Starbound Beginner's Guide

Starbound – Completing the First Planet (Quick Guide)

In Starbound, you use Terraria-style mining mechanics to collect materials and progress through the galaxy. This game was released in 2016. It has had some resurgence thanks to a re-release of the game on the invaluable Xbox PC Game Pass platform. I figured since I didn’t find immediate coverage of my own questions, new players may be wondering how to progress in this game. The game takes place in outer space. It has a plotline involving being stranded in space after a cataclysmic invasion destroys the planet. With some basic tools, you’re left to fend for your own. With a damaged spaceship, you escape to the orbit of a wild alien planet. Now that everyone knows the background, let’s get into how to make it past the first planet!

Continue Reading

Galacticon – Retro Arcade Shmup (Preview)

Today, I’m taking a look at the soon-to-be-released, arcade-style title Galacticon from developer Radin Games. It’s similar in style to 1980s arcade games like Defender, Joust, and Jetpac. You might be familiar with some of these from the book Ready Player One; and maybe the film, but I can’t remember, although I know Joust featured prominently in the book. I sat down with the space-themed preview they provided and honestly got really into it. Initially, I wondered how much there’d be to say, but the game has many objectives. There’s also an online leaderboard to compete with, so it is full of incentives to play. I’ll give you a rundown of some features as well. And as usual, I’ve included my gameplay, as usual, with the YouTube video at the top. Let’s get started.

Continue Reading

Jaded – Time Warp Platformer (Demo Review)

I love these platformer games that emerge from the woodwork every single day. Today, that game is Jaded by Shellsnore games, up on Steam. It’s a standard platformer with directional keys, jump, attack, and a special mechanic which is a time warp. Although the time warp mechanic is more of a cacoon slingshot kinda thing, it works pretty well. I was able to bind my controller to the basic keys with no problem. Let me share a tad more here for you.

Continue Reading
Peglin Demo Review

Peglin – RPG Pinball (Demo Review)

Peglin is a great game where you complete levels by dropping a ball into a destructible pattern of mechanic activating orbs. You can activate critical strike boosts, or replenish the board. And, before I gloss over too quickly, the purpose of this strategy is to rack up points which can then be used to attack mob health points, in effect winning the level and moving on. I was lucky enough to find the demo on Steam, although the main game has been covered elsewhere. Anyway, I’ll give you a brief rundown of Peglin.

Continue Reading
BIOTA

BIOTA – Mutant Shmup (Demo Review)

I’m going to try something new here. I have been known to review demos in the past, but they get kind of buried under other projects. I really want to dedicate time to as many as I’d like to. All things relevant, I made a post on Twitter about needing to play for Game Boy style indies. I got a great tip from cshPinecone of Indie Game Collective about the game BIOTA from “small bros.” It’s a shmup–aka shoot ’em up.

Continue Reading
Ducksoup Dungeon Review

Ducksoup Dungeon – Animal Hero Game Boy Rogue-Lite (Free Game Review)

Let’s jump right into Ducksoup Dungeon. It’s a free web browser playable rogue-lite on Itch.io by developer Richard Lems, also known as Blastmode Games. You might have heard of Lems’ work on the game Mighty Goose. In the game I’m discussing here, Ducksoup Dungeon, you choose one of four heroes. It is playable in a web browser or can be downloaded. Starting with “Slashchicken,” the first hero is a chicken. With amazing firepower at your side, you’ll blast your way through and collect coins. Each play’s collection can be used to unlock the other three heroes. Every level features hidden procedurally generated areas, meaning it can be a different layout every time you play. The levels, of which there seems to be an infinite number, are filled with containers destructible for coins, reached by eliminating various mobs.

Continue Reading
Dogurai

Dogurai – Game Boy Dog Samurai (Demo Review)

Dogurai by HungryBear is a Game Boy-style indie Metroidvania. I know about it through, a couple of co-creators from Indie Game Collective. Thank you, Jaunty Adventures and Pursuing Pixels. Their taste is superb, as this turned out to be an exciting game. I’ve covered very few Game Boy titles here, aside from Lasagna Boy and… actually, that might be it. It’s a great genre if you want to get into indies. In summary, the designs are aligned with the palette and rendering of old-school Game Boy games. This one in particular is a nice platformer/Metroidvania that takes you through some moderately challenging levels. There are ruffian henchmen, shielded hulks, and old-school SMB 3-style bosses. In my video, I had to jump around like more of a ninja to obliterate the first boss.

