes so perfect bite-sized chunks to play when you’re on the go or waiting for something to cook in the oven.
The brilliance of the game is in it’s risk vs reward dynamic. When a hero dies, that’s it. There is no saving them. No resurrections. No reloading a previous save. And even if you do save your entire party and return them to camp alive, they may return with diseases, or metal illnesses that prevent them being at the top of their game on the return trip.
It’s not an easy game, and doesn’t go soft on you in the early hours, but apply some perseverance and you’ll start to fall for it. Darkest Dungeon is a grower.
Check out Celeste’s Metacritic score:
This juggernaut on the scoreboards was made in Canada by a team of two, and is a truly special game. I haven’t connected to a platformer like this is years and years. Like Darkest Dungeon, Celeste is a brutal challenge. I saw the end-credits roll this past weekend, but before the names started to scroll, it displayed how many times I’d died’ trying to scale Celeste Mountain – I fell over 1000 times!!
Beyond being a classic pixel-art platformer, it has an intimate story about tackling your inner demons that helps elevate this game into something really special. I played Celeste on the Switch, but you can get it on any console or PC.
Human Fall Flat
My girlfriend Jade and I were looking for something mindless to play together, and stumbled onto Human Fall Flat. It’s a silly puzzle game built for laughs, and it really hit the spot. You play as what can only be described as a marshmallow humanoid. The idea is to solve physics-based puzzles to proceed to the next challenge room, but the charm comes from the controls – they’re purposefully non-intuitive to cause just enough frustration that you can do nothing but smile.
Not something I’d recommend unless you have a buddy. I was lucky enough to catch Human Fall Flat on sale on Xbox, so was worth a shot. Jade and I will get back to it for sure.
Super Hot VR
Super Hot (not VR) was a big hit when it released in 2016 but I kinda missed the boat. It’s a puzzle game, disguised as a super-stylised first-person shooter. The cool bit is that time only moves… when you do!
I wasn’t too sorry to see Super Hot pass me by, but was intrigued when a virtual reality version was released last year. Even more so when I read that it was an entirely new set of levels designed specifically for VR. A few good reviews, and a sale on the PlayStation store later… and I’m loving it. Only played a handful of levels so far but it’s a lot of fun, and didn’t cause any motion sickness.
Super Hot VR will definitely be my go-to the next time I have house guests that are curious about VR. Dodging a bullet like your Neo in the Matrix is just fucking cool.
So that’s what I’ve been playing this month! Busy start to the year when you add these to PUBG, Yakuza 0, FIFA and Planet Coaster. I also finally played through What Remains of Edith Finch, but that incredible experience deserves a post of it’s own.
Best wishes y’all.