1917 - The Alien Invasion

A game by Andrade Games for PC, originally released in 2016.
1917 - The Alien Invasion is a shmup that takes place during the days of World War I, in an alternate history where aliens have invaded Earth, their ships suddenly appearing in the skies and laying waste to everything, killing soldier and civilian alike. As a result, the war comes to a swift end as Axis and Allied powers begin working together to face this new threat, which is led by a villainous creature calling itself the Chessmaster.

You take on the role of Dr. Brunhield Stahlmüller, a “weapon scientist” who outfits a Raumdecker Red Beezlebub triplane with alien technology and takes to the skies to face down the alien onslaught herself, despite having no flight combat experience. Fortunately, this upgraded aircraft is also capable of interstellar travel, as the new pilot’s mission takes her from the German city of Verdun into the void of space, and eventually to the homeworld of the alien menace.

The Way

A game by Puzzling Dream for PC, Mac, and Linux, originally released in 2016.
The Way is an adventure platformer inspired by the likes of Érick Chahi’s Another World (a.k.a. Out of This World) and Heart of Darkness, featuring a protagonist in a mysterious world who must use his wits to overcome enemies, obstacles, and puzzles. The world around him is as beautiful as it is dangerous, with detailed spritework representing the deadly creatures that inhabit the lush yet hostile landscape. Intricate backgrounds offer a wide range of colors and tones, supported by an atmospheric soundtrack and ambient sound effects, helping to set the mood as the player explores many vastly different areas.

As the game begins, Major Tom (the developers are apparently Bowie fans) is standing over the grave of his wife holding a flower. As the rain pours, he kneels and sets the flower down, and then he does something truly unexpected… he picks up a shovel and begins digging up her grave. Then he pulls his wife’s dead body out of the ground in a player-controlled sequence.

Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan

A game by Kiro’o Games for PC, originally released in 2016.
Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is an action-RPG that is deeply rooted in African culture and folklore. You take on the role of Enzo Kori-Odan, Prince of Zama just as he is about to be married to Erine Evou and be crowned as king. However, on the day of his coronation, his new brother-in-law stages coup d'état using powerful ancestral magic called Aurionics. Enzo is defeated, and he and his wife are cast into exile.

It is up to Enzo, with the support of Erine, to find a way to become more powerful and take back his rightful place as king. Along his journey, he combats many enemies of Zama and struggles to come to terms with his duties as the true leader of Zama, as well as his responsibility to avoid costly risks so that he may one day return to his people. His explorations take him far from his village, exposing him to many different people with their own cultures, politics, and belief systems, giving Enzo a greater understanding of the world around him.

Moon Hunters

A game by Kitfox Games for PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, and Vita, originally released in 2016.
In Moon Hunters, you take on the role of a set of legendary warriors whose tales have been passed down through the generations… only their stories have yet to be told. Your actions ultimately determine how you are remembered, and you’re not merely judged on your prowess in combat; you also earn a reputation depending on how you deal with situations that you encounter on your journey.

Each game begins with the mysterious disappearance of the moon goddess when the moon fails to rise at the end of the ceremonial Moon Feast, and you set out on a quest to determine what has happened. Opposing you are a number of wild creatures, as well as sun worshippers whose heliocentric beliefs put them at odds with you and your lunar-loving brethren.

Saving Princess

A game by BRAINOS for PC, Android, and iOS, originally released in 2016.
Saving Princess is a nonlinear action platformer starring Portia Crane, an Asset Recovery Specialist. All the player knows about her mission is in the text that appears in the pre-title sequence, which states: IF THEY GET PRINCESS, THE WAR IS LOST. IT'S UP TO YOU. There are apparently a few nefarious bounty hunters who have received a similar objective – including a space ninja – and Portia must face off against them on her quest, along with a number of mechanical beasties.

Until I Have You

A game by Wormwood Studios for PC and Linux, originally released in 2016.
Until I Have You is a gritty neo-noir action platformer that tells the tale of The Artist, an accomplished assassin at the height of his career. Despite his success, he decides that it’s time to hang up his instruments of death and make time for his wife. But his employers aren’t so willing to let him go… Deciding that The Artist is indispensable, they kidnap his wife to force him back into the business. The Artist vows to rescue his wife and procures a special exoskeleton that grants him tremendous new powers, potentially at the cost of his sanity.

The Artist must seek out and kill 12 of his former clients in order to rescue his wife and escape the assassin life forever. His missions play out across the city, with each city block representing a set of themed levels, followed by a boss encounter against one of his clients.