Continue Reading
Bumballon

Bumballon – Cartoonish Platformer (Review)

I’ve got a great video up for Bum Ballon on my YouTube channel because I found this game on a Steam sale for 89 cents! With some investigation, I narrowed down some impulse options for pixel art platformers in the likes of some recent faves like Grapple Dog (which hopefully I’ll get to) and PomPom. It’s a game with unique characters and a traditional SNES-type side scroller plot–a game that personally puts me into an optimized chill mode. Basically, hop in a cannon, and, after blast-off, interact as you’re taken for a ride through a colorful world with unique obstacles and moderate challenges.

Continue Reading

Blastronaut (ItchIO Free Game #short)

Well, this is an interesting one. I’ve appeared live-action on cam with a mic and actually talk. This is my first time doing so. I used an antique candlestick phone as a microphone stand, and it worked brilliantly. Anyway! So, this game is a mining platformer, pixel art with the likes of games like Terraria or Spelunky. You use a jetpack and hose to douse the caverns of the planet so you can collect mining materials. It took me a few minutes to realize what I was supposed to do, but once I did, the gameplay was quite good. There are no instructions on the ItchIO page, so I recommend paying attention to the indicators in the upper right and upper left of the game screen to determine what you need to collect and trade in for more fuel and equipment. Didn’t have a ton of luck playing it in the browser with my Xbox controller, but it responded right away to my mouse and keyboard. Overall though, it loaded instantly and was tons of fun.

Continue Reading
hivemind 2 stargrove scramble

Hivemind 2: Stargrove Scramble (Free)

Hivemind 2: Stargrove Scramble is a 2D pixel art platformer part of a 2021 Newgrounds dev jam with an “egg” theme by the dev group Team Bugulon. You play a little cloaked lizard, progressing through various spring-sunset-toned environments, collecting candies that in turn give you eggs that you can use to hurl at enemies and unblock paths. The music is a touch above fun, along with the sound effects, making the game have a polished SNES quality that is so adored in these kind of games. Stargrove Scramble is a generous product as far as free games on ItchIO go in my opinion. It holds a really nice balance of ease to play with rewarding character abilities. I also couldn’t help but notice the subtle hark back to Mario 2’s “Birdo” egg sound effects, which is a nostalgic touch. The controller support is a nice plus that I always look for too. I recommend checking it out if you play ItchIO games and want a pleasant free one that seems to be a cohesive one. You can also play Stargrove Scramble in your browser if you like!

Continue Reading
Eats Shoots Leaves itchio

Eats Shoots and Leaves (Free)

Here’s an amusing little platformer over on ItchIO called Eats Shoots and Leaves. The name is a parody of the famous writing device expressing the difference punctuation and grammar makes in the comparison of the words “Eats Chutes and Leaves” and “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.” The game is about a panda, so this is most certainly true. In the game, you play a mama panda who needs to rescue her cubs from bad guy poachers wandering around the jungle. Collect leaves, climb vines, open cages. You can also, appropriately, shoot little missiles at enemy poachers. This game is simple but really well made and I really loved playing it. It also offers full controller support.

Continue Reading

Village Monsters – I Love This Spooky Town Sim – Review

Village Monsters is a solo dev project from Josh Bosser. It’s a pixel art town sim that departs from conventional titles with an alternative community of friendly monsters. The game plays on similar genre themes as Stardew Valley but the content goes into the outsider/quirk genre of games with its monster acceptance communicated in each character’s unconventional friendliness. It departs from too much comparison by offering a vast amount of exclusive unique story concepts in each characters’ backstory and dialogue. Players can also enjoy activities like treasure hunting, fishing, exploring, working, and contributing to the town itself. Village Monsters is pleasantly surprising and the subject of this indie game collective showcase/review post. So, let’s see what’s inside!

