If you watch the press conferences and video reels from the big publishers, you’d almost forget that there is a ton of stuff coming out right now and we don’t actually have to wait for Q4 to roll around. Here are four more indie projects worth highlighting, this time looking at CrossCode, Fall Guys, Mushroom Heroes and Post Void.
This one’s actually been out for a while now, with a PC release going all the way back to 2018 and the recent console versions that came out last month. Radical Fish Games’ ambitious project is now available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, the latter being the platform we tried out.
What initially looks like a fairly generic retro-inspired fantasy RPG quickly turns out to be something quite different from the SNES-era versions of Final Fantasy that we so fondly remember. CrossCode is faster paced, features plenty of puzzles and doesn’t lean on fantasy tropes. Instead, it builds its own sci-fi universe that revolves around players engaging with MMO games through physical avatars, with narrative that’s split between the real world and the MMO world.
Your real world character Lea has lost her memory, and while engaging with others she slowly but steadily builds up her memories again over the course of a lengthy adventure. When it comes to content, CrossCode certainly delivers – tons of well-developed characters to run into, a boatload of quests to take on and a central narrative that could take more casual gamers weeks to complete.
The attractive pixel art style resembles turn-based RPGs, but the action in CrossCode is actually fast-faced and a skill tree makes sure it doesn’t grow stale. With its long narrative campaign it does feel like there is perhaps a bit too much padding in terms of the pace of the narrative, but I couldn’t stop delving into yet another dungeon and tackling just one more quest, so that’s bound to be a good sign. One of the top indie releases of recent years and clearly a labor of love, this is one we’re glad came to consoles.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
It’s quite possibly one of the most fun MMOs out there, but that’s because this one doesn’t come in the shape of an RPG but rather a party game. Developed by Mediatonic and published by Devolver, it’s out now for Steam as well as PlayStation 4 – the game being free to play for those with a PlayStation Plus subscription.
Taking the premise of a wacky gameshow, Fall Guys essentially casts you as part of an episode which contains a handful of rounds with contestants being eliminated after each round. If you’re unlucky things can be over after a single round, but make it to the last ten players or so and you’re in the final challenge mode.
With 60 players starting each game show, things quickly get hectic and we were curious to see how the fun trailers would translate to a game experience. Luckily, it hits more than it misses, though it’s not all gold. There are a number of event types that are randomly selected for each round, but an episode typically starts with an elimination race – first x contestants across the finish line make it to round two.
A mix of skill, knowledge of the course, timing and luck, most of these races are a lot of fun – though the “fake doors” one might have looked great in the trailer but always ends up feeling not too exciting, with few ways for people to fail and things always turning into a messy crowd. Beyond racing, there are also game modes that require you to do things like memorize tiles, keep balls in your part of the arena or knock balls into a goal – for those last two examples you’re divided up into teams, which is another dynamic that makes Fall Guys fun to play. The controls are simple and intuitive as well, and stay the same for all event types, making it easy to be competitive even if you’ve never played a particular event.
Right now, just after launch, the biggest issue for Fall Guys (on PC) is that we had a few cases where we would get disconnected from the servers, despite a steady internet connection. The team’s aware of this though, and working on a solution. We certainly look forward to those issues being fixed and trying to get that coveted first place some day though.
Previously released for mobile platforms and the Nintendo Switch, Mushroom Heroes by Dolores Entertainment is now available on the PlayStation Vita as well. It’s a nice little casual puzzle platformer that harkens back to the likes of The Lost Vikings, with retro-inspired graphics to boot.
As you might expect, the protagonists of the game (which features a narrative about an evil poisonous mushroom that can be forgotten about once you start the game) are all mushrooms. A trio of them set out on a quest to save the kingdom, and each one brings a unique skill. The appropriately names Jumpi can jump a little higher than the rest and use his hat to float down, while Yuppi has a bow that he can use to shoot targets, break obstacles or unlock valuables. Lastly, Dombi is the muscle of the group, and can block incoming projectiles using his shield and push and pull small objects.
Using and combining these skills is the key to getting past the game’s 38 levels, which gradually get more difficult but rarely to the point of frustration. In many cases, completing the level and moving on is quite doable, with extra challenge coming from the option to go back and try to get all the coins hidden within.
As the Vita is increasingly turning into a platform for ported titles, this is a nice example of a game with mobile origins that works well with handheld controls in crafting a nice Lost Viking-like experience for the 2020 generation.
A surprise release this week (with an August 6 release date), Post Void is a Steam-exclusive first person shooter from YCJY Games and can be picked up for less than 2 Euros/Dollars at launch!
With fast, frenetic action inside levels that look like a 90s First Person Shooter on acid, Post Void is made for short bursts of gameplay where you blaze through its procedurally generated stages shooting everything that moves.
You do have the ability to pick up and upgrade weapons, but other than that Post Void strips much of the traditional first person shooter experience down to the core of quick reflexes, staying on the move and mindlessly pumping an infinite amount of ammo into every enemy you see. For those with an affinity for FPS looking for a quick diversion, this certainly is worth spending 2 Euros/Dollars on.