Indie Game Roundup – May

The current global situation has everybody spending a lot more time indoors and, naturally, a lot more time playing games. However, given the financial strain the pandemic has placed on many of us, buying new games may not be at the top of your list. Fear not though, there are still plenty of titles available to play for free, and in particular some indie gems available on Steam.

To help you while away a few hours, here are three short indie titles released on PC in May that are well worth taking a look at.

Developed by Open Mid Interactive, Outpost is a roguelike survival game, something I hadn’t quite experienced before. You begin in a randomly generated environment and need to gather resources in order to defend a crystal which will be attacked during the night. Your means of defeating these attackers is by building automated turrets and a bow and arrow for yourself. 

The aim isn’t to survive indefinitely, instead more a case of delaying the inevitable end as long as possible. The longer you survive, the more XP you gain which you can then use on persistent upgrades to help you in future runs.

It’s a fairly simple but potentially engrossing gameplay loop that, should it hook you, will have you striving to survive a few nights longer each time, and you likely will as it rewards that XP grind more so than skill and strategy in your defence placement. The game is entirely free to play without – as far as I could see – any microtransactions, but if you do wish to support the developers you can purchase the soundtrack for £3.99.

Black Book: Prologue
If turn-based, point-and-click RPGs are your thing, then this taster for the upcoming title Black Book is definitely worth a look. You play as Visilisa, a young sorceress who is determined to bring the man she loved back from the depths of hell. To do so, she must break the seven seals in the titular black book, defeating various demons in card-based combat along the way.

The game leans heavily on atmosphere and Russian folklore and the prologue, though short, hints at more depth to come in the finished game. Your first battle against a demon is standard tutorial fare as you’re guided through the spell cards you can learn and use, but I expect that as the game progresses things will get much more difficult to master.

Last but by no means least, we have Helltaker. Developed solely by Łukasz Piskorz, this puzzle game with a seriously catchy backing track sees its protagonist attempting to fill a harem of demon girls.

The gameplay sees you with a set number of moves in which to negotiate a puzzle – mostly moving rocks, dodging traps and kicking skeletons around – with another demon girl at the end of each, waiting for you to either win their heart or to viciously murder you. 

The puzzles can be surprisingly tough – especially if you’re something of a 4head like me – and finishing them in the given number of moves you have takes plenty of trial and error. However, if any puzzle gets too tough, you do have the option in the menu of simply skipping it and heading straight to that level’s demon girl, so all isn’t too bad.

As with Outpost, the game is entirely free to play but should you wish you can buy a digital artbook and pancake recipe for £7.19.

There are plenty of indie titles being released on Steam all the time and I heartily recommend checking some of them out as a break from your latest AAA grind.  I’ll be doing a monthly round up of some of the best here on Thumbs Up Gamers, so if you spot any gems then make sure to give me a shout. 

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