E4i: ESPORTS 4INDIE

Phoebe Knight

Phoebe Knight

Phoebe Knight is a freelance writer and novelist. She cut her baby teeth on the original King’s Quest, and has loved gaming ever since. Phoebe’s favorite games are usually weird ones with quirky storylines, but she has also logged an embarrassing volume of hours in sweeping open-world fantasy games like Skyrim and Witcher 3.

ICY: Frostbite Edition takes you hostage with a compelling narrative rife with tragedy, mystery, treachery, and danger.  With an extensive variety of story arcs, endings, and random encounters, IFE offers excellent replayability.

What The Long Journey Home lacks in originality in its gameplay, it makes up for with realism in its characters and extensive narrative. It draws the player into a harsh, unforgiving universe that is as strange as it is beautiful. Wit, skill, and determination are needed to survive, but even with these, success is not guaranteed. Gamers who enjoy a challenge and the thrill of the unknown will get the most out of The Long Journey Home.

Ovivo is a beautiful piece that melds art, exploration, and mystery in a unique platform–adventure title. The levels are engaging, the gameplay intuitive. Unfortunately, the lack of clear objectives, control customization, and the inability to save game progress limits the overall appeal.

Everything is an extraordinary journey. It’s Salvador Dali meets Neil deGrasse Tyson meets Eastern Mysticism. It’s art and spirituality brought to life in a medium that transcends the limitations of books and paints. This isn’t the game you want if you’re looking for casual entertainment with which to unwind at the end of a long day. Yet, even though Everything challenges your understanding of self and the universe, it never sacrifices the simple joy of fun.

Paradigm is proof that quality isn’t the sole domain of big names and hefty budgets. Although the puzzles are a bit lackluster, the overall experience of the game makes it a must-have for fans of the genre. Players that enjoy absurdity and thrill at the idea geeky humor and internet memes brought to life will love Paradigm in all its weird and wonderful glory.

The Sexy Brutale is a lush, deliciously dark game that’s part murder mystery, part puzzle-adventure.Taken individually, the components of the gameplay in The Sexy Brutale are not groundbreaking: time reversal, stealth, and puzzle-solving are fun, but not innovative, elements. How they’re combined in this game, however, is fresh and unusual. The fantastic art and flawless execution of the game make this one must-have for fans of the genre.

Diluvion tugs at the soul of the land-bound adventurer who longs to experience the mysteries of the deep. It ties together RPG elements, resource management, combat, and the salty appeal of a marine environment in a brilliant blend of whimsical and exciting.

Tension is the primary dynamic of Your Star. Your resources are constantly draining as your enemies gather. The longer it takes to find what you need, the stronger they grow and the weaker you become. Confusion is death. Hesitation is death. To be successful you must think quickly, but you’re still likely to die several times before completing the game. Your Star isn’t intended to be a relaxing, casual game to be enjoyed between other, bigger things. It is ideal for gamers that love a challenge and who thrive under pressure.

Elena is a promising idea cut off too soon. The music is soothing, the gameplay is entertaining, and the mystery is compelling. If the story had a second chapter to look forward to, I would be excited to play it, but as it is, Elena feels too incomplete to live up to its promise.

As an original 80s gamer, Rad Rodgers hits all the happy places. It has elements of the perfect classic platformer, sidelong references to my favorite old games, but still has the advantages of a modern, original game. Rad Rodgers is fantastically fun, and I’m looking forward to adding the next episode to my collection.

Redie's music, game environment, sound effects, and physics work together to create an engaging, enjoyable universe. The gameplay is hard, but the feeling of finally beating a difficult level is pure euphoria. Lastly, the mastery system adds a lot of replayability to the game for players who are either exceptionally skilled or masochistic.

While it has a few problems, Tales is a great game. The puzzles are both challenging and fun. The different environments keep the game interesting as the main character travels from book to book. There is depth in both the storyline and puzzles that mean this isn’t one of those games that can be finished in a single session and leaves the player wondering what they paid for. This is a game you come back to and find yourself thinking about after you’ve left.

If you’ve ever suffered petty cruelty at the hands of someone in a position of power and fantasized about a disproportionately violent response, The Revenge of Johnny Bonasera will give you the chance to live out that dream in video game form.