Continue Reading

Pompom: The Great Space Rescue – First Look – Review

The recently released pixel platformer Pompom: The Great Space Rescue ran across my desk as a showcase opportunity through my friends at Indie Game Collective. It’s a precision platformer, sort of, with a feature I’ve never seen before this involving time slowing AND improvised platform placement. You can play with a controller, or you can play it with a mouse (or hamster actually, since that is Pompom’s main character you play as.) The game balances innovative gameplay, a moderate learning curve, and generous leniency to keep your gameplay flowing. I’m thoroughly enjoying it, at the level of some other top precision platformers like Celeste. From the pleasant pixel art to the rewarding gameplay, this game earns every slice in the Mr. Dave Pizza pie. So, let me do my duty and share with you some information about this excellent game. Also, I made a cam appearance for the first time on this game’s video–with my favorite hat! Not sure why, just felt like doing it.

Continue Reading

Mago: The Villain’s Burger – Looks Old Plays New – Review

Mago: The Villain’s Burger is an adventure set in a world populated by fresh NES sprites and joyful playful storytelling. It is your responsibility as Mago (which is a perfect name for a sorcerer) to rescue the princess and do heroic things. It’s filled with so many fun easy-to-learn but masterable abilities and unique mechanics that you just don’t find in every game. The best way to understand it is most likely visually, but today I’ll be talking about why Mago is a promising look at how its developers are creating something that is, possibly, capable of going big if they wish.

Continue Reading

Make The Burger – Casual Dining for Hungry Pixel People (Review)

Welcome to my post about Make the Burger. This game’s release date on Nintendo Switch occurred this week, although it has a presence on Steam and ItchIO as well. This is a casual food truck sim with catchy and fun pixel environments and a line-up of hungry and paying illustrated customers. Your entire success is dependent on your ability to remember ingredient symbols and who ordered them. Take orders from customers to cook the burgers they want as accurately and quickly as possible. Upgrade your establishment each day by using funds to purchase new ingredients, furniture, and various tools of the trade. Each session starts at the beginning and it’s up to you to play as casually or seriously as you’d like.

Continue Reading
owlboy pixel art metroidvania switch review gameplay

Owlboy – A Fine Indie Owlish Adventure

Sometime about 100,000 years ago Owls became all the rage. I joke, since owl knickknacks and stories have surged in popularity over the past couple of decades. But they’ve long symbolized intelligence, wisdom, and ability. Which is good, because those are common themes in Owlboy. I tested this game on Nintendo Switch, but it is a cross-platform Metroidvania, an acceptable umbrella term for a whole ton of games out there.

Continue Reading

Necrow Co. – Gameboy Soul-Reaping Crow

If this headline doesn’t raise an eyebrow, then stick with two, because this article is tapping into some unexplored territory with the game Necrow Co. by creator Zahran Worell. The game Necrow Co. is a 2D pixel platformer, playable with either a controller or keyboard. It’s a light narrative about a crow who starts work for a company of reapers, featuring a cozy skeleton psychopomp grim dispatching you to a national park filled with spookies, squishies, and don’t-touchies (terms coined on our end.) Abilities are basic: move left and right, jump, and shoot a sort-of crow song wave that disables mobs. Necrow Co. is a charming adventure, and despite the grim theme, fairly soft on the player. Let’s take a look.

Continue Reading

What Lies in the Multiverse Demo – Click RT To Change Universes (Showcase)

We’ve got a big event going on right now for THE BIG ADVENTURE. Many demos, many great indies. I set my eyes on What Lies in the Multiverse first. It’s a collaboration between Studio Voyager, IguanaBee, and Untold Tales. Everything you’ll see in this game has a silvery thread of classic games like Fez, Owlboy, etc. But it’s a little more than technicolor flashing pixel animations, it’s dealing with a really awesome powerful mechanic. Changing universes. That’s right, when you click RT you change universes in this game, and, honestly, it’s unique, it’s a seldom-used trope, but a particularly amusing one, because when you play a game like this, you can drop out real quick and drop back in as if you were putting on a new hat.

Continue Reading
Soul Delivery Banner

Soul Delivery – Hot Neon SanFran Robot Cyberpunk: ItchIO Demo

Alright, folks, I am compelled to write about this. Last night I posted a video of a game on itch.io called Soul Delivery. Yes, it is true, the graphics in this game are so stunning, it’s enough to short circuit. Though, until now, I’ve never even heard of it. I don’t know who the dev is, and I don’t know anything more than what’s covered on the itch.io page. But, since there’s a demand on this, let’s just take a look at it right now, and I’ll polish this up later once I’ve had a little more time with it.

