PC INDIE


Please click here for a list of all the latest PC indie game reviews!

There are some absolutely wonderful indie and freeware games available on the PC today, most of which cost little to nothing at all. 

Indie gaming is what makes the PC such a fantastic gaming platform, and I have gained more hours of entertainment from these games than any other system.

This section showcases my very favourite PC indie games from the last decade or so. There are many more great games out there worthy of your time, but these are the ones that gave me the most joy, and ones I still play to this day.

Each game has a brief summary as to review all of them in full would take me far too long, and there are new indie games coming out all the time that need coverage. It makes me wish I had started this site when I first discovered indie gaming, then each and every one of these titles could have had a full review dedicated to it. However, I may come back to some of them for a more indepth look in the future.


Games Featured (In alphabetical order):






8-bit Killer



Another great game by Locomalito, the creator of Hydorah. 8-bit Killer is a pixelated retro take on the First Person Shooter. It plays like a cross between Wolfenstein 3D and a 3D Mega Man game, and is great fun. Yes, it is simple but in this case it works. If you like your old school FPS games (Wolfenstein, Blake Stone) then this will be right up your street.












Abobo's Big Adventure

Full review here


Wonderful tribute to the games of the Nintendo Entertainment system. Fun, humourous, and chock full of nostalgic joy. One minute you are fighting waves of enemies in a Double Dragon style scrolling fighter, the next you are soaring across the skies in a tribute to Balloon Fight. Anyone who grew up with the 8-bit Nintendo machine needs to experience this. Smiles guaranteed!











Action Fist!



A 2D run n gun game that has a lot in common with the Mega Drive classic, Gunstar Heroes. On a mission to retrieve your stolen scarf (well, it is your favourite one) you charge through the landscapes laying waste to all those foolish enough to stand in your way. With a great 16-bit visual style and cool techno soundtrack, it is an action packed experience that deserves your attention. Weapon pickups can be combines to make hybrid weapons (like the aforementioned unstar Heroes), and you can wall jump and double jump, making you quite agile. Some stages even have you standing on a moving vehicle which can be moved all around the screen (much like a scrolling beat-em-up) and it adds a nice bit of variety to the carnage.










Arvoesine


An excellent 2D platformer with a clear NES visual style. The game clearly takes its difficulty level from the NES games of old too as it is exceptionally challenging. A score attack game at heart, you navigate your roman soldier through the stages, killing enemies and collecting orbs (points) and health pickups. You are armed with a sword, infinite javelins, and a shield. It is not as fast paced as something like Super Meat Boy, but due to the tricky enemy placement and projectiles that assault you, it is hard to survive. With only one life to finish the game it is thankful that the gameplay is engrossing enough to keep you coming back. It always feels like you will get a little further each time you play.












Chain Champ


Cute pixelated 2d platform game with a twist. Your character cannot move by conventional means, instead having to fire a grappling hook into a wall or ceiling in order to swing to the next spot. The controls are wonderfully simple, just aim the mouse where you want to fire, click to swing, and click again to release. The puzzle element is all in getting the right angles and letting go at the right time as there are hazards, such as lava pits and crumbling platforms, that stand in the way between you and your feathered friend who awaits you at the end of each stage. Simple and enjoyable with a nice art style.











Delver

Full Review here


Delver puts you in a lovely blocky world in a first person perspective, and tasks you with obtaining a secret magical gubbins located deep in the bowels of the land. You start off at the cave entrance, generously equipped with a dagger, some food, some useless armour and a nifty wand that fires electric bolts. You then navigate your way through the randomly generated levels on a mission to locate the ladder that will take you to the floor beneath. You will have to face many foes on your way there, from the standard bats and slimes, to staff or sword wielding guys, skeletons, and weird eye-balls that shoot fireballs at you. Vanquished enemies often drop loot such as food (hmm, cheese and ale!), armour and weapons. The levels absolutely ooze atmosphere, with the voxel world containing lots of rich detail and some great dynamic lighting effects that really bring the place to life. Wall mounted torches flicker and crackle, lighting up the corridors, and streams omit a glow that fills caverns with a warm blue aura. Sound is also top notch, with some crisp and classy sound effects coupled with a haunting soundtrack that is perfectly suited to the world you are immersed in. Both the music and backgrounds change every couple of levels (sewers, caves, librarys etc) which really gives you a sense of exploring a living world, and it adds variety, keeping it fresh and exciting. The game is currently only in alpha stage but it is still extremely polished and playable, and can be completed. 










Derrick The Deathfin

Full Review Here

It is always a genuine pleasure to discover a game with a unique art style all its own, and Derrick's style is certainly that. Possibly the world's only video game made entirely from card and paper, the look is instantly captivating. From the titular hero to the many varied sea creatures, backdrops and objects contained within its world, everything has been lovingly hand crafted using paper materials. At its heart Derrick is a sidescrolling racing game. An eclectic mix of gameplay styles that plays like a hybrid mixture of Sega's Nights : Into Dreams and Ecco The Dolphin, with some Joe Danger thrown in for good measure. It is a fast and frantic game that is a great deal of fun to play. From the lovable characters and cartoony backgrounds, to the quirky tunes and little loading screen quotes, everything is designed with love and care and is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. 










