Little Indie Games Worth Knowing About (Probably)

PUNKCAKE Delicieux’s latest little game is a dungeon manager that looks a lot like Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! What Did I Do to Deserve This? on the PSP.

Ah, they’re actually in the process of porting all their previous games over to Steam from itch (and if you own them there already you’ll get free keys). I hope it makes them plenty of extra money because they deserve it! There’s a bunch I’ve not played yet, including Wratch’s Den, and I’m looking forward to some of these being more accessible on Deck too.

The description of Islands of the Caliph calls out Might & Magic as an inspiration, but since it’s real-time I feel like Dungeon Master might be the closer comparison? Intriguing anyway, especially if the Middle Eastern setting is not all bad Arabian Nights stereotyping!

If I leave my grin behind, remind me
that we’re all mad here
and it’s okay.

From the renowned developers of Ace of Seafood and NEO AQUARIUM - The King of Crustaceans - comes another another shellshocking game that will flip you over and leave you struggling on your back!


(And yes, this is even sillier than it looks like, if Fight Crab 1 is any indication. Goat Simulator meets Dark Souls PVP meets those funky mushrooms you’re not supposed to eat.)

Also has a trailer with big EDF energy. Or maybe it’s just the giant bugs.

OOoh I noticed the Fight Crab 2 has a potentially huge change - looks like you are now controlling a human (in full plate armour? mechsuit?) that is controlling the (giant) crabs by of course riding on the back of the shell!

I’ve put 17 hours into this Early Access Autobattler over the last week.

Splattercat likes it, but he’s biased about dwarves.

I’m not very good at these types of games, but I enjoy just watching the dwarves smash against the orcs. If you want more than that, you have a multitude of weapons, armor, items, classes, multiclassing and choosing the right enemy to fight at the right time.
Seems like the biggest gripe, that I kind of agree with is a slow metaprogression, but it would be faster if I wasn’t so bad at the game. I do like the concept of weight and strength struggling to hold or break the front line. Before too long, you’ll be outnumbered by your foes, and it will be up to your heavy warriors to hold the line against the horde. Even they can be pushed back though by the mass of the green horde, opening your healers and mages to melee attack on top of the barrage of arrow fire and magic. That is, until the warhammer dwarves’ mana reach a level where they’re able to explosively throw back a half dozen or more enemies with a special attack. The newly disorganized opponents now are wide open for your speeding assassins to fly forward to unleash critical strikes and poison upon all before them.
Unfortunately, most of the gameplay videos are of the early game, so you really don’t see how the real strategy kicks in for later battles. Formations are very powerful, but dependent on having the right combo of dwarves to start using.
Getting that formation is complicated by the random weapon drops or those you find for sale. The class of the dwarf is dependent upon his weapon type. Give a dwarf a dagger and he’s an assassin, capable of dual wielding, a higher crit chance and increasing the chance of loot drops. He’ll gain a point of dexterity at every level. Give a dwarf a healing staff and he becomes a priest, able to heal his fellow dwarves and gaining a point of wisdom at every level. All dwarves accrue mana (except one-hand weaponed/shield carrying knights), so you may want to take a now wise priest, give him a warblade, and have a warrior that quickly gains mana kicking off the warblade special attack which is several seconds of being able to Parry and reflect the foes attack back upon it. They are also the heaviest weapon (at least that I’ve come across), so they can hold that front line, parry a barrage of enemy attacks deal out decent damage in turn based on their strength. Strength can be elevated by making them a knight, who gain one point of strength every level.

Seems it’s one a week at the moment and this week it’s Rush for the Ages:

I haven’t played that one yet. However, I did fit some Antecrypt in on my Deck and…

…bloody hell. On first blush it looks like another Robotron type retro arcade game, and it’s not far off, but it’s also got a very clever and unique aiming/reloading system that totally transforms how you play as well as an upgrade system that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. I fired it up and… couldn’t stop. It’s fantastic, once you wrap your head around the mechanics that is.

Their next port will be Damocles Gaze, which, as a fan of Nuclear Throne I’m looking forward to:

I hear very good things about about The Turgenev Study. No idea when this is coming though:

I love Punkcake.

Rush for the Ages is the one I’ve played the most, by far. It’s both light but clever as a card game. I wouldn’t call it super-balanced exactly. But it has been my fall-back to play while half-watching a YouTube video. There’s a kind of built-in achievement system (unlocking the bonus card for every civ) and an extended gauntlet mode, so for a small game it has some nice long-term play features.

Here’s a trailer for Thank Goodness You’re Here, which I’m quite taken with. I’m not sure I’ve seen a comedy platformer so… northern. (England’s north, specifically.) Some excellent art direction, but I’ve no idea how it will actually play…

Due 2024.

The studio’s name is Coal Supper. I assume that’s also very northern England-y. And it’s published by Panic (highly selective publisher of Goose Game and Firewatch).


I don’t disagree!


Oh wow, that looks like the closest a game has ever been to… well, my corner of the world! I was grinning throughout. Thanks for linking to it!

I wrapped up En Garde!'s campaign on hard the other night and it was terrific, and very hard. I died a lot on the final episode. Don’t be fooled by its whimsical personality; it can put up a fight!

I’m now chipping away at the Arena Mode which feels like the best bits of the game all jumbled up, with the added stakes of just having a single life to beat a number of arenas depending on the difficulty. There’s Cadet (3 arenas), Master (4), Hero (5) and Legend… which I’ve not reached yet. What’s cool is you choose a positive modifier after you beat each arena and the enemies get one too. There’s also a boss at the end of each set. The real treat, of course, is the combat though which, at its best, is magnificent:

‘What a woman…’

Edit: Streamable is great but it doesn’t link nicely on the forum! :(

Looks really fun, and I laughed at the ‘olé!’. The embed seems to work ok.

Ah, looks like it’s Privacy Badger blocking it.

Same here! (Lived in & around Manchester all my life.) I’m intrigued to see if the game will live up to the trailer, but the charm will take it a long way. And Lily The Pink is not a song I’ve heard in decades, but fits this perfectly.

I always find it interesting when games have a strong sense of place - specificity is the soul of narrative, and all that. (Norco gave me those kind of vibes recently.) Show me your architecture, your customs, language, media, culture, don’t feel the need to explain them - I’ll be a lot more invested in your story!

I don’t think I’ve played any of their games before, but coincidentally, they released a Switch port of Shotgun King this week that I picked up and it is great!

En Garde! is wonderful, but I have to admit to being a little disappointed. I think it’s tuned too hard. I’m playing on normal mode and dying and replaying the larger encounters A LOT. I have no problem with a game being hard, but I think it’s the wrong choice for THIS game, personally. This should be a playground of zany ways to own the shit out of a bunch of mooks. The feeling of satisfaction should come from the fireworks inherent in all the physical interactions, not from me finally managing to squeak out a victory after twenty tries because I hit all my dodges on time and managed the crowd of enemies skillfully. The combat systems are clever. The interactions are still spectacular. But the blend is a little off, I think.

Another day, another roguelite. This time with a little twist (unsure if lemon is involved).

You’re running a restaurant. Your ingredients include things like giant chickens, artillery shrimps, fire-breathing peppers, and other recalcitrant soon-to-be foodstuffs. And you’re armed with kitchen utensils.

Originally planned for Q3, but it seems delayed a bit. That said, I absolutely look forward to trouncing uppity ingredients in honourable combat before serving them up. The game looks adorable and silly.