We’re starting the week off with a look at three recent ports of indie games, spanning three different genres. Splash Cars provides arcade-inspired racing/puzzle action, Dungeon Color is a pure puzzler and Demetrios – the BIG Cynical Adventure returns with a next gen version for the PlayStation 5.
Originally developed by Paper Bunker but recently ported over to consoles by Eastasiasoft, Splash Cars is an arcade game with puzzle elements masquerading as a car racing title. Trust us, it’s far less confusing than it sounds.
Set in small levels that you view from an isometric perspective, the objective is to color your surroundings with your car by driving through the environment. While doing so, you’ll collect power-ups, grab coins and try to steer clear of enemies, but one of the most important things is to always be on the look-out for your next can of fuel – you’ll quickly run out if you don’t, and the level will end. Be successful, and you’ll unlock new maps and cars, as well as a set of easily obtainable trophies.
It’s simple to learn and addictive to play in short burst, and even supports multiplayer gameplay – unlike Crayola Scoot, which the game reminded us of a little. As another title inspired by the likes of Splatoon, Splash Cars makes good use of a player’s desire to ‘paint the town’ and introduces a few fun mechanics to keep things interesting. Competing cleaning vehicles will try to undo your hard work, power-ups will make your job easier and coins can help avert disaster if you happen to run out of gas.
The simple nature of the gameplay is mimicked in its visuals, which are bright and sharp but wouldn’t feel out of place in the mobile domain – lacking the kind of detail found in games like Circuit Superstars. But while the isometric visuals are at least novel, the sound is about as generic as it gets. This is a game you’ll play for its arcade gameplay, and that part is simple but solid. There are a ton of unlockables to work towards as well, so it has that “one more round” quality to it. Certainly not groundbreaking, but simple fun at a budget price is often good enough for a few hours of entertainment.
Brazil-based developer and publisher QUByte has certainly been busy in the past few months, surprising us with new indie releases as well as ported versions of classic home computer titles like The Immortal and The Humans. They’re now launching puzzle game Dungeon Color on consoles, after it was first published on Steam by original developer Gagonfe back in October.
To puzzle game fans, Dungeon Color will certainly seem like a typical top-down puzzler where you have to find the exit in each of its 50 levels. But where many games of this type go the Sokoban-route, Dungeon Color revolves around a different mechanic: color-changing. Playing as a marshmallow/ghost-like protagonist who’s constantly on fire (which seems a bit cruel but he’s non-stop smiling about it), you can change the color of the flame on your head by touching light sources, which in turns opens up all the doors of that color in the level.
It’s a super simple concept, but as levels get larger and more complex, you really have to plot out your routes in order to not get stuck. New mechanics are also regularly introduced, like locked doors for which you need a key, teleporters and passages that can only be walked through in one direction. Nothing that puzzle fans haven’t seen before, but it comes together nicely in an easy to learn yet tough to master puzzle challenge.
That challenge really ramps up in the last dozen or so levels as well, so what starts out rather casually eventually grows into a serious mindbender. Its visuals are merely functional and rather generic, but Dungeon Color is the kind of game that grid-based puzzle fans can easily get into.
Demetrios the BIG Cynical Adventure REPLASTERED
We certainly didn’t see this one coming, but solo developer Fabrice Breton (also known as COWCAT) has updated his point and click adventure game Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure for the latest console generation with a new PlayStation 5 version dubbed the “replastered” edition of the game.
So what’s new? Well, in terms of content and gameplay, this is the same game we reviewed way back in 2016 when it hit the PlayStation Vita, so if you’ve read our original review you’re up to speed already. You still get a nice, lengthy point and click adventure where some of the story is laid out in a visual novel style – making it quite dialogue-heavy. It’s an entertaining story though, as protagonist Bjorn Thonen’s background as an antique dealer in Paris evokes memories of games like Broken Sword.
What’s new in the replastered version, however, are the improved visuals. Using the original assets, you can now play the entire game at a 4K resolution with enhanced detail and color levels – especially when compared to the Vita version. Add sharper fonts to the mix, and you’ve got the best way possible to play this game. Just don’t expect to suddenly play something “next gen” though, Demetrios retains its indie flair even with the 4K enhancements.