Bit.Trip Beat - $10
This game is like pong on ecstasy. Everything is bright colors, flashing lights, and phat beats, the latter of which are actually synchronized with the gameplay. Every “ball” you hit with your paddle makes a sound, and if you’re hitting most or all of them, it makes a song. There are huge bonuses for maintaining a combo; once you surpass a threshold you enter into Hyper+ mode, which is even brighter and flashier. You have plenty of chances to come back if you miss, though, and eventually you’ll enter a retro black and white mode where you have an opportunity to keep the game going if you can hold a streak. It’s not a massive time sink unless you’re way into competing for high scores, but it makes a good diversion on occasion.
Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West - $10
Here’s a multiplayer shooter that has become a regular in rotation for our FiringSquad community multiplayer matches, and with good reason. It’s a third-person affair with four different character classes, each with their own weapon type and special abilities. The core gunplay is fast and satisfying, and the synergy bonuses reward those players that stick together and fight as a team. Forming such a habit is a must if you venture past team deathmatch and try out some of the many objective-based modes, such as capture the gold, conquest, and powder keg assault. You’ll love this game if you’re a fan of frantic team-based action, or even western themes in general.
AaAaAA!!! - A Reckless Disregard for Gravity - $10
Aside from having a funny name (which is actually abbreviated from AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!!
), this game is intriguing because it’s the closest many of us will ever get to base-jumping or sky-diving. Your primary objective is simple -- fall to the ground, avoid obstacles, and land without crushing all of the bones in your body -- however the lure of high scores and star ratings make things a bit more complicated. Eventually, you’ll be “kissing” and “hugging” everything in your path, tagging objects with spray paint, gesturing toward your fans and detesters, crashing through panes of glass, and landing directly in the middle of the target zone, all in the name of racking up points. Careening through the air in first-person is a unique adrenaline rush, and one that will last a good while with the amount of content they have here.
Toki Tori - $5
Don’t judge this one by its bright colors and family-friendly premise of helping to guide the rotund chicken in collecting all the eggs in each level; it’s actually a pretty good 2D puzzle game. The challenge lies in efficiently using your limited stock of items to help you traverse platforms. You can’t jump, so you must use bridges to cross gaps, a freeze ray to neutralize enemies, and a teleportation device to pass through walls. There’s usually only one way to solve a puzzle though, which can be frustrating, but eventually that “Eureka!” moment comes along and makes you feel a lot better. If you enjoy puzzle games, don’t let the cutesy visuals put you off.
Swords and Soldiers HD - $10
This game is part of a unique sub-section of the real-time strategy genre, where all the action happens on a side-scrolling 2D plane. You start out at one end of the level, with your enemy at the other, and the usual objective has you eliminating all of their units and/or buildings. You collect resources and spend them on units such as melee fighters or archers, then watch as they automatically make their way down the line (which rarely forks into multiple paths), attacking any enemies they encounter. Aside from working as quickly as you can to simply overwhelm the opposition, there is some strategy involved with the offensive/defensive magical abilities you can wield from your position as the omniscient commander, such as healing and lightning spells. Clean, artful graphics and the humorous writing make this one as fun to behold as it is to play.