There Was a Caveman

A game by Nauris Amatnieks for PC, originally released in 2015.
There Was a Caveman is a prehistoric action platformer that mixes caveman and dinosaur, per the world's combined pop culture fantasy. You take on the role of a caveman who finds himself to be the sole surviving member of his species. In order to make the world safe for cavemankind, he must fight his way through six themed environments, survive tough platforming challenges, and destroy all manner of critters so that he can find a suitable cavewoman and boff her brains out.

The beefy cave dweller moves through a chunky lo-fi world made up of block-based environments, equipped with only a short-range club for bashing in the faces of his enemies. He has a 2x variable jump as well as a double jump that gets him up to 3x, but he has very little midair direction control, sometimes making it difficult to line up platform landings. Players must rely on the double jump for full midair direction changes, while also being careful not to overcorrect in the opposite direction.

Nubs’ Adventure

A game by IMakeGames for PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android, originally released in 2015.
Nubs’ Adventure stars a little white antenna-topped fellow named Nubs who is roughed up by a pair of brown-colored ne’er-do-wells named Wiley and Marv. The pair break into Nubs’ house, throw him outside, and then kick him off the side of a cliff where he tumbles to what should be his certain doom. Just before he reaches the bottom, however, a huge worm emerges from the earth and arcs through the air, seemingly set on a course to devour him.

Moments later, Nubs regains consciousness, apparently none the worse for wear, but his house has been burned to the ground. Nubs falls to his knees and cries until a yellow wisp named Ally picks him up by his antenna and flies him away. Not long after, Nubs has a another run in with Wiley, who attacks him with a boomerang before being run off by the same giant worm creature. Nubs grabs the boomerang for himself and sets off across the world.

The game is an open world platformer where the player has all of his abilities at the start of his adventure. This is a rare design choice in an open world action game, as most such games fall into the metroidvania category, requiring that players earn new abilities along their journey in order to backtrack and access new areas. Here, access to new areas is blocked by locked doors and monolithic stones, requiring that the player seek out the necessary keys and runes to open the way.

Cataegis - The White Wind: Ziggurat Chapter

A game by Ácido Cinza for PC, originally released in 2015.
Cataegis - The White Wind: Ziggurat Chapter is quite a mouthful, and it comes with a lengthy premise as well: A self-proclaimed deity named Ishtar has descended from the heavens and wrought havoc upon the Earth, yet she spared the lives of humankind. This deity resolves to rid the world of death, provided that the people worship her, which splits the world into factions of supporters and those working against her. The protagonist, Cataegis, is sent in with a mission to “erase Ishtar’s existence”.

The game’s introductory text scroll is followed by a lengthy anime-style opening cinematic, complete with over-the-top actions, huge energy waves, giant robotic attackers, loads of evil villains, and our hero slicing a missile in half with his sword… an action that is actually possible during gameplay. While the sequence is clearly inspired by stylish anime intros, the whole thing is done in a gritty lo-fi style with a very limited color palette, as is the rest of the game.

Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows

A game expansion by Yacht Club Games for PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, PS3, Vita, XB1, Wii U, and 3DS, originally released in 2015.
In the year following the release of Shovel Knight, the developer returned to the game with free DLC that added a new playable character in the form of Plague Knight, who appeared as one of the bosses in the original game. With an add-on character, players might expect a very similar gameplay experience, with the character having functionally identical abilities as the original protagonist. However, this is far from the case…

The DLC, entitled Plague of Shadows, offers an entirely new storyline centered around Plague Knight as he attempts to develop a potion that will grant him ultimate power. As it turns out, the recipe calls for the essences of the knights of the Order of No Quarter, which requires Plague Knight to defeat them in battle and steal this essence from each of them.

Pink Hour & Pink Heaven

Games by Studio Pixel for PC and iOS, originally released in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
Pink Hour and Pink Heaven were each released for free as standalone games, providing short adventures that acted as supplements and promotional material for Studio Pixel's Kero Blaster. During the course of the entire game, the lower right corner of the screen displays a banner for Kero Blaster, originally showing the game's release date, which was later replaced by "Now on sale!" following its release.

Mighty Switch Force! Academy

A game by WayForward for PC, originally released in 2015.
Mighty Switch Force! Academy is a new take on Mighty Switch Force, which stars Patricia Wagon as she attempts to round up the five Hooligan Sisters and toss them back in the clink. In order to accomplish this, Patty is able to use the police siren mounted on her helmet to switch the environment around her, making transparent blocks turn solid and vice versa. Things quickly become more complex as Patty uses the environment to destroy enemies, boost off through the sky, and lock certain blocks in place to make them immune to switching... allowing for some puzzle-based platforming with a bit of shooting thrown in for good measure.

The gameplay in Mighty Switch Force Academy is very similar to that found in the original Mighty Switch Force – and it even includes some of the original levels – except that the screen is zoomed way out, allowing players to view the entire area at once. Backgrounds feature a trippy neon vector aesthetic, as this is meant to be a virtual training simulation for Patty, which also explains the “Academy” suffix in the title. In addition, up to four players can take on the game simultaneously in offline co-op.


