Jason is your mild-mannered geek, who refuses to complete a game without seeing all the sidequests.
(All codes provided by Evolve PR)
Welcome to this week’s Indie Spotlight! Your regular teller of tales, Josh, was unavailable, so I
graciously took over volunteered to fill in and deliver to you a jam-packed Spotlight. Long live my reign…*ahem*
This week we’ll be doing things a bit differently and showcasing a handful of smaller and indie titles. They’ve all been available since last year, but with the Critic’s Choice Sale on PSN (it’s running till March 1st), this seemed like the perfect opportunity to highlight what might have flown under your radar.
Without further ado,
Ninjin: Clash of Carrots
Developed by the Sao Paulo based team, Pocket Trap (South America represent!)
Our first entry is a side-scrolling beat-’em-up, which tasks you (either a Rabbit or Fox) to retrieve the carrots that were stolen by the nefarious General Moe (a mole). Those looking for something fun and charming will find plenty to love in this game. Everything from the item descriptions, the chaotic battles to the humorous dialogue — you can tell the writing staff enjoyed this project. I often let out a sensible chuckle when I saw how much love and homage this game has; you really do get the impression that they couldn’t contain their excitement with each new addition. Kudos to the team for stuffing so many easter eggs into this. It’s taking all my willpower not to fill this article with all the puns I cam across.
The actual gameplay will be familiar to fans of the genre (think Double Dragon), so you’d be forgiven to think that this would be an easy breezy time. It was not. Around the 2nd world or so you’ll notice the game jumps significantly in difficulty and keeps spiking until the very end. Played on standard settings the mechanics felt unbalanced. Due to the difficulty, I opted to keep my HP, Stamina, and Magic attacks up; there was no reason to experiment with other power-ups or equipment since they put you at such a disadvantage.
(I mean, for real tho, no pint-sized mole in a hover vehicle should be *this* impossible to beat. I was stuck for months. MONTHS!!!)
And then the developers heard my prayers when they released an update that featured some power-ups that led me to beating the final two levels in one sitting. Was it kind of anti-climatic? Maybe, but I didn’t care. I FINALLY BEAT THE GAME YOU STUPID HOVERING MOLE JERK!
A fun, colorful game with couch co-op? What’s not to love?
Score: 3.5 out of 5 carrots, would have my Ninjin clash again.
*Author’s note: I originally played this game on the Switch, but I don’t reckon there’ll be any significant differences between the platforms.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
I really like this game, but then again I’m a sucker for tactical/strategy games.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world, you and your not-so-merry band of three must traverse through the remains of an ancient and often misunderstood older civilization to the proverbial Eden. What awaits you there? Salvation? Or is it as the elder says, Hell?
Those familiar with XCOM will feel right at home:
- Isometric perspective? Check.
- Stacked odds against you? Check.
- Surly anthropomorphic animals? Che…wait.
The game can be very challenging and on top of that, you can increase the difficulty to Hard or Very Hard. What’s that you say? Still not enough? Well, there’s an option to enable permadeath, you masochists.
You have a lot of options, be it by way of characters and their type-specific powers or your loadout. I mainly went about it from a distance, sticking to cover and then picking off enemies one by one. Of course, you can go guns blazing, but this is a tactics game. What’s wrong with you? The Rambo approach is also not advised because that would alert nearby enemies and believe you me, you do not want to be swarmed. Having that said, there’s no greater feeling than outsmarting your enemies and overcoming the insurmountable odds.
The only real gripes I have are:
- The UI and performance could be a bit better
- Team composition didn’t really seem to matter, so no real reason to experiment since weapons and gear aren’t tied to a character or class
- That fast-forward button is ironically not fast enough to skip the dialogue during battles. Just put me back into it, coach!
Score: 4 out of 5 merry mutants.
Override: Mech City Brawl
Like any kid in the 90’s who grew up on a steady diet of Power Rangers, I too dreamt of stepping into an oversized mech to combat baddies. And this game makes that a reality…for better and worse.
The concept is fine, particularly the 4 player co-op is novel — you each get to control a limb, which is sure to let hijinks ensue. The visuals are serviceable, though I wished it looked more detailed. But you’ll definitely get the vibe that you’re starring in your own mech vs kaiju action set pieces.
There’s a nice selection of Mechs to choose from, upgrades to unlock, a campaign to make your way through and the requisite versus mode. So quite a bit to see for those willing to invest.
I wasn’t entirely sold on the game, so think on it before taking the dive.
Score: 2 out of 5 rocket punches! Engage!
And that was it for this week! Josh will back to
usurp fill his regular role to dish on all manner of promising and worthwhile indies.
Till next time!