Indie Spotlight: August 2021
The GameGrin Indie Spotlight aims to give attention to videogames that the independent scene has offered us over the past month. Whether it be due to quality, success or creativeness, these are the independent games that stood out to us over the month of August.
I’m sure we’ve all missed our hitchhiking road trips across the USA over the past 18 months. After some high praise from various outlets, Road 96 and its procedurally generated road to freedom has been a surprise hit for August. Meet new characters as you create your unique story in Road 96. There are certainly worse ways to spend the summer of 1996.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Windows
Play if you enjoy: Jalopy, most A-roads in the United Kingdom
With a perfect blend of skill and destruction relief, Tinytopia is a little bit more fun than expected. Using building blocks to create in this physics based world, Tinytopia is the sandbox version of Jenga you never knew you wanted. Challenging to master, there’s a reward for getting your builds right, before creating a nice little utopia, a Tinytopia if you will. If all that fails though? You can enjoy the physics of smashing everything to pieces.
Platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows
Play if you enjoy: Tricky Towers, Jenga, creating things
Todee and Topdee
As a sucker for good platforming games, Toodee and Topdee caught my eye with a clever mix of, you guessed it, 2D and top-down gameplay. Switch between the two titular characters to put their unique perspectives to use. Part-platformer, part-puzzler, Toodee and Topdee is stuffed full of secrets for you to crack and jump through. Don’t want to play it alone? Have a friend pull up a chair before taking control of a character each. A cooperative mode allows the puzzlers and platforming players to come together to conquer the world of Toodee and Topdee.
Sometimes I put games in this list because I really like them. This is one of those occasions. Inspired by Slavic myths, Black Book is deckbuilding-RPG, with gameplay similar to Slay the Spire. With gorgeous art, accompanied by a stellar atmosphere, Black Book is enshrined in mystique. Players plough out to unravel the game's narrative, which is strengthened by deep lore. Black Book does a lot right, and you’ll be having fun leading your own demon flock in no time.
Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
Play if you enjoy: Slay the Spire
Here Comes Nikko!
If you’re looking for employment, maybe Tadpole Inc. is the place for you to be. Work for a frog in the 3D platformer, Here Comes Niko! Promising to be a laid back adventure for lazy people, Niko will travel across six different islands to meet friends and catch bugs. With its cute art and in-game Tamagotchi, Here Comes Niko! was an irresistible gem from this August.
Our final game for August is in fact the final game to release in August. KeyWe arrived on the last day of the month, arguably the perfect delivery time for the two kiwi postal pals. Originally catching our eyes at gamescom 2020, KeyWe is a charming cooperative game about getting the post out on time. Each player flaps around as a kiwi, ensuring everything is packaged safely before delivery. Most importantly, you can customise your kiwis, although if British postmen have taught me anything, they should only be wearing shorts all year round.