Destructivator


The old school Loderunner-esque visual style masks an extremely frantic platform shooter. You navigate your tiny little guy around the single screen levels, killing everything in sight. You can only fire forwards, so ladders and platforms must be strategically used to be able to kill many of the enemies. As well as the standard soldiers, you must also contend with rocket launcher guys, flying robots that fire homing missiles and spawn machines that spurt out an endless supply of foes. Gameplay is very fast paced and you will need extremely quick reactions to progress very far. It is immensely satisfying to play though and you will keep coming back to try to beat the game, which is no mean feat.








Duty & Beyond


Full review here

A retro adventure game with a charming 8-bit visual style and a quirky tale to tell. Created with AGS (Adventure Game Studio) and winner of two awards (best gameplay and best puzzles) in the AGS 2006 awards, Duty & Beyond is a wonderful call back to the point & click adventures of the late 80's and early 90's. It is 2D through and through as the game not only uses 2D sprites, but is set on a 2D playing field, much like a platform game. The game tells the story of a pizza delivery boy named Piet who, upon arriving at a strange mansion on a routine delivery, discovers the occupant is out. Being the dedicated type he decides the only reasonable course of action is to break into the mansion and search for the customer. A simple puzzle grants him access to the upper floor where he finds a note from the house owner that will lead him on a wild goose chase through time and space, well a few strange locales at least. His adventure takes him to a medieval village under goblin attack, a strange underwater vessel and a pyramid filled with treasures. The puzzles are all logical and offer just the right amount of challenge to keep the experience enjoyable, without the need to consult the internet for walkthrough guides. Interacting with objects and NPCs is extremely simple and intuitive, with simple mouse clicks allowing you to view, use, pick up or talk to anything you see fit (and that the game will allow). There is also a score system in play which awards you points for every puzzle you solve, hidden items you find and people spoken to, some of which are not vital to the story. A perfect score, as well as finding a few optional special items along the way, will grant you a better ending. There are several nods to classic adventure games thrown in that will raise a smile, and the whole game is immensely enjoyable and engaging, and it will keep you hooked until its conclusion. 













Escape Goat


Easily one of my favourite Indie game on Xbox Indie Channel, the PC iteration is equally excellent. You take the role of a purple goat, who acquires a cute mouse friend along the way. Your rodent pal is used to reach places the goat can't, and it is this puzzle dynamic that makes Escape Goat so rewarding to play. It actually plays a lot like Solomon's Key, in fact the key opening the final door animation is almost identical, but this is no bad thing as that was a classic puzzle platformer. The graphics have an authentic 8-bit NES look, and the music is awesome, sounding very 'Amiga' in style and really pleasing to the ears. It's great fun to play with excellent level design and it provides a satisfying gaming experience for the couple of hours it will probably take you to finish it. Highly Recommended. It even has a level editor so you can make your own stages!












Excavatorrr


An excellent platform puzzle game that is addictive as they come. With visuals that look like something on the Atari 2600 or Colecovision, many of you will be put off. But don't be, the simple, yet charming in their own way, visuals mask an insanely playable and challenging game. Playing like a cross between Spelunky, Boulderdash, and Dig Dug, the idea is to use the limited tools at your disposal to dig as far down as you can and located hidden treasures. The deeper you go the more valuable items you find, but also the more deadly the creatures who inhabit the area are. Once found treasures must be taken back to the surface shop to cash in, meaning you have to be very careful about your descent. Failing to leave reachable platforms or ladders will result in you getting stuck. It is this puzzle element, coupled with the hostiles who live beneath the soil, that make Excavatorrr so fun, and so difficult. Just like Spelunky, you will die and immediately start over, hoping to get further, and obtain more treasure. Also like Spelunky, there are many hidden items and valuables to be located, and each one feels incredibly rewarding to obtain. Excavatorrr is absolutely brilliant.













Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams

Full Review here

Wonderful tribute to the cult classic Commodore 64 game and a sequel to the 2009 Nintendo DS game. Gorgeous visuals, a fantastic soundtrack by the original musician, and great level design all make this a winner. The twist here is that you can switch between two versions of the main character, which changes the level layouts, and grants you different abilities. It's cleverly implemented and results in some fiendishly hard platforming action. Highly recommended.







