Be it albums or animals, humans can be anal when it comes to classifications. We think types are tremendous, species are spectacular, and we’re crazy about kingdoms. So when games come along that don’t fit neatly into our little boxes, those titles don’t get near the amount of recognition as their genre defining brethren. These are a few of the diverse titles that I really liked. Let’s make like a kleptomaniac at a pet store specializing in waterfowl and take a gander.
Out There: Omega Edition
Take the planet hopping, spaceship swapping, and resource gathering bits of No Man’s Sky. Replace the fancy pants first person perspective with a board game like interface. Toss in the difficulty curve of FTL, and you have Out There. You take command of an astronaut whose ship has been yanked across the galaxy and has to try and find his way back home. I’ve sunk a lot of time into this simple game, and can confirm that it’s designed to be replayed multiple times. The game world is randomized with each new playthrough and even after more than thirty failed attempts, I’m still seeing new ships, enemies, and alien allies. The real difficulty comes from the seat-of-your-pants resource management. Often I find myself jumping from solar systems with a near empty gas or oxygen tank; vainly hoping to stumble upon a planet with the resources I need to survive one more turn. Its harrowing, stressful, and extremely rewarding. Out There shows that you can always make a great game when you prioritize gameplay and world building over high end production values. You can pick up Out There on Steam, Android, or iOS right now.
A cursory glance at Punch Club would make you think it’s just some pc only release fighting game, but you’d be wrong. Punch Club is to fighting games what Sega’s Football Manager is to soccer games. You don’t ever directly participate in combat. Instead, you select from your fighter’s available skills at the start of each round. However, fighting is not the only activity in store for you in Punch Club. You will need to train daily, work to get money, ensure proper nutrition, and build relationships with other members of the community. Eventually, as you get more involved in the neighborhood, there will be an opportunity for you to don a mask and utilize your fighting skills to rid the streets of crime and corruption. There are an incredible amount of pop culture references sprinkled throughout this game, and anyone that grew up in the 80’s or 90’s will appreciate the different creative ways they are integrated into the experience. From Rocky to Karate Kid to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Punch Club is dripping with nostalgia. If you’re like me and daydream about spectating a Kumite, then Punch Club is the game for you.
Death Road To Canada
It’s a buddy comedy road trip through the apocalypse. Death Road To Canada is swimming in popular indie gaming buzzwords like “rogue-like” and “pixel graphics.” Don’t be dissuaded by these modern trappings though, because DRTC has more in common with Oregon Trail then Fez. Instead of grappling with dysentery you’re knee deep in the dead. In a move that’s soooo 2014, a super virus has killed off most of humanity and now zombies walk the earth. Rumor has it there’s safe haven in Canada, and it’s up to you to manage a group of delicious survivors through the undead buffet that is post apocalyptic America. Party members will change constantly as new challenges claim lives and new friends are are found amidst the remains of civilization. DRTC can be played solo or coop, with both local and online multiplayer options. It’s got great kitschy music that adds to the overall grindhouse feel. If I have to say anything negative about it, then I wish the controls felt a little tighter, but that’s probably just me nitpicking.
This 2-D gem could easily be called Aristocracy Simulator. You play as the King or Queen of a new nation starting off with nothing more than a horse, crown, and purse full of coin. The wild countryside must be shaped to your will if you want to have any hope of surviving. Kingdom’s controls are very simple, consisting of left and right directional movement, sprinting, and dropping money for the commoners. As a proper reagent, you will never have to sully your royal hands with the disgrace of menial labor. Instead, you gallop around dropping money on peasants to purchase their servitude. Spend wisely on equipment and fortifications to secure your realm from the nightly invasions of monstrous thieving hordes. If the attackers manage to snatch the crown off your head then it’s game over. Kingdom has a steep learning curve and will probably kick you in the teeth the first few times you play, but stick it out and you may eventually lead your nation to prosperity. Regardless, I know you’ll have a lot of fun along the way.
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