Continue Reading

Celeste – One of the Best Platformers Ever

Celeste. Yes, it’s about time we did this. The renowned precision platformer from Extremely OK Games has been out for approximately three years now (Celeste was released Jan. 25, 2018, hence the three-year anniversary,) and it’s not lost its charm. And why would it? The game sold over a million copies by the end of 2019. Whether you’re hanging out in your game room or playing on your Switch en destination, this is the kind of pick-up and go game dreams are made of. You’ll have to pardon me as I haphazardly introduce a game that’s been out for three years! I’m compelled to share my heart with you on this one though. So, let’s do it. Let’s talk, Celeste. I’ll cover “Farewell” a little bit as well.

Continue Reading

Cave Story’s Secret Santa: A Free Christmas Game

Are you looking for a game that lives up to Christmas the way Spooky Station and Pumpkin Jack live up to Halloween? This game was like an actual gift under an actual tree when I saw it free on Steam. I don’t know a darn thing about Cave Story or its balrog, but here’s the deal. In Cave Story’s Secret Santa You are a pixel art Santa, the presents have been stolen, drop-in through chimney’s in a diverse world to replace the presents. There’s a catch though, booby traps and sentries line children’s houses, which you must stealthily avoid or risk restarting. It’s a pretty low key game and is bound to be one of the best Christmas-themed games I’ve played.

Continue Reading
Date NIght Bowling Menu

Date Night Bowling: Dating Sim Review

For the record, I am a big fan of Way Down Deep and their dating sim releases over the last year like the socially distanced romance sim Romantic Distancing and the popular release Half Past Fate. I’ve been eyeing Date Night Bowling since I first saw it in an upcoming games roster. So when the opportunity to play it on Switch arose, I snagged it and slipped on some bowling shoes. Eww, digital ones! I jest. Anyway, what we’ve got here is a combination of a very pleasant to look at video game with plenty of replay value and a pretty darn decent bowling simulator for the Switch. It’s about $8 right now on sale. I decided to play through a date and flip through the options, I’ll tell you what I observed here. Overall, to begin with, it’s a good game.

Continue Reading
alchemic cutie

Alchemic Cutie – IGC Showcase

hemic Cutie is, once again, a game running across my desk from Indie Game Collective. I really have no particular context for describing it, although it fits into a few neat descriptors as a bright, colorful, cute, RPG. In all fairness, it is a monster collection game, à la Pokemon-style games. My “stinky alchemy on purpose” subtitle has to do with the game objective of collecting “smelly beans” as a primary task of the game. Being fairly wholesome, the game clocks in fine as a family-friendly indie game, and gains points for me in quality production that is apparent from the beginning. This showcase is made possible by IGC and the Alchemic Cutie producers, so thank you to them, and let’s get started.

Continue Reading

Arietta of Spirits: Supernatural RPG Impressions

Arietta, a young lady camping at grandma’s cabin along with Arietta’s mom and dad. Arietta meets a spirit named Arco during their first night. After Arietta’s departed grandmother greets her on the cabin pier and sends her on a quest to retrieve a silver ring, things take a major turn. With some authentic metaphysical storytelling involving realms, ghosts, and spirits, the integrity of the spiritual aspect of this game is solid. In reward, it creates a game with a story with countless possibilities and storytelling. Let’s take a look.

Continue Reading

Big Boy Boxing: Indie Punch-Out Homage (Demo)

Big Boy Boxing is a cartoony indie boxing dev inspired by Cuphead and the classic late 80’s NES game Punch-Out!! The concept is polished and shiny for contemporary indie players who thrive on retro quirks in new games. You play as a new boxer, trained up through the earnest beginning in the ring with a trainer, Coach Hank. At this stage of development, the demo is pretty short with only one contender, but there are plenty of interesting observations to be made on this neat project. I’d say it’s pretty certain by the time this is released this is going to be a very hyped game in the indie world and beyond. The project from concept to gameplay is really enjoyable and I’m ready to dive in, so let’s take a look.