Gravitron

Another game that is also on the Xbox Live Indie Channel. Gravitron is a modern take on the classic Thrust template. This means controlling your Asteroids style space vessel by using thrusters to propel yourself forwards. The aim is to find the bomb on each stage, shoot it, then make escape the planet before it explodes. Enemy turrets, lasers, and rotating platforms are just some of the many obstacles standing between you and victory. You can land on flat surfaces to rescue stranded scientists, and must keep an eye out on your ever-decreasing fuel gauge. The graphics have a fantastic neon look that resembles Tron, and the explosions and effects are equally eye-catching. It is an extremely addictive game that will require dedication and practice to successfully navigate the complex later levels.












Herocore


Herocore is a strange mix of metroidvania and Cybernoid. Part shooter, part 2D exploration, but this mix works really well and we are left with a game that is as much about Shmup reflexes as it is about exploring the large world and finding it's secrets. Don't let the basic black & white visuals put you off as they actually work in it's favour, creating a toned down, almost sinister look that suits the space station setting. Once you finish the game you unlock an even harder version which will challenge even the most hardcore of gamers.










Hotline Miami

Full review here

If you thought that GTA was the pinnacle of video game violence then you ain't seen nothing yet. Hotline Miami is a new indie game that fuses together elements of the original top-down GTA games with the sickening ultra violence of games like Man Hunt. With a sleazy Neon 80's exterior that brings to mind movies such as Scarface and, more recently, Drive, and the hazy psychedelic insanity of Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, this game is a brutal and twisted adrenalin rush from the very beginning.







Hydorah



Hydorah is not only my favourite indie shoot-em-up (or shmup if you want to be a part of the cool crowd), but my favourite horizontal shooter ever. Usually I go for the more 'bullet hell' orientated variants of this niche genre, but Hydorah absolutely blew me away. With its wonderful pixel graphics, and excellent Japanese style soundtrack by the talented Gryzor87, Hydorah captures both the style and spirit of the 80's coin-ops perfectly. It is bastard hard too, with enemies and projectiles coming at you from every angle. Luckily it is such an enjoyable game to play that you will keep continuing until you have a decent strategy for surviving a level and defeating its large guardian who awaits you at the end. The level of polish on display here is typical of Locomalito's usual high standards, with everything put together with the utmost care and consideration. It's clearly inspired by games such as Gradius and R-Type, but personally I find it more enjoyable than both of those classic titles. 








Hyper Princess Peach



So this is what Princess Peach gets up to when not being captured by Bowser!
Both a Christmas game and a Smash TV (or Robotron 2048) clone, Hyper Princess is a fast paced, 8-bit arena shooter. The visuals and sounds are extremely well done, with graphics that resemble a pimped NES, and catchy toe-tapping chiptune melodies. The gameplay is frantic and challenging and incredibly good fun. You will not want to stop playing until the very end, where you face off against an evil Mecha-Santa. 












Iji


Very cool 2D platform 'run n gun' game with multiple large levels to explore. An interesting story, interactive NPCs and computer terminals, levelling up,and great weapons are just a few of the things that make this action game great. While some character graphics look a bit ropey, the gameplay and cool touches more than make up for it. An HD update of this on XBLA would be amazing, but for now enjoy this brilliant game for free on your PC.










Knytt Stories

Knytt Stories is a thoroughly beautiful and absorbing 2D platformer with mild Metroidvania leanings. While the sprites are small and the graphics often basic, they contain bags of charm. The game comes with two stories to play, the main one involving a young girl's quest to restore colour to her world by shutting down an evil contraption. This is achieved by running and jumping across the landscape, searching for new abilities, such as double jumping and wall climbing, that will allow you access to new areas. The game has a peaceful, dream-like quality to it, enhanced by the wonderfully subtle but hypnotic music and sound effects. The whole experience is extremely enjoyable as well as relaxing and pleasant, even though some sections require tricky jumps to navigate. The creator, Nifflas, has also released many other indie games worthy of attention, such as 'Within A Deep Forest', Saira, and FiNCK. One huge bonus to Knytt Stories is that users can create their own stories (levels) and have done so in abundance. There are a huge amount available to download on the internet, many of them equally, or surpassing the excellent core experience. Meaning you can get many many hours of enjoyment from Knytt Stories.








Jable's Adventure

A short, but sweet, 2D platform adventure starring a small boy and his squid friend. The cutesy visuals are a cross between a SNES game and the more recent Cave Story. As you explore the world you encounter bosses and NPCs who offer some humourous dialogue and new items. Finding these new items grant you access to new areas, ans so the game has a slight Metroidvania feeling to it. It is quite easy, but the charming graphics and soundtrack keep you hooked until the end.