Enter the Gungeon

A game by Dodge Roll for PC, Mac, Linux, and PS4, originally released in 2016.
Enter the Gungeon is a bullet hell roguelike dungeon crawler featuring a handful of Gungeoneers who must descend a tower in search for a legendary gun that can kill the past. Each hero has a past that he or she hopes to eliminate by finding this weapon, but it won’t be easy, as the tower is filled with traps, bosses, and hordes of the Gundead. Battles are tough and resources are limited, but the adventurers press on in hopes of unlocking more powerful weapons that will eventually lead them to victory.

Players begin each game in The Breach, a safe area outside of the Gungeon where they can select a character, speak with a handful of NPC’s, and play through a tutorial area. Players may select between one of four Gungeoneers, each of whom comes equipped with a weak infinite ammo weapon and a handful of support items.

Velocity 2X

A game by FuturLab for PC, PS4, Vita, and Xbox One, originally released in 2014.
Velocity 2X is a follow-up to Velocity / Velocity Ultra, a game that mixes vertical shmupping with teleportation mechanics, and even some light puzzle solving. The bulk of the ship-based gameplay from the original carries over into the sequel, albeit with a flashier presentation, but the new game also offers a substantial new addition in the form of on-foot sections. These areas break up the gameplay and offer fast-paced shooting on par with the overhead segments, but with additional platforming challenges and enemy types to put the player’s skills to the test.

Following the events of the first game, Lieutenant Kai Tana finds herself awakening onboard an alien spacecraft thousands of light years from home, a result of her final teleportation at the end of the original game. As she regains consciousness, she discovers that her body has been modified… Specifically, certain parts of her body have been replaced by elements from her ship, the Quarp Jet, allowing her to use her ship’s functions herself, including the ability to fire projectiles and teleport.


A game by Wolf Brew Games for PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Vita, Xbox One, and Wii U, originally released in 2016.
Slain! is a dark gothic action platformer starring Bathoryn, a man on a quest to destroy the monsters that rule over a series of towers. Inspired by the likes of Ghosts ‘n Goblins and Shadow of the Beast, the game oozes with atmosphere (sometimes literally) with candle-lit corridors, rivers of blood, macabre statues, and twisted creatures from the darkest depths attacking from all sides... all accompanied by a heavy metal soundtrack.

Combat is slow and deliberate, with heavy overhand sword swings and a timing-based combo system. Simply mashing the ATTACK button as quickly as possible results in a series of short weak slashes that barely impact enemies and leave Bathoryn open to retaliatory strikes. Learning the proper timing allows Bathoryn to follow through with a 3-hit combo, stepping forward with each strike and pushing his enemies back.

Insanity’s Blade

A game by Causal Bit Games for PC, originally released in 2014.
Insanity’s Blade is a dark and gritty action game reminiscent of late 80’s arcade titles like Black Tiger and Ghouls ‘n Ghosts. You take on the role of Thurstan, a muscle-bound warrior on a quest to avenge his wife and daughter after his village is attacked and burned. Thurstan fights his way through hordes of demons and the undead in order to venture into hell and save the souls of his murdered family. Along the way, he teams up with a surly old dwarf (Is there any other kind?) named Finn who appears in interstitial cutscenes in single player mode and is available as a second playable character in offline 2P co-op.

Players may select between Story Mode and Arcade Mode at the title screen. Story Mode sees the player selecting locations on a world map, speaking with the occasional NPC, and returning to previously-completed stages in order to locate objects required to move forward. However, the dialogue and cutscenes are representative of the middling quality of the arcade and 16-bit console era, adding little to the experience. Arcade Mode removes cutscenes, additional quests, and backtracking, along with the ability to save the game, offering a more streamlined pure action experience.

Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight

A game by Bombservice for PC, originally released in 2016.
Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight is the fourth entry in the Momodora series, and its story is a prequel to the others. The game stars Kaho, a priestess whose village has been attacked by evil spirits. Kaho leaves her village and heads toward the Kingdom of Karst, hoping to gain an audience with the queen and find some way to end the curse. But when she arrives, she finds the land no better off than her own, as some dark force has begun to merge the worlds of the living and the dead, and monsters roam the streets.

As in the previous games, the player encounters a number of NPC’s who have each been affected by the curse. Some have chosen to fight against the evil, some have become overwhelmed by what has happened to the world around them, and others are lost and wandering. Kaho has a number of opportunities to aid these people, and her decisions lead to new bits of narrative, an optional boss encounter, and the possibility of reaching the game’s true ending.

Momodora 1-3

Games by Bombservice for PC, originally released in 2010, 2011, and 2014, respectively.
The Momodora series was created and developed by Guilherme 'rdein' Martins and finds its influences in classic video games as well as many of the core designs of Cave Story. Momodora was released as freeware in 2010, offering a fairly linear action platformer experience with some optional side paths. Momodora II was released as freeware in 2011 and falls firmly into the metroidvania category with an open world and backtracking to reach new areas. Momodora III was released as a paid download in 2014 and returns to the series’ roots as a more linear action platformer.