7 Indie Games to Watch For from the Spring Festival 2020

Thanks to Geoff Keighley and Steam, everyone was able to play upwards of 40 indie games that were going to be featured at various canceled conventions this year. I went through the list, chose the ones that I was most interested in, and decided to play them and make a video. Here are my thoughts on the 7 I tried.
Please make sure to wishlist any of these games that interest you it will help the devs out considerably.
Also this is my first time ever doing a “list” type video really, with editing, and scripting! Please let me know how you all feel about this style of video, and if I should consider doing similar things in the future. Personally I think this came out alright, although I am clearly looking at my notes during the intro and outro bits (and would preferably avoid having my face on camera in the future lol)

TN’s Indie Impressions – Bookbound Brigade

Another metroidvania?  Yes.  Another one.  But this time taking place in a world of books, of literary characters, or magical mayhem and silly writing!  Bookbound Brigade follows the adventures of a team of heroes from classic stories searching for the all might B.O.B.  No, really.  But is this title worth the paper its printed on?
Watch and find out!
And always remember…STAY NERDY!
This Indie Impressions video is also now available in Podcast / Audio form! See the links below to listen and subscribe!

TN’s Indie Impressions (EA) – Don’t Die Minerva!

My first ever Early Access Indie Impressions is on a Twin Stick Roguelike called Don’t Die Minerva! Developed by Xaviant, the same folks who were behind the Culling, this clearly Binding of Issac inspired game does quite a few things right already. But is it worth playing?
Lets take a look at Minerva and her magical halloween journey. Hopefully we don’t die.
As a note, this is an Early Access impressions video. If in the future I do a video on the full release I will remove this video from Youtube.
And always remember…STAY NERDY!

TN’s Indie Impressions – Darksiders: Genesis

Darksiders is a series that I personally enjoy very much, my personal favorite being Darksiders 2 with Death. When an Isometric diabloesque game was announced, I was very interested. Does Darksiders Genesis live up to my expectations? Well, its not a Diablo Clone thats for sure…

Yes I am aware at points I am hard to hear but I dont really care enough about the game to go about fixing the video honestly!

Darksiders Genesis on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/710920/Darksiders_Genesis/

And always remember…STAY NERDY!

TN’s Indie Impressions – Valdis Story: Abyssal City

Ever wanted to be a JRPG hero in a world of Angels, Demons, and Underwater Secrets? How bout a dude wielding a big fuck you sword? No I am not referring to Final Fantasy Seven but rather the clearly Symphony of the Night inspired Metroidvania Valid Story: Abyssal City.

The title is way too long if you ask me.

Valdis Story Abyssal City on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/252030/Valdis_Story_Abyssal_City/

TN’s Indie Impressions – Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan

I am frequently tired of “save the world” plots in games. Don’t get me wrong, its nice to be the hero in fantasy, but sometimes you want a more personal story. A story about people, trying to learn about themselves and grow. Sure, you might save some people along the way, solve some issues, retake a throne or two, but at the end of the day, its about the journey, not the destination.

Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is such a game. A story of a king and queen, removed and exiled from their kingdom on their wedding day, and the journey they take to both learn about themselves and each other, and to retake their rightful throne.

Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/368080/Aurion_Legacy_of_the_KoriOdan/

And always remember…STAY NERDY!

TN’s Indie Impressions – Omensight

The end of the world is coming. The great void wurm, Voden, has been unleashed. The Godless Priestess has been murdered in cold blood and her existence was all that stopped Voden from coming.
You are the Harbinger. Your coming signals the worlds end. But your job? Preventing it. Can you solve the mystery surrounding the murder of the Godless Priestess and prevent Vodens coming? Are you a bad enough lady to save Vera’s soul?
This is Omensight, by Spearhead Games, and its fantastic.

TN’s Indie Impressions – Daemon X Machina

Heavy Metal Action. Thats what Daemon X Machina is all about. Being a big stompy robot, shooting other big stompy robots, and doing it to some killer metal music. Best played in short bursts if you ask me, but the real question is this: Are you a metal enough person to save the Earth from an invasion from the Immortals?!