Jamestown : Legend of the Lost Colony


Jamestown is a fabulous Shmup of the bullet hell variety, as seen by developers such as Cave. Set on Mars in the 17th Century, this bizarre alternate reality twist on history puts you in the boots of Sir Walter Raleigh of the British colonial forces as you fight against Spain and er.. aliens! Well, why not. This means a truly zany world comprising of alien spacecrafts and muskets, and is extremely eclectic and stylish. You start off with one ship, but can unlock a further 3 along the way, all of them possess a different firing style and special weapon, so choosing the right one for the job is vital. Gameplay is exceptionally tight and enjoyable, and controlling your ship is easy as pie. Blasting waves of baddies as you weave in and out of an blanket of brightly coloured bullets is extremely satisfying as well as punishingly difficult. Destroyed foes drop cogs which can be used as currency to purchase upgrades as well as keeping your score multiplier up and filling your 'Vaunt' bar. Once full, a press of the 'Vaunt' button will activate a temporary shield that absorbs bullets. It is exciting and frantic, like any decent shmup should be. The boss fights deserve special mention as they are pretty spectacular, and will put your skills to the test. The graphics, sound, and overall presentation are all of an extremely high standard, enough to rival the full price Japanese shmups that fans love to import, and it is one of the best bullet hell shooter available on the PC.









L'Abbaye Des Morts


Short but sweet platform game with a ZX Spectrum visual style. Some tricky platforming awaits, but you should be able to finish it reasonably quickly with practice. Good fun while it lasts though, and it has an unusually dark tone for a game of it's genre.











Lao's Quest


Lao's Quest takes the familiar template of the original Rick Dangerous and adds more puzzles and depth to proceedings. The bomb sliding mechanic from Rick Dangerous 2 is still here, as are the instant death traps. However, there are added gameplay elements such as keys that open locked doors, and movable blocks that can be pushed to make steps or block arrows.

It is very difficult, as it should be, but is immensely satisfying when you make it to the next screen. You have limited lives, but can continue as often as you want from the screen you died on which helps matters. There are also achievements to obtain by completing levels quickly, killing all the enemies, and finding all the bonuses. It is a great game, tough as nails, and highly addictive.











Maldita Castilla

Full Review here

Maldita Castilla is based heavily on Capcom's Ghosts 'N Goblins and its sequel, Ghouls 'N Ghosts which graced arcades in the mid to late 80's. These hard as nails platform Run & Gun (Or Run & Lance) games featured a Knight named Arthur, tasked with battling a ludicrous amount of demonic hell spawn over 8 large side scrolling stages. They are cult classic titles, not only for their immense playability and charm but also for their punishing difficulty level. 
It is exceptionally good fun and made with care and attention, as well as the utmost respect for the games that inspired it. It is also one of the best old school platformers around, and certainly one of my favourite games of 2012, not just because it is addictive, challenging, and enjoyable to play, but because it brings back so many memories of playing games like these in dark, smoky arcades, the audio clutter of multiple machines ringing in the air and the sense of wonder of finding new games you had never seen before. A time when arcades were filled with classic games and not just row upon row of dance machines and prize grabbers. Games like this have the power to take you back to a time and place that no longer exists, and for that alone I thank Locomalito.














Monty's Chistmas

Monty Christmas is my personal favourite Christmas game of all time. It is both highly playable and has a lovely Yuletide feel to it. It also contains the best plot to any video game ever. Here Monty Mole finds himself tasked with finding all 100 pages of the Retro Gamer Christmas issue in time for publication. If he fails it is a trip to the Job Centre to sign on. This remake, by the talented Trevor 'Smila' Story and Scottige, is based loosely on the free ZX Spectrum title Moley Christmas, but this game feels much more like Monty On The Run or Auf Wiedersehen Monty, only speedier and set in the Retro Gamer offices. It has a wonderful visual style that looks like an advanced 8-bit game, with extra graphical trickery such as nice little firework explosions when you collect a page. The music fits the game perfectly and is catchy enough to not become irritating with extended play. The intricate stages you navigate are interesting to discover, adding a real sense of exploration to the game as you hunt all of the magazine pages. It has a handy save system, where the game saves after completing a zone (of which there are four). Brilliant fun.












Nitronic Rush


Nitronic Rush is an exceptionally polished futuristic racer that looks and plays like the bastard child of Wipeout, S.T.U.N Runner and Tron. You speed along at a rate of knots, boosting, getting air time from ramps and avoiding large obstacles and lasers. You even morph into a flying vehicle in some sections, much in the same way as seen in Sonic & Allstars Racing Transformed. Digipen have really gone to town on the presentation as Nitronic Rush is an absolute feast for the eyes. The soundtrack is also excellent, with some well produced, club-worthy Electro House bangers accompanying the high speed action. It is exciting to play, and is an adrenaline rush to rival that of big budget racers such as the Burnout and Need For Speed franchises. It is an exceptionally good racing title that deserves your attention. It is also completely free, and recieves updates every now and then. The team are now working on a sequel which is being put forward for Steam Greenlight.










Organ Trail : Director's Cut

Full Review here

Organ Trail is a zombie spoof of a classic educational title (yes, really) that was developed way back in the 1970's called The Oregon Trail. The game hit widespread popularity in the mid 1980's when it was ported to the Apple 2, the computer found in most schools in North America at the time.