A game by Ruxar for PC, originally released in 2015.
iZBOT is set in the near future where robots have overthrown their tyrannical human makers, and have set forth to build a world of peace. However, the leader of the humans – named Bedlor – has escaped, threatening a new outbreak of humanity. You take on the role of iZBOT, a robot who plans to save the world by eliminating the irregular array of lifeforms that yet cling to it.

Despite the premise, there aren’t any actual humans in the game, aside from the presumably human Bedlor, but there are a number of creatures who meet their explosive (and colorful) ends at the hands of iZBOT. More dangerous, however, are the game’s environments, as this is a precision platformer designed along the lines of such games as Super Meat Boy and Fenix Rage, where players must perform perilous platforming feats with little margin for error, and failure sends iZBOT back to the start of the stage to try again.

Master Spy

A game by Turbogun for PC and Mac, originally released in 2015.
In Master Spy, you play the role of a heavy-lidded fellow who actually goes by the name of Master Spy. Master Spy hires himself out to perform various acts of espionage, and he lives by a strict code… always sticking to the deal and only killing when it is absolutely necessary. Rather than traditional ninja garb, Master Spy dresses in formal business attire, with dress pants, a dress shirt, and a black tie, while adding gloves, a ski mask, and a prototype jacket that allows him to turn himself invisible.

This invisibility jacket is the basis for much of the gameplay, as players need to move around the environment unseen in order to collect keycards and infiltrate five different locations. However, activating the jacket greatly reduces Master Spy’s speed and mobility, making it more likely that he will be caught by a patrolling guard or killed by one of the game’s many environmental obstacles. If he is spotted or killed, the player must begin the mission again.

Curse of the Crescent Isle DX

A game by Adam Mowery for PC, Mac, Linux, and Vita, originally released in 2015.
Curse of the Crescent Isle DX is an updated re-release of Curse of the Crescent Isle, originally released on Xbox 360 via the Xbox Live Indie Games channel. The new release features updated graphics and sound but retains the enemy-tossing gameplay, level designs, environmental puzzles, and boss encounters found in the original. However, the graphical enhancements and addition of 2P co-op – along with a few other enhancements – make this the definitive version of the game.

The premise remains the same: A few days after her 22nd birthday, the princess of Crescent Isle is set to enter into an arranged marriage with a prince from another island in order to retain peace in both lands. However, a warlock appears and attempts to curse the king, but the spell goes wrong, and instead the people of the land are transformed into various creatures that the player later encounters in the game.

The warlock absconds with the king’s wife and daughter, so now he must set out to rescue them and to save his people. The DX version of the game offers two playable characters, the king and the queen, although their movesets are the same. However, new to the game is the ability for players to team up for offline 2P gameplay, with each player controlling one of the characters for some same-screen co-op action.

Curses ‘n Chaos

A game by Tribute Games for PC, Mac, PS4, and Vita, originally released in 2015.
Curses ‘n Chaos is a single-screen brawler starring a pair of bounty hunters named Lea and Leo who have been cursed by the Wizard King. As a result of this curse, Death follows them wherever they go, and their only hope is to continue fighting forward. Fortunately, the duo meets an alchemist named Allison who knows how to mix ingredients to create tools that can help them in battle. Combining the appropriate ingredients can even help Allison to brew up the Elixir of Life to dispel the terrible magic that has been laid up on them.

At the start of the game, players may select between Lea or Leo, each of which has equal combat abilities, or they can team up with a friend for online or offline 2P co-op. With all of the, er, chaos happening onscreen, going in with a friend can greatly help with crowd control, but players share a stock of lives, so you’ll want to bring along an equally skilled companion.

Mommy's Best Action Pack

Mommy's Best Games, developers of high-octane shooters and co-founders of 8 Bit Horse (this very site), have unleashed Mommy's Best Action Pack, a compendium of their classic blastfests. The company's more recent releases include the 2D Contra-style entry in the Serious Sam saga, Serious Sam: Double D XXL, as well as the completely mental touch screen horse racing derpaganza Finger Derpy.

Now players can explore the company's history with Mommy's Best Action Pack, a compilation of four games originally released on Xbox Live Arcade: Weapon of Choice, Shoot 1UP, Explosionade, and Game Type. Each game has been re-tuned for its Steam release, with support for keyboard and mouse or gamepad controls, as well as the requisite cheevos and other such Steamy accouterments.

The bundle is currently available via Steam, or games may be purchased individually from the following links:

Olympia Rising

A game by Paleozoic for PC, Mac, and Linux, originally released in 2015.
Olympia Rising is based in Greek mythology and stars a young warrior named Iola who lost her life and has been sent to the Underworld. Iola must battle her way up through the many levels of the Underworld, fighting mythical beings along the way – including Cerberus, Cyclops, and Hades himself – in order to make her escape and enter Olympus. In addition, Charon the Ferryman requires payment before he allows Iola to pass through each of the Underworld’s gates, blocking progress into the next level if his purse is not properly weighted.

Each of the themed regions of the Underworld is named for one of its rivers, with the player passing through Styx, Acheron, Cocytus, Lethe, and Phlegethon. These areas are not themed based on their mythological origins, but rather consist of caves, forests, ice areas, and fire areas, per platforming standards. Many of these levels are open and may be freely explored, but often the player must race through vertically-oriented levels and flee a sea of rising acid that spells instant death when touched.

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