Daemon X Machina on Switch: https://daemonxmachina.nintendo.com

And always remember…STAY NERDY!

Death’s Gambit: A Review (Guest Review by Virus the Mad Bard)

This review was written by my friend Virus, you can find him on twitter by clicking here.  Enjoy the review and remember to Stay Nerdy!

Death’s Gambit is a game that’s been on my radar for quite some time. As someone who loves dark souls and 2d action platformers, I had a lot of hope for the game, and after finally getting around to playing it I figured I’d share my thoughts to try to help anyone else who might be on the fence about picking it up. 

Story

Death’s Gambit has you taking on the role of Sorun, the lone survivor from a decimated regiment of troops who ends up making a pact with death to make himself immortal in exchange for an initially undefined task. The rest of the story is mostly told through interactions with the random NPCs found around your main hub section, lore books found in locations that give you an edge against that areas boss, and some mostly brief cut scenes. Despite the plot not showing its face a fair amount of the time I did still enjoy finding out more and more about the world and lore throughout my time with the game.

Gameplay

The inspirations from dark souls are wildly apparent from about the moment you hit start and end up at the character select screen, featuring a very similar layout and equipment styling to the dark souls character creation with a few notable changes. First, there did not appear to be appearance customization, and second, your class choice affects more than your stats. Each class not only starts with different stats and equipment than each other, but also has their own special abilities and skill trees that can help in a variety of ways, from the blood knight healing from attacking enemies immediately after taking damage, to the sentinel having reduced stat requirements for all equipment. Each time you manage to defeat a boss you’ll find yourself gaining another skill point to gain some more abilities to hopefully help you survive the rest of the trek through the hostile environment.

The combat system offers a variety of weapons and tools to the player to allow them a multitude of builds  and ways to approach encounters. Also much like dark souls the game relies heavily on players getting used to enemy patterns and reading their telegraphed attacks to be able to handle them without taking too much damage. The game also has multiple areas that have chests that reward a player for making it through without healing from your last save statue, providing an incentive for the player to improve. A few of my minor complaints are that the game had a few moments where it was not particularly clear where to go, in combination with a few areas making it fairly difficult to tell where certain traps triggers were even after going through them a few times.

Additionally the game offers extra challenges in each playthrough with the options of heroic battles, super powered versions of bosses you have defeated that award special drops upon defeating them, as well as a mortal mode that requires you to go through the game without dying and rewards you with a special ending once certain criteria are met. There are also multiple levels of new game+ to continually increase the challenges you want to face on multiple playthroughs.

Audio

The voice acting and sound design overall were fairly well done, there wasn’t ever a time where anything felt particularly out of place although nothing particularly stood out to me at any given time either, with the exception of a few vocal effects on death and a few other characters adding some neat flavor for the ears.

Overall

I really enjoyed my time with Death’s Gambit, I came looking for a 2d dark souls and it gave me exactly what I was expecting, a decent challenge with good lore and a variety of ways to approach any given situation. So if you’re looking for a challenging 2d Acton Platformer, or just really enjoy souls-like games and want a bit more to enjoy, then i would definitely recommend picking this one up. If you have any other questions that you don’t feel I hit on in this review feel free to hit me up on Twitter @VirusTheBard and I’d be more than happy to try to answer them. Thanks so much for reading, and until next time, keep gaming!

Legacy of Kain Soul Reaver: A Guest Review by Walking Virus Gaming

This is a guest post and review written by a friend of mine who goes by the name Walking Virus.  He runs the Youtube channel Walking Virus Gaming where he streams 3-4 times a week, with a mix of Retro gaming and new titles.  Feel free to check him out on Twitter as well!

Recently I found myself thinking more and more about the Legacy of Kain series, I always remembered the games fondly and thought it was a great series, but when I got to thinking about it more I could barely remember anything about the actual events of the story other than 1 or 2 key moments, or anything of the actual gameplay. This started me asking the question, “Was it really as good as I remember it being?” Which led to me playing through the original Soul Reaver again, and I just thought I’d share my feelings about my experiences after playing it so many years later to see what I feel holds up and if I would still recommend anyone who hasn’t played it yet to go out and find a way to do so.

