Bot Vice

A game by DYA Games for PC, Mac, and Linux, originally released in 2016.
Bot Vice is a gallery shooter inspired by a number of classic games, most notably Wild Guns. You take on the role of Erin Saver, a police officer who lost her partner and her right arm when facing off against a criminal organization known as the Wildbots. Her arm has since been replaced with a bionic version that allows her to fire projectiles from her palm and swap between weapon types, and she is out for revenge.

The Wildbots have returned and have taken over Tominaka Plaza – an anagram for Nakatomi Plaza – and Erin has taken it upon herself to infiltrate their defenses… but her time is limited.

At the start of the game, Erin has less than 40 minutes to reach Tominaka Plaza before it is destroyed, and each level has a timer that clicks upward. If she is not able to complete the first 23 levels in time, the 24th and final level will remain locked. Fortunately, she can revisit any previously-visited level in order shave off a few seconds and earn a better cumulative time, allowing her to access the final showdown. The player is ranked on completion time, and level indicators are color-coded to make it easier to tell which have the most room for improvement.

Boxboy / Boxboxboy

Games by HAL Laboratory for 3DS, originally released in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Boxboy and Boxboxboy – which are technically named BOXBOY! and BOXBOXBOY! – are a pair of puzzle platformers starring a little square fellow named Qbby. There’s not much to the little guy, as he is made up of a rounded box with two legs and two eyes and nothing else, although he does exude a bit of personality in his smooth movements and cute idle animations. The games are presented with similarly minimal visuals consisting of simple black and white designs with occasional grey highlights in the original game, with the addition of bits of green in the sequel.

There’s also not much to the story, which involves the player unlocking a series of doors across a largely featureless corridor, overcoming the challenges within, and then clearing paths that allow him to reach the next set of doors. At certain points, the player interacts with some mysterious machinery that triggers wordless cutscenes, revealing a square planet being restored and the occasional rescue of one of Qbby’s friends.

Hyper Light Drifter

A game by Heart Machine for PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Vita, and Wii U, originally released in 2016.
Hyper Light Drifter is an action-adventure where Drifters search the world for ancient technology and artifacts, slashing through roaming beasts and still-active machines. You take on the role of one such Drifter who is haunted by visions of what the world once was, finding himself under attack by some unknown creeping darkness, and following a black dog that seems to be guiding him. Something has happened to the world… A once great civilization has been destroyed, its people long dead, their bodies strewn across the landscape, and their towering sentinels now rusting into nothingness.

After a strange introductory cutscene – filled with chaotic imagery and rivers of blood – you gain control of the Drifter. His body is weak, however, and he struggles to rise. Oftentimes, he doubles over and coughs up blood, during which time the screen is covered in static, offering only questions about the nature of the world.

Systematic Immunity

A game by Felix Wunderlich for PC, originally released in 2016.
In Systematic Immunity, you take control of a cluster of white blood cells as they traverse a human body, moving from organ to organ to take down a nasty germ that is propagating a huge infection across its host. You must lead your army of cells through the stomach, lungs, and brain – each offering a unique set of precision platforming challenges – as you try to keep your cells alive long enough to reach the pestilence and snuff it out.

Players are equipped with the standard walk, run, and jump controls seen in other precision platformers, as well as the ability to wall jump up certain surfaces. The white blood cells have a floaty jump and a great deal of midair direction control, offering tools to the player who must maneuver them through tight spike-lined corridors, past rows of spiked enemies, and across huge chasms.

Porter / Jump Porter

A game by Shin Izumi for PC, Mac, and iOS, originally released in 2016.
Porter is a precision platformer starring a green circular fellow who must make his way through 20 increasingly dangerous environments as quickly as possible. The game offers a no-frills presentation, with only a pulsating title screen and a quick explanation of the controls before the player is sent into action. The visuals are presented in a multi-shade “greenscale” with a grainy CRT-style filter and curved edges, whereas the mobile version – which is known as Jump Porter – has a crisp presentation.

Porter (assuming this is the character’s name) comes equipped with a 3x variable jump and a high running speed. In addition, he sticks to any walls that he runs into, making it quite challenging to control the character in tight quarters, since his inertia-driven run is hard to stop and he gets stuck when coming in contact with most vertical surfaces. The only way to disconnect from a wall is to jump away from it.

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 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 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.