The aim of Organ Trail, much like the educational Oregon Trail game, is to get your group of people from A to B, from the East to the West, from shit creek to assumed safety. You and four friends jump in a newly acquired station wagon, stock up on the essentials (food, fuel, cash, ammo, medkits, and other bits and pieces) and hit the road. The journey is shown from a side scrolling 2D perspective, your car trundling its way along the road taking up the top half of the screen, the bottom half showing your stats (food and fuel remaining, distance to next checkpoint, health of comrades etc). As you drive, food and fuel are automatically consumed and need to be topped up regularly, and you are at the mercy of the many random encounters you will face along the way. It is always a huge relief to reach the next settlement or safe house in order to regroup and sort out your affairs before moving on. Here you can purchase and sell items, fix up your wheels, take on jobs (usually of the shooty variety), tend to your injured allies, or scavenge for more shit that you need. The scavenging and job parts take the form of more arcade style sections. Organ Trail is a deep and immersive experience that defies its initial appearance as merely an amusing parody game, and you will soon be hooked. I highly recommend you take the trip.














Paroxysm

Another brutal and unforgiving platform game, with lashing of blood and gore. Paroxysm tasks you with simply reaching the end of the stage. Along the way you must avoid buzz saws, spinning double-edged swords, spikes, collapsing platforms and lasers, to name but a few. It is very hard, yes, but it never feels grossly unfair like 'I Wanna Be The Guy', or 'They Bleed Pixels'. Your character can pull himself up onto ledges and also slide, both of which are useful for avoiding death. It is also slightly more forgiving by giving you a life bar rather than a one hit death. Blood sprays from your poor guy each time he is hit (which is often), and bodies of less fortunate victims little the stages. It resembles a cross between Super Meat Boy and Prince of Persia, and is definitely worth seeking out for those who enjoy challenging 2D platformers.










Qrth-Phyl


Stupid title aside, Qrth-Phyl is one seriously inventive game. Based on the age old 'Snake' game that has been around since mobile phones were the size of bricks, it manages to inject fresh ideas into the much copied formula. It is surreal, slightly trippy and in glorious 3 dimensions. You begin on the outside of a cube, and must eat the neon pellets that appear in certain formations. once you have devoured enough a hole appears in which you must dive. Once inside the cube the game takes an over-the-shoulder style view, and you continue to move around the 3D space, munching yet more pellets. Each game is randomly generated so it stays fresh each time, and it is pretty addictive as well as very challenging. It may not be for everyone, but I found it innovative and absorbing and a perfect example of taking an old game and bringing it bang up to date.









Red Rogue

Full Review here

Another entry into the ever popular action Roguelike genre, this time hailed by its creator as an unofficial sequel to 1980's Rogue. Red Rogue manages to carve out a niche all of its own due to its stylish and minimal visual approach and deep gameplay. As a Roguelike it conforms to the usual staples seemingly required by law to categorise it as such. It is a dungeon crawler with randomly generated levels and permadeath for your character should you come a cropper during play. While a 2D platformer approach to the genre, much like Spelunky, it borrows heavily from the game that inspired an entire genre, Rogue itself. The graphics initially seem quite simplistic, and I suppose they are, but the black and white, lo-fi visuals create a dark atmosphere perfectly suited to the gameplay. Plus, the sinister drone music that accompanies you is equally effective in setting the tone. Red Rogue is highly addictive and will keep you returning over and over again as you desperately try to get further into the dungeon depths.












Rescue The Beagles

Rescue the Beagles is a wonderful and charming platform game which puts you in the boots of an animal activist trying to rescue dogs from being used as lab test subjects. The screen scrolls constantly to the right and you must navigate between the various levels (depicted by various layers of background), collecting the hounds and avoiding scientists and other badguys. These enemies can be dispatched by throwing owls at them (surely, this is animal abuse?), and ropes and parachutes are collected that allow easy access between the differing height levels you can walk on. he graphics and music are lovely, and the game is fun, yet challenging. It keeps a score of how many dogs rescued, so you will want to keep playing to better your highest total. 






Retro City Rampage


Full Review here

Please note, the PC version may have been patched since I reviewed it, bringing it up to the standard of the excellent XBLA version (reviewed here)

The brainchild of just one man, Brian Provinciano, Retro City Rampage started life as a homebrew NES game based on Grand Theft Auto. Entitled Grandtheftendo, it soon grew far too big for its hardware boots and so Brian made the logical choice to produce it for PC instead. Taking control of the minuscule hero sprite, named 'Player', you are let loose in an equally tiny over-head city. The main plot is a wholesale rip-off.. I mean tribute to the Back To The Future movies. Wild haired Doc Choc meets you in his DeLorean and you soon find yourself stuck in the wrong time period. What follows is a varied selection of reasonably short missions consisting of the usual GTA staple of fetch quests, killing sprees and driving from A to B. References come thick and fast, and in just a short section of gameplay you will have murdered the Ninja Turtles and the A-Team, been involved in a Dark Knight style bank raid, spotted the dog from Duck Hunt, jumped down a Mario style pipe and head butted a block, flipping over some Koopas. The rapid fire nature of the missions keeps you interested and looking forward to what is coming next. 

