ESPORTS4INDIE

More visual novel than action adventure, State of Mind inserts you into a dystopian technological universe and encourages you, often forcefully, to think seriously about the future of transhumanism.

Wanted Killer VR does exactly what it needs to do, providing plenty of stylish action with a unique look and a decent amount of polish. While some of its features are at odds with the chaotic gameplay, and there are some other annoyances, it’s worth its price.

The Red Strings Club transports you into a gritty, 1980’s-inspired cyberpunk future to solve a mystery that asks more questions about morality and human nature than it answers. The nostalgic feel isn’t overpowering or gimmicky; rather, the setting could pass as something straight out of the Blade Runner universe, yet maintains its own style and originality. Modern technology is referenced, but the backbone of the plot takes your curiosity for a ride with its fantastical sci-fi elements. Add just a dash of that decades-old pixel art aesthetic, and you have a solid entry into the cyberpunk genre.

With deadly bugs that prevent key gameplay mechanics, zero replayability, and an astonishingly small amount of content (<30 minutes to complete), Beat the Game is a visual masterpiece more akin to a brief bad trip at a Tomorrowland than an actual game. If you’re into audio or music production and are looking for something that will let you develop and explore it in a different light, you will be disappointed. However, when it comes to cinematography, BtG is a high nine. With a bit more care and effort from solid game and sound designers, this novelty release could have been great. And if you need drugs to enjoy music, you’re doing it wrong.

Neofeud's futuristic, Bladerunner-like world, its thoughtful dialogue that's entirely voice acted, and its fresh point-and-click puzzles make it a title worth trying — as long as you're aware that it has some annoying flaws along the way. After a slow start, Neofeud develops into a complex tale that approaches profound ideas about what it means to be sentient, what it means to care about someone who may or may not be alive, and how it could be a big problem our society could face someday soon.

Imagine the year is 2089 and the Cold War never ended. You would, of course, be a burly, time-traveling cyborg-agent who goes to dance clubs to flirt with and/or kill other burly men, right? Of course you would; the self-described tech-noir All Walls Must Fall is so chillingly accurate that an alternate history textbook could be written based off of it.

The same elements and design choices in Observer that make it a cerebral and provocative failed-future experience are those that prohibit satisfaction in its gameplay. Detailed world-building shines through in-game dialogue and lore, yet falls drastically short in any actual spatial embodiment of forces and institutions. The small space in which you're trapped is a quaint microcosm of Observer's world, but after rich promises of variety and exploration, it's ultimately too micro to satisfy.

Hover: Revolt of Gamers is a solid, open-world MMORPG that livens up the genre by honing in on what made its inspirations so great, and fusing these qualities together, culminating in an exciting world full of vibrant personality. While there is room for some refinement, Fusty Game and Midgar Studio have created an impressive action parkour game which promises to overload the senses.

Not all efforts in nostalgia end in success, but with Nex Machina, Housemarque has crafted a fast and fun twin-stick shooter with crisp visuals and challenging gameplay. Flawed only by a problematic mouse adaptation, Nex Machina is a solid execution of a gaming genre staple that promises long nights with guns blazing (instead of sleep).

While Tokyo 42 could be deeper, and it has issues with being frustrating at times, this is the rare game that becomes less problematic the more you play it. It is for brutal combat what Katamari was for puzzle games: A new way of looking at things, quite literally, and one that chooses bright joyfulness as its medium and lives up to it through its play. For less than half of what a AAA game will run you, this title is absolutely worth the time and the money, and if you find it frustrating, I encourage you to give it another few hours. Just about anyone who does will be charmed by the supersaturated, gloriously isometric, high octane, quirkily funny cyberpunk blowout that is Tokyo 42.

P.A.M.E.L.A. is one of the most visually solid games on Steam today, in the indie market — and possibly including AAA as well. There was a rash of bad reviews for crashing and loading issues, but the issues were fixed very quickly thereafter. Even with a small development team, NVYVE Studios has produced one of the most polished Early Access games I’ve seen, and it bodes well for the future of the title and the studio.

Faithful to the franchise, PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness manages to involve the player into speculative science-fiction that poses fundamental questions about the human condition. While the graphics rely on still images and, at times, follow dialogue to an extent that feels tedious, the storyline creates a gripping experience on crime and mystery that leaves one pondering their own views on happiness and self-determination.

System Crash is a great addition to the library of anyone who likes playing CCGs. If you’re new to the genre, it’s also a good introduction: easy to learn, harder to master. Probably the best recommendation I can give this title is that I can’t wait to finish writing my review so I can play it more. In fact, I just hit my word count, so--

Technomancer is utterly fantastic, even if it does have a few minor kinks that need to be worked out. It's wicked fun with satisfying combat, and it offers a clever leveling build with full customization. With a decent story and a convincing landscape, what's more to enjoy than a post-apocalyptic world where options are plenty?