Basic Plot Synopsis

(Raziel coming to grips with his servitude to an Elder God)

Soul Reaver follows the journey of the fallen vampire Raziel. After being thrown into the swirling vortex for daring to evolve wings before his master, Kain, Raziel finds himself in the service of an elder god as a means to stop the Vampiric menace that has stopped the cycle of life force into the well of souls. But Raziel cares not for the fate of the world but begrudgingly agrees to begins his quest through the land of Nosgoth, not to save the well of souls, but to get his revenge on Kain. To do so Raziel needs to use both his physical body and his ability to enter the spiritual realm to traverse the land and slay his Brothers to gain their abilities.

What’s Held Up?

(Raziel acquiring the titular weapon, Soul Reaver)

When I initially dove back into this game I set aside my nostalgia glasses and was expecting that the vast majority of the game’s features would be dated beyond belief, but a few managed to surprise me. For one thing the Voice Acting has held up surprisingly well. The delivery and effect work is far above other games of that time, almost up to about early-mid PS3 standards, particularly in regards to Kain’s lines. I also found myself to still be a fan of the way they dealt with exposition in this particular game, having Raziel narrate information that would be differing from his previous mindset and knowledge, felt more smooth in the delivery as opposed to some games tendencies to just deliver large chunks of exposition through other characters, and while there still is a bit of that in the game they tend to keep it in smaller chunks and use it sparingly. And while the graphics have obviously become dated at this point, the actual art style itself has held up and aided significantly in the immersion in the world. Which brings me to the plot itself, all of the previous elements are all well and fine on their own, but the plot itself was very engaging to me and helped bring those elements together to form a better cohesive whole, which makes it even worse that the things that don’t hold up start breaking down the atmosphere this game worked so hard to create.

What’s Become Dated?

(Raziel’s progress keeps getting blocked…)

There are so many unfortunate things that kept this game from being the well crafted storyline it was shaping up to be, and one of those things is most definitely the “puzzles”. Almost every single one either involves going to the spirit realm, which was an interesting set of puzzles the first couple times, or a sliding block puzzle, or in some cases both. Now neither of these puzzle types are inherently bad when used sparingly, but when they make up the vast majority of your game it becomes more of a chore than an engaging experience. And speaking of chores, the game had a lot of neat ideas for combat that also tossed any sense of fun out the window with extremely dated, simplistic, and yet somehow still clunky controls.

(Raziel getting to the point of the matter)

Soul Reaver also suffers from a problem a lot of the 3rd person platformers of the time did, having the camera be more of a hindrance than an actual help. Often times the camera will need to be manipulated in such a way to reveal the path to the next area, or just to reveal a portion of the puzzle you are currently trying to complete, as well as fighting it to be able to platform with any sort of precision, it can become a massive source of frustration when the camera suddenly decides to jerk to the side as you attempt to land on a tiny platform. The remainder of the puzzles involve an upgrade acquired later in the game that just results in more busy work by running around an object repeatedly to get it to turn, again, not very engaging and kind of brings down the pacing and world building that the rest of the game had built up. But the big question is, does this make the game worth someone’s time if they haven’t played it yet?

Final Thoughts

(Raziel catching up with one of his brothers)

Soul Reaver is kind of a mixed bag for me, I did thoroughly enjoy the world building and storytelling themes they used for the game, as well as the performances delivered from the vast majority of the characters, but the extremely dated puzzles and mechanics just made the game so much more of a slog than it really needed to be. I would say that the story itself was worth the playthrough again for me personally, so it really comes down to how much of a slog you are willing to put up with. If you’re willing to put up with the painfully slow combat and puzzles, than the story is well worth the playthrough (just be prepared to play through the second game as well because it kind of ends on a bit of a cliffhanger.) If those things drive you away from a game, I really can’t blame you for not wanting to sit through it, but regardless, we can all hope they do something with this somewhat forgotten franchise, whether it be a reboot with better mechanics, or just an entirely new game, I personally hope to see something else come out of the world of Nosgoth, and bring a bit of Gothic glory back into the gaming spotlight.