Graphically the game looks the part, with the excellent retro visual style perfectly capturing the whole 'Grand Theft Auto' look on an 8-bit console. Special mention must be given to the staggering array of visual options that allow players to choose the colour scheme of the entire game. These include the NES (naturally), the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Atari 8-bit, CGA and VGA PC, and even hand held consoles such as the Virtual Boy and Game Boy. 
The game has many flaws. It can be repetitive, and many jokes miss the mark. Overall though, Retro City Rampage is enjoyable, frantic, amusing, often frustrating, but never less than a wonderful tribute to the 8-bit era.









Rico : A Tale Of Two Brothers

Full Review here

A fun retro platformer in which you take control of the younger of two brothers at war with one another. The 8-bit graphics are basic, but they are colourful, clear, and pleasing to the eye. The little details such as swaying plants and bubbling lava add a sense of life to the stages and make them much more interesting to explore. This is also due to the excellent level design, which offers up enough nooks and crannies filled with more "crystals" to make you want to explore every inch of the stage. This is no Metroidvania though, as levels are fairly linear, but it never claims to be anything more than a 'reach the end of the level' platformer, and is all the more enjoyable for it. The sound effects are of the 'NES' variety, lots of familiar sounding bleeps and bloops, though they fit in well with the retro graphics. Enemies take the form of mines, spikes, bats, instant death lava and projectile spewing traps. Other enemies are introduced as you progress, as well as new abilities. A whip is offered up fairly early on and gives you the means to start fighting back. Another item, and by far my favourite, is the jet pack. Once collected you can become airborne for short periods, using thrust which regenerates when you release the fire button. Using it effectively requires lots of landing on tight spaces, usually surrounded by mines and such. It is great fun and adds a perfect level of variety to the usual on-foot action. I had a blast playing Rico, and I would go as far as to say it is one of the most enjoyable platformers I have experienced for a while.










RockBoshers

Rockboshers is a fun, overhead shooter with ZX Spectrum style graphics and presentation. In the game you play as a captured scientist, resigned to working in the mines on Mars. After a quick escape you must then work your way through single screen levels with multiple enemies, gun turrets, and puzzle items. You can shoot in all directions, as well as strafe while firing, enemies often spawn from certain point, much like Gauntlet, and so some thinking is required to avoid the hordes. Computer terminals are used as puzzles, with each one destroyed opening doors of the same colour, some releasing waves of enemies, while others turn off gun turrets or open doors to the exit. It is a lot of fun, and very challenging, so prepare to die many times over. But it doesn't detract from the game and you will keep coming back for one more go.











Rocky Memphis & The Temple of Ophuxoff


Another excellent platformer from the talented Trevor 'Smila' Storey (creator of Monty's Christmas and a whole host of remakes of classic 8-bit games).
Rocky Memphis takes the template set by the classic platformer Rick Dangerous, throws in some nifty Commodore 64 visuals and chiptune music, then adds an interesting gimmick. Instead of merely trying to reach the level exit, Rock Memphis tasks you with plundering a huge pyramid of its many treasures. There are 600 rooms in total, and finding all the shiny items is a large undertaking. Your journey is full of peril, namely bats, snakes, ghosts, spikes and lava (to name but a few), but you have infinite lives in which to finish the game, dying adds more time to the clock. Once you have the treasures you must return to your jeep outside the pyramid, and the game logs the time you did it in, and logs it to the online leaderboard. It plays really well, and you will soon become obsessed with getting the treasures in the fastest time possible. 












Spelunky

Full review of the XBLA version here


Yes, the new version is out on XBLA and yes, it is awesome, but the original PC freeware version from 2008 is still well worth playing. It may lack the visual polish and several features, but the pixel art is cool and the gameplay is still just as fun and addictive. A 2D roguelike action platformer that sets the benchmark for all other games of its type. A true classic. 










Shoot First



Randomly generated levels are the winning factor in this excellent top down action roguelike. Enter the dungeons and work your way down each floor, finding helpful items, swarms of enemies, and multiple traps along the way. Has that 'one more go' factor that keeps you coming back, even after dying for the umpteenth time (and being a roguelike it's right back to the beginning when you die). Very addictive.








Snapshot


Full Review here


Snapshot is an incredibly immersive and captivating experience that you will relish getting lost in. You are constantly challenged by the game, but you are never left feeling overwhelmed or overly frustrated. The sheer variety of items and the nifty camera mechanic help Snapshot rise above the usual puzzle platformers and give it a firm place as one of the best in its genre. If you enjoy using your brain as much as you enjoy 2D platforming, then make this your next purchase, and become absorbed in its beautiful, thoughtful world.