Continue Reading
The Wratch's Den

The Wratch’s Den: Arcade Pixel Villain Dungeons

The Wratch’s Den is a rogue-like dungeon builder from the depths of the PUNKCAKE Délicieux inventory on Itch.IO. The gameplay involves building a pixel art style base by mining the surrounding layers of cave rock. The core of the base is a simple brick square structure that houses a minotaur villain on a throne that oversees a group of minions. Progress is measured by how quickly you respond to crusading do-gooders and the retrieval of three magic orbs. When enough progress is made the arch-villain minotaur can research new areas in the base or even revive slain minions. This entire experience is procedurally generated and leads to casual replay value that is pretty dang fun. So, let me take you into the depths of The Wratch’s Den, and tell you what I see.

Continue Reading

Potion Party: Cozy Pixel Alchemy Simulator (IGC Showcase)

Potion Party is a recently released indie co-op that involves running an alchemy shop and racing around part of your lab to create potions for hurried customers. Its style is a pleasant top to bottom, cute, pixel art environment. Get in the groove as an alchemist to thumpy party music of its namesake. Players may enjoy reasonable tasks along with adequately challenging objectives. In addition, there is a respectable host of elements that advance the needs of player skills as levels are completed from customers to creatures. I think this game is really fun and am delighted to share more about it with you!

Continue Reading

Black Skylands: Take The Helm: A First Look

Black Skylands is an immersive fantasy skypunk RPG that takes place in the colorful airborne landscapes of another world. As an indie gamer, this is indeed one of the most optimistic projects I’ve looked at, and yet very promising indeed. Take the helm of a family airship and float between islands in the sky to claim your stake. This review was sponsored by a free copy, which I am really grateful for, so let’s g

Continue Reading
Tales of the Neon Sea Title

Tales Of The Neon Sea: Impressions

Tales of the Neon Sea is a bright pixel art in the hardboiled cyberpunk detective style. It’s also borderline platformer and adheres to a very high-density environment in synch with some of the best cyberpunk cinematics out there. Explore shadowy laboratories or deep dungeons sewers. This game is not for the light-hearted but it does deliver on content. This is probably the most sophisticated pixel art game I have ever played. Let’s take a look.

Continue Reading
vecter indie game

Half Past Fate: Dating Sim Review

Half Past Fate: Romantic Distance is a visual novel about a dating during the pandemic. It was released February of 2021. The story revolves around a mutual interest involving a young man and his broken laptop named Stephen and a clerk at a computer repair shop named Robin. Soon after they meet, the city goes into lockdown because of the pandemic. They try to make it work using video dating for multiple months, and test the limits of distant relationships. The game has a very pleasing 2.5D pixel art aesthetic and a catchy chiptune soundtrack.

Continue Reading
coffee talk visual novel

Coffee Talk: Demo Impressions

Coffee Talk is an interactive visual novel released in the pumpkin spice season of 2020. You play a barista in Seattle in a futuristic/alternate-universe. Your customers range from human to succubus, and it is your job not only to make them coffee in your coffee shop but also to help talk them through their personal problems. The gameplay is interspersed with actual barista beverage making with various ingredients and you can even make latte art. The game art is also enjoyable and has a high-quality direction in design.

Continue Reading
read only memories neurodiver visual novel

Read Only Memories: NEURODIVER – Demo

Read Only Memories: NEURODIVER is an indie interactive fiction visual novel project currently set for release sometime next year. Play as ES88 a psychic therapist who recovers lost memories for clients using the help of an organic “neurodiver.” You’ll start as a hybrid client named Crow. Crow has a mysterious background but is trying to restore a memory that has been tampered with to recover a memory chip at the center of a secretive trade he took part in. The art direction in Read Only Memories is colorful and fresh.

Continue Reading
princess farmer samobee cute bunny indie puzzle game

Princess Farmer – Demo Review

incess Farmer is essentially a complex row matching game, mixed with some RPG and storytelling elements. With some pixel graphics and a cozy story about bunnies, it’s a lot of fun. The stylizing is pink and indie in the best way, and it is fun just to look at. I’m pretty much a sucker for anything with this style. I’m not totally sure what you would call it, but it puts me in a happy place.

Continue Reading