I fell in love with The Beard in the Mirror. As an homage to a much-loved genre, it succeeds stupendously. Its main weakness is its shortness. Although the story is complete and not rushed, it leaves a lot of untapped potential. That said, if DLC or a sequel came out, I’d be one of the first to buy.

Unfortunately, despite quality personification, Negligee's plot and dialogue fall flat. The key to a compelling narrative is introducing problems for the characters to solve. The issues facing Negligee’s characters are painfully mundane. As a result, the plot flops without ever finding a meaningful hook. There are long stretches of stagnation while the protagonist vacillates between hesitancy and insecurity. Instead of excited, I found myself irritated and impatient, quick-clicking through conversations in the hopes of getting to the interesting parts. Sadly, by the time the game delivered, I was too bored to care.

King’s Quest breathes fresh life into the fantasy adventure puzzle genre by reviving the story of a decades-old series. Although it doesn’t have the same feel as the traditional Sierra games, it stands on its own and does not violate the original. In terms of story-line, Chapter 4 starts strong but loses its emotional impact quickly. The level is puzzle-heavy and lacks some of the adventurings from previous chapters. The gameplay is solid, though, and remains fun and enjoyable throughout.

A sweaty-palmed, gut-clenchingly terrifying game. It capitalizes on body-horror, mechanophobia, and the fear of small, dark spaces. While the core gameplay is solid, the game does have issues which take away from its awesomeness. Despite this, Syndrome makes a strong addition to the survival horror genre.

Office Freakout is an excellent way to blow off steam at the end of the workday. It’s inconsistent themes and slow loading keep it from greatness, but all of those minor frustrations float away in the thrill of the smash.

If you’re ready to let go of the hustle and hurry of the week, sink into the beguiling mystery of Pavilion. There are so many questions when you start the game. Is this all a dream? Why are we here? Who is the woman in white? The only way to discover the answer is to play.  I found Pavilion to be more than a puzzle game, it was an interactive art piece, where I was allowed to participate.

Goo Saga is a fantastic puzzle adventure platformer. The world is beautiful, the gameplay is interesting, and while it does have some minor flaws, they do not outshine this stellar game.

The gameplay isn’t deep, the content isn’t even slightly politically-correct, and there aren’t enough levels. That said, Intensive Exposure is a stupidly-fun game that delivers exactly what it promises, with a few great surprise laughs along the way. Definitely worth it.

Avadon 3: The Warborn isn’t just a game. It is an investment into a world that has its own rules, lore, and struggles. It possesses depth, quality art, fantastic gameplay, and provides a profound experience beyond casual entertainment. 

Calm Down, Stalin puts players in touch with history by allowing them to experience the sweaty-palmed, gut-wrenching stress of being a despotic ruler of a country on the brink of war. That you have the unfortunate handicap of only being able to control one clumsy, flailing arm at a time adds to the fun.

He lives in an idyllic village nestled between a crystal clear river and the tallest mountain peak in the land.

An addictively enjoyable puzzle game. The graphics will appeal to claymation fans, and the puzzles offer a nice challenge without being rage-inducingly frustrating.

It’s only significant flaw is the bug that causes the game to crash repeatedly.

Gazzel Quest is not a game I would typically pick off the Steam shelf, but if I had given it a miss it would have been a loss. Despite its flaws, the artwork, and simple control scheme paired with the challenging gameplay and multiplayer option makes this title a win.

Doodle God is a game that offers a lot of value in the first twenty minutes of play.  Beyond that, the fun breaks down. The frustrating issues grow exponentially the further the player progresses until it reaches that deadly place where gaming becomes a chore.  Players who can walk away from a game if it stops being fun may enjoy Doodle God for its good qualities; however, completionist gamers who have to finish no matter what may want to give this one a pass.

While playing Archibald’s Adventures, I often found myself feeling like an idiot for missing an obvious solution, but that did not dampen the triumph when the answer revealed itself in a blinding moment of clarity. It’s a fun game. Challenging, but not rage-inducing. Overall, I liked it well enough that I’d purchase a squeal if it were available.