Originally posted Dec 12 2019, reformated and updated Aug 10 2020.
Sometimes you just want to jump right into a game without needing to read a manual or look up a strategy guide, today we take a look at 10 games you can pick up and play.
1) Infested Planet.
Infested Planet is a top-down, objective-based single player horde mode shooter with light squad control elements, where what a mouthful.
The graphics are simplistic and very much an indie affair; however, the snappy gameplay mechanics and positional strategy make up for the lack of graphical polish.
The controls and mechanics are incredibly easy to pick up, and overall its the type of game you can jump right into enjoying, without needing to read an entire wiki even to figure out how to get started.
For those who like a little more depth the tower defence and research elements add an extra layer of strategy as you create choke points, dead zones, upgrade your units and defences, and collect powerups, all to aid your stubborn marines, who despite looking like, acting like and being an almost clone of Spartans from Halo, is not copyright infringing Spartans.. right?
Overall its a simple yet impressive game and one that fans of horde based shooters should give a more in-depth look at, despite it not being a traditional First Person/Third Person Shooter.
A wide array of difficulties mean there is something for everyone from new players & casuals to hardened tower defence veterans.
2) Village Story.
Villiage story looks like a game that could have easily released 25 years ago. The mechanics are equally simple as the art style, which is pseudo 8bit.
The sound design is a little ahead of the 1990s but not by much.
Yet, for all its simplicity it is in its simple way brilliant, it is RTS distilled down to its most basic form, with the instant building and unit production and a minimal selection of things to build, anyone can pick up the mechanics in a matter of minutes.
I will note however that scenario mode is very basic and seems to be missing a few triggers in “Farmlands”, despite meeting all of the goals of the scenario often happened at all, not even a simple victory screen, with the game no longer being developed, it’s unlikely that it will ever progress beyond what it is today.
A fantastic homage to a simpler time, however, I can only recommend buying it to dedicated fans of indie subculture or those who enjoy trying a wide array of RTS games, due to it’s incomplete and abandoned state, it can only be found via third party bundle and key sites, as steam itself no longer has it for sale.
3) Massive Chalice.
Massive Chalice is a true hidden gem, with an all-time peak of fewer than 700 players and a 24-hour peak of 13 players, relatively no one even heard of it, let alone played it, and that’s the true tragedy of Massive Chalice.
Massive Chalice utilises simple low poly aesthetic, but the gameplay is far from simple and is one of the best multi-generational games I have played, with fantastic tactical combat, random events, and the ability to create hybrid classes through breeding/marriage, Massive Chalice offers a layer of depth than many AAA games wish they had.
I must admit to also never giving it a chance until recently, and I am certainly sorry I waited so long, with ability focused tactical combat, and a wide array of enemies, combat feels snappy and requires strategy to avoid being wiped out.
Losing a hero can upset your entire game, with bloodlines specialising in certain areas its possible to come to a point when say all your hunter bloodlines are gone, and you are trying to make do with melee units, all the while praying that a random hunter feels like joining you and starting a family.
Heroes have a wide array of attributes, random stats, family relics and general buffs that allow you to sculpt some truly unique subclass heroes, that being said with a random chance for low fertility or unfertile, there is always a chance your best heroes may leave no offspring, dooming your kingdom for at least the next few decades.
Overall Massive Chalice is a solid indie title, and one that was born and died without much attention from gamers and media alike, I would love to see a sequel as with the right marketing I feel it could be a strong performing indie title with a dedicated player base.
4) Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville.
Rebuild 3 plays very much like a Facebook/mobile game from the early 2010s. It’s well made and has eye-pleasing 2D art, but its a game very much for causals.
The gameplay loop consists of clearing, claiming and defending locations around the city, all the while roaming bands of undead and random events pull your attention. Survivors elsewhere, the constant need to scavenge is both an annoyance and benefit, and annoyance as its not very fun and consists of clicking on random tiles and waiting for your scavengers to return, a benefit as, without it, there would be very little content, and apart from a few autos decided battles you would have nothing to do.
While the game offers a few multiple-choice problems, such as do you burn the fuel to slow down the horde etc., overall choices feel weak and unimpactful, a decent casual game and one that doesn’t need much time to learn, but not a game for serious gamers.
