Best of 2012 Nominations...
Dustforce is a speed-centric acrobatic platform game from Hitbox Team. A demo first appeared back in 2010, showing off the concept and basic design. Since then, the game has undergone some silent but effective changes, improving upon the controls and adding loads of content to sweep through. It's a fast, combo-centric arcade experience that emphasizes speed and perfection, and thanks to the online highscore boards and per-level badges, you'll be strangely compelled to keep playing until everything is just right.
From the world's favorite developer of quirky indie games, bentosmile, the Easy Quest series is a set of three tiny action RPG-style games that take place in the same setting with the same creatures and the same basic goal: save the world! You do this by defeating enemies that are weaker than you, running them over until they bite the dust. With each hit, you suffer damage, too, so you have to balance your attacks and seek healing potions only when they're absolutely necessary. It's a game of watching the numbers and being aggressive when it's a smart thing to do, and despite each game's short length, they're still a set of quests you'll love to undertake!
Arche is worried about fitting in. Her family has just moved to the little hamlet of Tonkiness to open an item shop, and it turns out her dreams of learning magic may be short lived once she discovers she needs an expensive elemental stone to even practice at her new school. But a simple rumour might lead her on to a much bigger adventure than she ever imagined in this beautiful but difficult action platforming RPG.
The first commercial release from indie developer cactus and his partner Dennis Wedin is a brutal and bloody orchestra from violence. Messages left on your answering machine seem to drive you to acts of mass carnage and unspeakable violence, but what's the reason behind it all? Unlock new masks to hide your identity with special abilities, deal damage with tons of unlockable weapons, and master the game's reflex-driven combat to waltz your way through sprawling, challenging missions as you get closer to the truth.
Rarely are there arcade shooters as epic, gorgeous, playable, and steeped in story as Jamestown. A release from Final Form, Jamestown combines stunning pixel art with a vertically-scrolling top-down shooter (shmup), all set in a 17th century colony on Mars where Spanish Conquistadors have teamed up with native Martians to keep the new settlers away. What you end up with is a superb arcade game that's easy for beginners to get into but still a challenge to master.
Based a decade-plus old arcade game called XKobo by Akira Higuchi, KoboDeluxe is an updated and enhanced version of the original arcade shooter, porting the concept and gameplay over to modern platforms while introducing better animations, high resolution visuals, additional control options, a difficulty selector, and more. Whether you want a nostalgic arcade fix or are looking for a sturdy action challenge, KoboDeluxe will absolutely satisfy your craving.
This might come as a surprise, but there's a lot of discrimination in the ninja industry, or the "ninjustry" as those of us in the 'biz call it. If you're not a mutant turtle from New York chances are you're going to have a little trouble finding work. Sure, every so often you see a rising star from Beverly Hills or something like that, but for the most part in this job it's go sewer or go home. Thankfully for those of us who aren't reptiles, there's Mark of the Ninja, a stealth action game developed by Klei Entertainment that provides ninja excitement without the heavy shell or outdated surfer lingo. As an unnamed ninja, you'll use your weapons, skills and the powers of a mysterious tattoo to seek revenge for an attack on your clan.
Yahtzee is back, and this time he's offering his take on Metroidvania in Poacher, an action-adventure platformer. Join wabbit-hunter Derek Badger as he stumbles into an ancient conflict far below the Earth's surface. Expect some killer difficulty in this effective combo of humor and horror.
Troubleopolis! City of Action! And Adventure! And Driving! And Shooting! And, uh, Dating Sims! It's a real multi-genre kind of place in Retro City Rampage, a humorous open-world sandbox adventure game by VBlank Entertainment that sends up just about about every bit of 80s and 90s game culture you could hope to bring to your nostalgia-addled mind. It bears more than a passing resemblance to the early Grand Theft Auto releases (it actually began its decade of development under the name Grandtheftendo), but this wholly new and wholly comical experience stands on its own as a mad, mad parody with plenty of in-jokes to absorb!
Bam! Caught ya! Being stealthy is something we all do when creeping around the kitchen at night, going for that last piece of cake before anyone else in the house gets a crack at it. In Stealth Bastard, a stealth platform game from Curve Studios, moving around unseen is what it's all about. Instead of getting busted and forfeiting half a slice of cake, though, you get blasted to pieces by a robot laser the size of your torso. Ouch!
What... the heck is going on here? At first glance, you probably think Super Amazing Wagon Adventure is some sort of Oregon Trail-related simulation game. But then you see words like "arcade game" and "side-scrolling shooter" and you suddenly think "Maybe I'm going insane? Maybe I've forgotten what words mean and I've just started seeing random flan horse topple red maneuver?". You can relax, however, as we're here to promise you that Super Amazing Wagon Adventure is everything the title suggests, and it manages to be fast-paced, crazy, and entertaining all within the first five seconds.
Teletrooper is a mission-based arcade shooting game from Adam Butcher and Ben Claxton. Crafted over the course of seven years, Teletrooper draws inspiration from the likes of Star Fox 64, creating an experience that is a far cry from a mindless test of reflexes. Instead, you'll be treated to a storyline, accept and complete a variety of missions, deal with smart enemies and tough defenses, and maybe even grab a few power-ups along the way. It's a challenging and rewarding game you'll thank yourself for downloading, even if you spend the first half hour figuring out how to not die!
The Lost Vikings is a great game; one of the best puzzle platformers ever. But haven't you ever wished that it had more... zombies? Well good thing for you Gentleman Squid has come along and developed just that. In Three Dead Zed, you play as a zombie who has three forms, each with its own abilities. Your job is to jump, climb and attack your way to the end of the level to rescue some defenseless beings.
Let's not mince words. Tyrian 2000 was the best PC shoot-em-up of the 90s, and it still holds up remarkably well today. Originally developed as shareware by Eclipse Productions and published by Epic Games, Tyrian 2000 is now available as legit freeware, and every fan of space shooters should check it out. The amount of customization, the hilarious but loving prose, the gorgeous VGA graphics... all of them come together to make a true classic.
Slightly abstract, visually mesmerizing, easy to play, challenging to master. Waveform is just the sort of arcade experience you would expect from an indie developer. Eden Industries has created a captivating game using little more than a controllable waveform. As you weave through each level, your goal is to nab the highest score possible by manipulating a wave as it bounds through space, gathering light particles and growing stronger with each leg of the journey.
Zaga-33 is a minimalist roguelike created by Michael Brough in one week but later refined into a more polished product for Windows, Mac, and iOS devices. It ditches almost all of the traditional roguelike customs in favor of focusing on just a few gameplay elements for an ultra-refined experience. No stats to track, enemy lists to memorize, or equipment to manage, just pure and simple power-ups and combat!