Indie Spotlight: May 2020
It’s that time again. GameGrin’s monthly adventure into the crazy world of independent videogames. Alright, you’ve got me, it’s taken two months for this most recent edition - but that’s only so I could be more hands-on with what has been released over the past month. Enough of my excuses anyway, let’s move on to the games!
If you’re not immediately sold by the idea of an action-RPG in which a baby bull shark takes centre stage, let me indulge you a little further. The game focuses on a nasty fisherman known only as Scaly Pete, the killer of our protagonist's mother. As you journey to become a legend of the seas, our baby bull shark will grow in size to take down the great Cthulhu… I mean, Scaly Pete. The brainchild of Tripwire Interactive (Killing Floor series, Red Orchestra series), Maneater is a genuine contender for the most underrated indie game of the year. Unfortunately, there are no Sharknado’s.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows (Epic Store). Coming soon to Nintendo Switch
You should play if you like: Jaws Unleashed
Imagine if, once the Conservative Party has finished privatising the NHS, they started privatising the fire service. With the release of the game Embr, you are no longer required to use your imagination! Steal TV’s, smash toilets and (ideally) save some lives. With its well-polished gameplay and fun level destruction, Embr has become one of May's hottest indie hits. Don’t believe me? Just listen to how much Ace gushes about it on our podcast.
Platforms: Mac, Stadia and Windows
You should play if you like: Moving Out, Overcook
Spirit of the North
Another animal leads the way in Spirit of the North. A mellow adventure, focused on a fox who becomes entangled with the spirit of the Northern Lights. Despite some very ordinary gameplay, Spirit of the North shines in it’s calming presentation and story delivery. If you were a fan of games such as RIME or Journey, this will be another beautiful experience to add to the collection. It also comes with a phenomenal soundtrack, easily the best game on this list musically. I’m also inclined to point out that foxes do indeed bark. It’s not essential to the game, but there’s quite a few negative reviews that state foxes do not bark.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Windows (Steam)
You should play if you like: ABZU, Journey, Rime
Diving further into the somber mood comes the game Neversong (formerly Once Upon a Coma). After sleeping peacefully in a coma for an unspecified period of time, young Peet awakens to a nightmarish new world. Disturbing visuals and fantastic audio design come together to create a truly melancholic experience. With an interesting band of characters, at times it feels like you’re walking hand-in-hand with Peet as he makes his way to Blackfork Asylum.
Platforms: Linux, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows (Steam) and Xbox One
You should play if you like: LIMBO, Night in the Woods, Oxenfree
A change in pace from fires, deadly sharks and journeys of self reflection. Have you ever wanted 96 levels of relentless puzzle frustration? Yes? Fantastic news! This logic puzzle game has a great aesthetic and is frustrating in the best of ways. A good variety of challenges creates a game that you find yourself wanting to beat, rather than simply giving up after a few failed attempts. If you don’t stay for the challenge, you will most certainly stay for the art style. Formally a mobile game, Reky has finally mind its way to Steam.
Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch and Windows (Steam)
You should play if you like: Mini Metro, The Witness