Risk Of Rain 2 by Hopoo Games
The classic multiplayer roguelike, Risk of Rain, returns in the third dimension and more challenging action. No run will ever be the same with randomized stages, enemies, bosses, and items. Play solo, or team up with up to four friends to fight your way through hordes of monsters, unlock new loot, and find a way to escape the planet.
The original Risk of Rain is a 2D sidescroller built around steadily buffing the player and modifying their skills with so much gear that they transition from little pew-pew spaceperson to opaque bullet tornado over the course of a short 10-minute run. Risk of Rain 2 transfers the same iterative roguelike loop into the body of a third-person shooter and pulls it off with surprising finesse. It may be in Early Access, but it’s in pretty good shape already.
The goals are the same as in the first game: once you pop out of your little space pod, you’ll need to find the teleporter, activate it, and survive until it’s fully charged. Teleport out and move to the next level, repeat until death. All the while the difficulty steadily ticks up as tougher enemies pour in from the sky and crawl out of the dirt in greater numbers. Some rush you while others harass with projectiles from a distance. They never stop coming and they never get easier. A perfect shooting game to play with your friends.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC – Steam
The Textorcist by Morbidware
The Textorcist is one of the more creative genre mashups: part bullet hell, part typing game. You play a priest, Ray Bibbia, who fights demons by typing out phrases while dodging enemy attacks at the same time. I gotta say I do love a good typing game and it’s been a while since I last played one. Probably Epistory was my last typing game and if you haven’t tried that you should.
In order to defeat the forces of evil, you’ll need to learn how to type your exorcisms with your keyboard or with your joypad WHILE dodging tons of bullets. Not to mention dealing with puddles of barf, defusing bombs, singing at the mic of a metal show. From Goth maids to gun-crazed gangsters and the Pope himself, Ray will get his hands dirty by exploring a great variety of locations to solve a mystery that’s going to grow heavier as it takes shape. Who’s gonna turn out to be a friend and who’s gonna stab Ray behind his back? Hold your Bible tight, you’re going to need both hands for The Textorcist.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC- Steam, Mac, Linux
Void Bastards by Blue Manchu
Void Bastards is a first-person roguelike where you’re forced to explore dozens of randomly generated space stations to find a bunch of junk. You are a prisoner, travelling across the galaxy to please the whims of an HR computer that might eventually grant you your freedom. You get across space with an FTL-style map interface, and while most locations are enemy spaceships that you can board, loot and subsequently escape, there are also stores, asteroid ranges and deadly hazards to be aware of. Mostly, though, your time is spent navigating these ships in first-person, looking for specific items to progress, then escaping before you’re killed.
Void Bastards’ biggest asset is its randomness. Unlike the set-in-stone levels of BioShock’s underwater metropolis, Void Bastards’ boundless variety of miniature space stations have their own layouts and unique variables. These require some cleverness to overcome or use to their greatest advantage. There’s crafting, a bit of stealth needed and those cel-shading visuals are a lot of fun. It actually reminds me of Borderlands with its look and quasi offensive humour. It’s a good game that’s a lot of fun.
Platforms: Xbox One, PC – Steam, Mac
Whispers Of A Machine by Clifftop Games, Faravid Interactive
I’m a huge fan of point and click adventure games and Whispers of a Machine deserves some recognition for this amazing game that they put forth. Set as a Sci-Fi Nordic Noir you play Vera, a cybernetically augmented special agent tasked with investigating a string of murders. These brutal killings lead her to a group of fanatics committed to creating an AI superintelligence.
More than just pointing and clicking, Vera has some pretty neat gadgets at her disposal. From a bio scanner that you can drag around the screen looking for clues, to a biometric analyzer. There are slots for more abilities which you unlock as the story progresses and you make choices for Vera. Most choices will give you three different ways to say something which effect your Empathetic, Analytical or Assertive traits. Throughout the game, those values change and give you different options for abilities later.
The game has a compelling narrative with good pacing and enough twists as Vera slowly begins to doubt herself. Moreover, the story is brought to life with its superb voice acting, helping to immerse you deeper into the world. Whispers of a Machine is a really good science fiction tale that makes for an amazing game.
Platforms: PC – Steam, Mac, iOS, Android