Soul Brother


Another browser based game. This one is a short but sweet platform exploration game with a cool gimmick. When you die, your soul goes to the nearest playable character. As these characters vary and have different abilities, this lends an air of puzzling to proceedings. Topped off with nice visuals and a fantastic soundtrack by Jasper 'Sonic' Byrne, this is a very enjoyable little romp.









Space Phallus


As we all know, genitals are hilarious. I mean just look at them. Hanging there like a sad elephant's trunk (or button mushroom - depending on how lucky you were when they were dishing them out). Then you have the positively disgusting things that fire forth from them, for some more regularly than others. Space Phallus takes these sticky explosions and turns them into a horizontal scrolling shoot-em-up. You navigate your rocket ship through multiple stages, firing at the constant stream of penises and testicles that make up the majority of the game's enemies. You are bombarded with a constant barrage of salty love batter. A simply ludicrous amount, normally  seen at the end of the average Essex girl's Friday night out. It is actually a very competent shooter, which is equal measures fun and amusing. You may frown at the content, but you know you want to play it!










Star Guard


A short run n gun game with a very old school visual style reminiscent of the classic Atari arcade games of the 1980's. Sound is also suitable retro and all adds to the charm. You have unlimited lives to run through the stages, blasting away at everything that you come across. Enemies are all red and so stand out well, which is just as well as with all the lasers and bullets flying around on screen.  It is a fast paced no-nonsense blaster that never lets up. There are 10 stages you must fight through, with new enemy types and laser traps appearing as you progress. At the end is an epic boss encounter that lasts for a while and has many different stages to it, which is a fitting and suitably pulse racing end to the game. Completing the game also unlocks a HARD mode which gives you limited lives to finish the gamer. Only the hardcore need apply!










Streets of Rage Remake


A truly epic take on the classic Mega Drive series. This remake features new animations & graphics but sticks to the style of the original. There are loads of levels with branching routes, taken from and inspired by all 3 games in the series. There are new music tracks and remixes of the classic tunes we all remember. It plays just as well as it always has, and is simply the best beat-em-up experience you will find these days. A must for fans and anyone who likes scrolling fighters!









Super Amazing Wagon Adventure


A fun spoof of the Apple 2 educational Oregon Trail game. It features bold, striking 2600 / C64 style visuals with crazy flare, and cool retro sound effects. It is exceptionally good fun to play, and always raises a smile. Every time you play you will discover something new. The randomly generated events make every game feel fresh and exciting, and it is one of the most humorous games I have played. Add to the mix unlockable vehicles and bonus modes that play like Robotron 2048 and you have not only a fantastic parody of the original source material, but a genuinely excellent indie title.










Super Crate Box


A single screen arcade action ame that, at first glance, resembles something like Bubble Bobble, Rod Land or Snow Bros but is, in fact, a fast paced score attack game. The aim is to collect the small crates that appear, one at a time, in random locations around the screen. While you are doing this enemies constantly fall from the top of the screen and make their way to the bottom. Should they reach the fire below they reappear at the top, angry and much faster than before. You are armed with a feeble pistol to begin with, but every crate you collect gives you a new weapon, some good and some not so good. There are rocket launchers, flame throwers, dual pistols, and much much more. New guns, levels and characters are unlocked as you accumulate crates. It's an addictive score chaser with online leaderboards.










Super House of Dead Ninjas


A browser based ninja game where you are against the clock. Charge through the nicely designed levels killing enemies with your sword and collecting those vital time increase items. Combat is very swift, with you slashing your way through waves of adversaries on you non-stop mission to reach the bottom of the stage. As well as your sword you are armed with shurikens, bombs (to blow up walls), and a special magic attack that damages everyone on screen.
It is frantic platforming action at its finest. *Now available on Steam*










Teleglitch


Full Review here



Teleglitch is a brand new top down roguelike that blends action and horror to great effect. The first thing you will notice are the incredibly lo-fi graphics, grainy and distorted, they are small and extremely pixelated, but rather than detract from the game, it actually adds a grimy, sinister feel. Indeed the visual style brings to mind Id software's Doom and its follow up Quake; the abandoned military installation filled with demonic hordes is pure Doom, and the gritty colours, and eerie sounds instantly reminded me of the first Quake game. Add in the sci-fi horror storyline of System Shock, and the frantic, claustrophobic fire fights and switch pressing of Alien Breed and you are some way to describing Teleglitch. Teleglitch is made up of randomly generated levels, meaning the layout, as well as the enemy and item placement, is different each time. The whole game is set inside the military facility, which is split into 10 levels. If you die, it is game over and you must restart from the very beginning. The result of this is that Teleglitch is aimed at the hardcore crowd. It is a difficult game to begin with, but with only one life it can be brutal. Teleglitch is a very immersive and addictive experience, it confidently combines elements of action, survival horror, looting and weapon creation and fear to bring you a deep and enjoyable experience that will keep you hooked.