5) Out There Somewhere.
Out There Somewhere is one of the most mechanically impressive games I played in 2019, despite being incredibly simple aesthetically and user controls that could easily be played on a two-button controller, the learning curve is close to a brick wall, easy to pick up but difficult to master.
Out There Somewhere reminds me very much of a 2D platformer version of Portal, fantastic level design and well thought out puzzles make this game a sure-fire winner for gamers and non-gamers alike.
The retro 2D art styles feel authentic, and I could see myself playing this on a SNES or Sega Genesis back in the 90s.
One of the best Indie games I have ever played, and the best faux-retro game I played in 2019.
6) Nba Playground.
NBA Playground plays like one of my all-time favourite games, and one of the very few sports-themed games I liked, of which game do I refer? Space Jam!
Space Jam was the ultimate mix of basketball and party game style fun that the sports genre was missing, not everyone wants to play a photorealistic simulation, until NBA playgrounds we didn’t have anything like it on Pc. Sadly, we once again don’t have anything like it.
Despite its fun gameplay, snappy controls and adorable graphics NBA Playground failed ever to gain an audience, and the sequel lacks all the charm that made NBA Playground so good.
NBA Playground is no longer for sale on steam and remains unlisted, third party sites do however still sell keys, but stocks are limited.
Squareface looks feels and plays very much like a first-generation PlayStation One, game, and while its a welcome return to an aesthetic that means a great deal to a great many of us, Squareface lacks the charm that titles of that era processed, I will be fair and say there is nothing really wrong with Squareface, and the map design and mechanics remind me of a cross between the Chicken Run PSOne game and the Army Men game series.
On paper, it checks all the boxes, but for me, it left me feeling uninterested, the type of title I could never see myself actually choosing to play.
And that is a shame as the developers did a pretty good job at recapturing the charm of the 2000s, it simply falls flat in the charm department.
I will say the controls, however, are dead simple to learn and those wanting a quick pick up and play game won’t be disappointed, I am however disappointed it doesn’t natively support Dual Shock 4 controllers, Xbox One/360 controllers, however, work fine.
8) Steamworld Heist.
I could gush about Steamworld heist all-day, its the perfect combination of art style, level design, witty dialogue, simple controls and interesting mechanics that all indie games should aspire to be.
While you can play with a mouse and keyboard, this game deserves to be played on a controller.
I can fully recommend this game to anyone who wants something that’s easy to pick up, but hard to put down, an addictive, colourful and fun experience for gamers of all ages and skill levels.
9) Curious Expedition.
Curious Expedition is a vast open-world deeper and richer than its ultra simplistic graphics would let on, with millions of unique worlds due to the procedural generation of every aspect of the maps/locations, no two playthroughs will be the same, prepare your expedition for any disaster, the tactics that saw you to victory this time may send you to an early grave next time.
A fantastic game for those who want to jump right into the adventure, and also for those who wish to explore deeper, with a vast array of NPCs to trade and talk with, your adventure builds every moment you invest into it.
With the recently launched multiplayer mode “Rivals” offering a map 10000x larger than single player, and the upcoming Curious Expedition 2, it’s a great time to discover or rediscover the series.
10) Faster than Light.
“She doesn’t look like much, but she has it where it counts kid”, no wiser words could be spoken about Faster than Light, one of the ugliest of all space roguelikes, with graphics that look to be from the late 90s, you wouldn’t be amiss to think this game is another indie shovelware title, oh but how wrong you would be.
Faster than Light offers some of the best gameplay mechanics to be found in any title released in the last three decades, with simple to learn mechanics, a vast array of random events, and often providing multiple ways to accomplish any given step of the journey, Faster than Light is one of the best starship captain simulators in existence, despite not presenting itself as such.
Fans of Roguelike, Space Games, 90s aesthetics, or those wanting to try something a little different, will want to play Faster than Light.
Xbox Game Pass, an ever-growing catalogue of over 100 games that is a great way to try a whole smorgasbord of games, including day one access to all Microsoft first party titles, for just a few dollars a month.
Playstation Now, stream over 800 PS2, PS3 and PS4 games legally on your PC & PS4 with PSNow, a ground breaking cloud gaming console service for Playstation 4 and PC