Archive for the ‘Game Recommendations’ Category

Argh! Defeated by the FTL boss again

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

(Click to enlarge)

I was sooooo close to beating the game on Normal. The boss ship had hardly any hull left on the 3rd fight but in the end it just pummeled me with lasers and missiles.

I had won the previous two boss fights pretty easily with my full power shield, epic evasion capability and serious firepower. Also all my key crew members were fully leveled up in their skills. However 4 of my crew got wiped out so I only had 3 people left to run around and put out fires and repair things, which meant my mega ship wasn’t fully operational.

I also had the following Augmentations:
– Long Range Scanners (helped me pick a decent path though the sectors)
– Automated Re-loader (made my weaponry even more deadly)
– Advanced FTL Navigation (I used this on the final level to get to a repair base before the 3rd fight)

Well my adrenaline was high on that last fight I can tell you. I really thought I was going to make it, but then it all fell apart. Gah! So disappointing.

Anyway, if it isn’t already clear, I 100% recommend this game. It’s brilliant but super-addictive so watch out!

My 2012 Indie Game Picks #IndieXmas

Monday, December 24th, 2012

I’ve played some great indie games this year and I’d like to share my recommendations with you. Other indies are also using the #indiexmas hashtag, so search for it on Twitter to find more recommendations. Alex Amsel started this initiative, read more on his blog post.

Note that these games may not have all been released in 2012, they are just the ones I played and found interesting in 2012. You can also read my 2011 Indie game picks here.

Also this year I’m only recommending PC games (although these games may be available on other platforms)

Anyway, here are my recommendations in no particular order:

Cardinal Quest

I’ve always been a fan of Roguelikes and this is a great little one with a nice retro feel. Looking forward to the sequel in 2013!


It might not look like it at first glance but this is a a deeply tactical RTS game! It’s fascinating and kept me hooked until I completed it. Very novel.


A great puzzle game that keeps introducing new things and really ramps up the difficulty towards the end. Super-addictive.

Hard Reset

It’s pretty unusual to see an indie FPS game and this one was brilliant! Fantastic futuristic graphics and great old-skool gameplay. Also they released a free 5 level DLC too – Amazing!


A pixel-art horror game with a great atmosphere in which you get to interpret the ending yourself. Very thought-provoking.


I love Gradius/R-Type style games and Hydorah is a fantastic homage to that genre. If you look sidescrolling shoot ’em ups, you must try this, especially as it’s FREE!

Legend of Grimrock

This is definitely a contender for my favourite indie game of the year. I loved Dungeon Master and EoTB back in the day and this game is such a good modernised equivalent. I really hope they come out with some DLC in 2013.

Hotline Miami

This game had a lot of hype, but it was well-deserved. A visceral experience in a stylised retro look (with great music!) Brutal and brutally hard, this is a real “twitch” game but with a surprising amount of tactics. You must check it out.

Lone Survivor

An extremely atmospheric pixel art survival horror game. I loved it and played it to the end. Please check it out if you haven’t already.

Maldita Castilla

I’m worried that this game won’t have made it into many best of 2012 lists because it came out so late in the year but it should do because it is a brilliant homage to Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins. A wonderfully crafted arcade-style retro platformer with tons of variation. A must-play! *and* it’s FREE, unbelievable!


Radiangames made some really great games on XBLIG that I have recommended before and this is a fantastic modernised shoot ’em up game. Don’t miss it if you like this sort of game.

Retro City Rampage

I’m sure you’ve heard of this epic homage to everything from the 8-bit era. My friend, Brian Provinciano, worked on this game for many many years and it shows in every detail! Available on nearly every platform, you’ve no excuse not to have a play 🙂

What are your indie picks of 2012? Let me know in the comments, thanks!

My 2011 Indie Game Picks

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

I’ve played quite a few indie games this year, although not nearly as many as I’d have liked to! This post is about my favourite ones that I’d like to recommend to you.

Not all of them were released in 2011, but I’ve included them because they were new to me. Also there may be some obvious “big name” indie games missing from this list, and that’s either because I didn’t get round to playing them yet, or I didn’t like them as much as these games.

So on with the list. I’ve split it into platforms (note that I didn’t play any Facebook games or Handheld (DS, PSP etc) games this year).

*** PC ***

To the Moon


Wow, what a game! This adventure game is more about the story than the basic game mechanics. The great pixel art and atmospheric music just add to the whole experience. This game made me cry more than once and that’s pretty impressive in my book.



This game is basically a giant montage of atmospheric photos that you navigate around to piece together the story of a women in coma. Sounds weird, and it is, but I liked it a lot.

Serious Sam: The Random Encounter


Made by well-known devs, Vlambeer, this game has some great Serious Sam humour in it, all the familiar monsters rendered in fantastic pixel art, and an interesting JRPG type of fighting mechanic crossed with an arcade shooter. Wasn’t very long but I loved every minute.