 



The Legend of Princess


From the creator of Noitu Love 1 and 2, comes a tribute to the wonderful Zelda series. This re-imagining of the classic Nintendo franchise takes the form of a high speed 2D platform hack and slash. You play an angry, purple haired, version of Link as he stomps his way through the colourful levels, chopping up enemies and collecting rupees. The soundtrack is wonderful, with the tracks verging on remixes of the original game soundtracks, and the sound effects will be instantly recognisable. Combat consists of fast combos, which can be continued in the air, and the extra boomerang weapon you have can also be thrown around to devastating effect. It is a short game, but it's very polished, exceptionally enjoyable and a brilliant and inventive take on the Zelda franchise.










The Nameless


A remake of the classic physics based planetary exploration game Exile, that was on both 8-bit and 16-bit systems. It is every bit as good as you remember. The atmosphere is great and you constantly feel alone and confused, but once the game clicks you will be totally absorbed in it's strange planetary world.








Thomas Was Alone



A unique and charming platform puzzle game. You control a small rectangle named Thomas, who meets other shapes along the way, making them selectable and essential in making your way to the end of the stage. It looks basic, but due to the wonderful vocal narration throughout the game it really comes to life and immerses you in its world.











Tobe's Vertical Adventure


Astounding playable 2D platformer which can be played both by single players, or with two people co-operatively. You start at the top of a stage and must work your way down, using a combination of running, jumping, wall jumping, sliding, and double jumps, to the treasure chest at the bottom. Along the way critters must be avoided, or bounced on to stun them briefly. Collectable mini-creatures lurk in hard to reach places, and smaller treasure chests hold stashes of coins. The graphics have a gorgeous SNES look to them, and the music is both cutesy and atmospheric, fitting the game perfectly. Once you reach the main treasure chest the level shakes, destroying certain platforms, and giving you a time limit within which to retreat back to the top of the stage. It is nail biting stuff as you perform tricky jumps to reach the exit, all the while trying to obtain the collectables that can now be reached due to the change in level structure. The worlds you enter are varied and interesting, but it is the highly polished and addictive gameplay that makes this game a winner. There are also other games in the series, including Tobe's Hookshot Escape, a browser game concentrating solely on climbing upwards against a time limit.










Treasure Adventure Game


A wonderful game, this 2d adventure game is a mini masterpiece. The beautiful pixel art, lovely music, and well designed world make this extremely enjoyable to play. It is a metroidvania style game with added mechanics like sailing and digging for treasure. It has elements of Fez, Cave Story, Zelda and more and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys 2d platformers, especially those with adventuring elements.












Trilby : The Art of Theft


An epic stealth platform game that was, for many years, my favourite PC indie game. Replaying it now it is not hard to see why. The DOS style visuals have bags of charm, and everything is well animated, and contain a high level of pixelated detail that make the game world a believable one. You play as gentlemen burglar Trilby who, armed with only his trusty umbrella, must commit various acts of theft. These range from robbing pieces of art from a museum, to stealing a necklace from a wealthy person's safe. Luckily Trilby knows what he is doing, and has various skills at his disposal. He can hug the wall which, in low light, keeps him out of the camera's gaze, and can also pop into doorways to hide. He can use his umbrella to pull himself up the floor above at the correct spots, and it also double as a taser for disabling guards. Trilby can also sabotage control panels, which disable the many laser traps you come across, and pick locks. Everything is done so well that you soon become totally immersed in the experience, and the fact that you are given a rating on each level only adds to the replayability. A fantastic game that everyone should play.










Typhoon 2001


This is the mighty Tempest 2000 from the Atari jaguar on the PC, it looks and sounds the very similiar, only this time with sharper graphics. This is a crazy hypnotic arcade blaster that will put your skills to the test. Fantastic!







VVVVVV



Simply fantastic, this hardcore platformer will have you tearing your hair out, but you will never feel cheated by the game. The mechanic here is that you don't jump, but instead you switch gravity so you alternate between the roof and floor. This makes for some fiendish platforming that will test even the most experienced gamer. The visuals and music hark back to the 8-bit (especially the c64) days and work wonders. A captivating title that everyone should buy.



 








You Have To Win The Game


22nd Jan 2013 - The developers have released a new patched version, as well as a mod that makes the game look like EGA DOS games. It looks amazing! Grab them here

Fantastic 8-bit computer style (BBC Micro) 2d platformer. A large adventure awaits as this game contains many many screens! You must find 100% of the treasures dotted around the landscape to finish the game properly. Along the way you will find orbs that grant you new powers such as double-jump and wall climbing. It's hard due to the fact there are some pixel perfect jumps required (a la Super Meat Boy), and it is hard to find some of the secret areas! It's great fun though, and the visual effect that makes it look like an ancient monitor is cool (and can be turned off if you don't like it).


 

New EGA colour scheme!