Another week, another pack of games to look forward to. Things are only going to ramp up in the next couple of months, especially since Sony and Microsoft are set to release their next-gen consoles – the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X – so it’s a good idea to start planning ahead with your gaming schedule.
This week’s lineup features an excellent mix of indie games. Each title is from a different genre, has a different art style and is for a different kind of gamer. Of course, which of these fits you is entirely up to you. Plus, it could well be that you’re down for all of these, in which case, you’ve got a very busy week ahead of you. Let’s jump into the games, shall we?
First up, we’ve got a stunning pixel art game that has you trying to survive against an intergalactic threat called the Imperium. To do so, you’ll have to guide a cast of plucky underdog characters through battles against hideous hybrids and monstrous machines in turn-based battles.
What makes Star Renegades look so appealing, aside from the graphics, is the way it does turn-based combat; the game lets you see a timeline of when each character will attack. You can use this knowledge to use faster attacks to try and stagger your opponent and stop them attacking, or you can just make sure you’ve dealt enough damage to finish them off before they move. It’s a great system, and it’s one of many within the game that you can mess around with and master.
It’s also a roguelite, which means you can expect an absurd amount of replayability and some incredibly tough fights as well. It’s the kind of game that could easily overtake your spare time if you let it, and with strong gameplay, lovely graphics and some great sound design, it’d be hard not to let it do just that.
Star Renegades is now out for PC. The game will also launch later in 2020 for PS4, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch.
In what can only be described as the complete opposite of Star Renegades, Cloud Gardens lets you transform decayed urban landscapes into stunning natural habitats. It’s not the kind of game you’ll likely have played before, there’s no emphasis on story, on action or on character development.
Instead, what you get with Cloud Gardens is an excuse to simply unwind. There is a campaign to get through if you want a little bit of direction, but the sandbox mode is the one that fulfils the player and keeps them chilled. It’s not something a lot of games can manage, but the vibe of this game is such that you can easily imagine falling asleep while playing it and that being a good thing.
You just plant seeds around small dioramas and watch as nature takes its course. It’s all quite hands-off, and you can sit there and watch the scenery change while listening to an incredibly laidback soundtrack too. It’s just kind of great, and could well be the distraction you’ve been craving your entire life.
Cloud Gardens is available on early access for PC.
Hotshot Racing draws inspiration from retro arcade racing games that you’d be forgiven for assuming it was some kind of long-lost classic. What it actually is though, is an impressively well-made throwback to all the times checkpoints stole all of our pocket money.
The graphics in this game are somehow both retro enough to make a good case for being a Sega Saturn game, but also clean and polished enough to ensure you know it’s not one. The cars are all sharp lines and edges, but with curves in all the right places to help you get that need for speed out of your system.
Throw in some excellent gameplay and multiplayer options, and you’ve got a racing game made especially for fans who might feel a little lost with modern-day racers. If you long for a more arcadey experience, then Hotshot Racing may well be exactly what you’ve been waiting for.