Infested Planet


This game is made by a friend of mine, but I’m not adding it to my list because I know him – I’m adding it because it’s really good! This fast-paced strategy game about destroying hordes of aliens is only out as a beta right now. I recently playtested it and really enjoyed it. The best thing is, it’s going to get even better based on the plans I’ve heard from the developer!



Yes I know this isn’t new but I only just got round to playing it. I loved the aesthetics and the old-skool gameplay and kept coming back to it despite the rock-hard difficulty.



Machinarium is an adventure game with a unique art style and is the latest game by the developer who made the Samorost Flash games (also excellent). I played it through to the end with my boys and we loved it! Some tricky puzzles but there’s a built-in hint system to help you out.



Magicka has a unique mechanic that lets you combine different elements to come up with awesome spells to defeat your enemies. But it’s not a turn-based game, it’s an arcade game set in great-looking environments, so you’ve got to think quickly to survive!



I’m a fan of twin-stick shooter games and this one by Charlie’s Games didn’t disappoint. Jam-packed with special effects, frantic gameplay and extremely varied levels, this game should not be missed if you are a fan of the genre.



I saw a video of this vertical shmup with lush pixel graphics and knew instantly that it was my type of game. I bought it and love it. Great old-skool shoot ’em up, very well made. Don’t miss it if you like this sort of game.



I love the look and feel of this game. It’s like a classic Commodore 64 game that never existed! VVVVVV is a futuristic platform game with an unusual jumping mechanic that leads to fiendish puzzles. Probably you’ve all heard of it already, but if you haven’t played it yet, do yourself a favour and download it now (or play it on Nintendo 3DS).



Yes I know we’ve all played it, and most of us really started playing it last year, and it’s already on every other top indie game list, but it’s that good that I had to mention it. I own three licenses so that I can play it multiplayer with my boys and they spend hours on it each week installing mods etc. Amazing game – a phenomenon in fact.

*** iPad ***



Think I heard about this game via Twitter. Anyway, I downloaded it one morning in bed and then just stayed there for several hours until I beat it. A really great old-skool shoot ’em up with a Space Invaders type feel (except more fun) and great pixel art. Highly recommended.

Sword and Sworcery


Kept hearing about this game and wasn’t disappointed when I bought it. Lovely graphics and interesting story – it’s a very enjoyable game. Only bummer was my son erased my game halfway through so he could play it! grr…

Helsing’s Fire


Perfectly suited to iPad, this puzzle game where you have to basically shine a light to kill as many monsters as possible is better than it sounds. Try it out.

Casey’s Contraptions

Casey  s Contraptions

This is a physics-based game where you set up elaborate, uh, contraptions to collect various stars dotted around the level, often with a ball. Great fun and well-suited to iPad, plus has a cool level editor.

*** XBLA ***



Pretty much everyone has played this on one platform or another. I played it on XBLA which is the platform it feels like the game was designed for. Lovely graphics, really cool voiceover and fun game mechanics. I enjoyed trying to beat all the weapon challenges although some of them drove me nuts.

*** XBLIG ***

Aban Hawkins & the 1000 spikes


This game is FLIPPING HARD! You start with 1000 lives and have to beat really hard old-skool pixel art levels. It’s like Rick Dangerous (from the Amiga) with the difficulty dial turned up to 11, but is super-satisfying when you beat a level after losing about 100 lives.

Kung Fu Fight


This little gem could have easily been missed. Only later on did I realise it’s basically Bit.Trip.Runner with a Kung Fu scenario. Anyway it was challenging, but not too challenging, and had a great retro feel. I loved it and played it in one sitting until I beat it.

Escape Goat


A unique platform puzzle game with an unusual protagonist (a goat). Made by the same dev who made Soulcaster I and II, I highly recommend you check this game out.

Soulcaster II


This actually came out in December 2010 I think but I had to mention it because it’s such a great game. It’s like a tower defense and Gauntlet mashup. Really great idea and well made.

Cursed Loot


This expertly crafted 8-bit style roguelike actually came out in 2010 and was called Epic Dungeon. For some reason the developer, Eyehook Games had to rebrand it, but they also upgraded it at the same time. My boys and I all spent many hours on this.

*** PSN ***

I just bought a PS3 and have been checking out the PSN games. There are some great ones on there but I haven’t played many yet. The following games aren’t new but as I said at the beginning they are new to me, and also epic, so check ’em out.



I keep tying to type “Shatner”. Oh well. Anyway, this breakout clone has fantastic “glowing line” type graphics and loads of new cool game mechanics. My wife wanted to watch Boston Legal and I delayed her by playing this for ages.

Super Stardust HD


I had the original game for my Amiga 1200 and it was epic. This one involves blowing up asteroids and aliens as you fly in 3D around a planet. Not sure if it’s indie; hope so though because it’s amazing!


Wow, what a fantastic year for indie games! We’ve all been spoiled and I’m looking forward to seeing some more awesome indie games in 2012.

Sorry to all the indies whose games I’ve missed out, hopefully I’ll get to some of them next year!

What games have I missed out that you’d like to recommend? Thanks.